Yesterday Son of Signs sat the first of his finals exams. Instead of sitting in one of the magnificent halls in the University of the Dreaming Spires he was in a dusty room set aside, with keyboards, for those who have repetitive strain injury and are therefore unable to handwrite. There were a couple of anxious days when he appeared to be up against a wall of no-can-do and demands for doctor’s note (on a bank holiday weekend). But then the senior tutor sprang into action on his behalf and lo, there were possibilities, including the services of a scribe should he have wanted that (he didn’t). Plus, he saw a decent nurse who didn’t just chuck him a tube of ibuprofen gel. RSI is common in Oxford undergraduates who are building up to finals, May sees so many wandering around with the telltale white arm slings, that it has become something of a joke, until you actually get it yourself – three days before the beginning of exams.
The thing about children growing up is that you can’t march in and deal with things on their behalf any more. Otherwise I’d have been in milord proctor’s office with a sawn-off shotgun and a plethora of potent curses, obviously. This kind of approach does often bring about results. But on the other hand one also risks making enemies and alienating people so it’s good to have other strategies at the ready, such as who do you have to f*ck to get the necessary equipment/piece of paper/antibiotics or whatever it is that a particular situation demands. Shotgun and curses is more my style, but I can also do gracious beleaguered lady gratefully grovelling, and have done to good effect. I never said I was proud.
I have got a new, blue (second hand) office chair as the other one has been wonky for a long time. It cost £100 but we got it at the “special price” of £90 to take account of the scratched paint on one of its black feet. I have just looked online and seen that we could probably have got something similar, new, for the same price as it is an older model. Sometimes it doesn’t do to dwell on things. I will also not dwell on the fact that my posterior and coccyx seem to be missing the old wonky chair and find this one a bit bruising.
I continue to dwell on the issue of how I can establish a workable writing routine given the lengthy periods of recovery needed between one activity and another. Given the unpredictability of my condition there is no solution that readily offers itself but I will not cease from mental strife nor will my pen or keyboard rest easy till I have built – actually till nothing. I just find that if I am not writing I do not rest easy, nor do I wish to. Today is a recovery day, though, and perhaps a catching up on reading day: short stories (Runaway) by Alice Munro for the book group next week.
Next year in Jerusalem.