Those of you who follow these scribblings with any kind of regularity will know that it’s standard practice for me to post something on a Sunday. And those of you who are good at days of the week and things of that kind will notice that today is not, in fact, a Sunday. I’m a whole day late! Happy Monday.
I was going to sweep this under the carpet rather, and bluster my way out of missing my own self-imposed deadline, and try to think of something meaningful and witty to write about to distract you altogether from it being The Wrong Day of the Week. But actually, I have decided to write about this post being a day late. Because I want you to know why it’s late.
It’s late because I had more important things to do. Already I can imagine you coming up with the kind of stuff I mean. Last-minute TV interview with Simon Rattle? Nope. They needed a Brahms specialist as an expert witness in an international trial and the case all hinged on the distribution of voices in the Neue Liebeslieder op.65 so they had to call me? Alas, not that either. Sudden overnight commission for a book on Lieder in translation? Uh-uh.
Actually, it went a bit like this: I was in some meetings, then I went to Yorkshire for a birthday party, and I was tired, and the trains took a very, very, v e r y long time to get me home again, so I was yet more tired, and by then it was Sunday night, so I mostly wanted to be in bed asleep.
But but but. But wait! I could have written it on the train! I could have carted my laptop all the way to Yorkshire and back again in order to spend my time on those multiple trains and buses in drafting my words of wisdom to dispense to all and sundry upon my return to my flat and my internet connection. I could have used the WiFi on the train! I could have stopped in Starbucks to upload it before I came home. I could have….
Yes, I could have. It’s true. I could have worked all the way home. (Like the little piggy no one ever talks about, because he ran away to join the corporate banking world.) I could have churned out my blog, and some programme notes, and proofed that last CD text that had landed in my inbox on Friday, and had a quick look at the British Library catalogue to identify useful reading for that talk I’m giving next month.
Except I rather felt like just reading my book, and making painfully slow progress through an extremely difficult crossword, and staring out of the window. And, because it was Sunday, I did that instead.
I’ve written before on this blog about the importance of quiet time, and time off, and time away from the array of electronic devices that dominate our lives. But whilst I enjoy writing this weekly, and whilst there are plenty of times when I’ve had content lined up in advance, last week was not one of those times… and blogging, at least ad-free and non-subscription blogging such as this, is a free enterprise for all involved. Since the only person saying ‘I have to’ was me, I decided, as manager and CEO of myself, that I was allowed a day extra on the deadline.
It’s nearly Easter, it’s the end of term, and there’s a sense of exhausted determination among many of my friends and colleagues: they must get all of the things on their list done before they go on holiday (by which I mean, when the students leave, which is not actually the same thing as a holiday as other humans understand it). This often leads to the to-do list expanding beyond all reasonable, practicable or indeed sane proportions as life dissolves into a series of Things To Get Done: everything from essay marking to the ironing, remembering to post birthday cards, buying lemons on the way home from work, submitting funding applications, putting out the bins, and so on. So here’s a gentle reminder that there are some things, sometimes, that can in fact be a bit behind schedule. The world will neither shudder to a halt nor explode in a spectacular cataclysm. If you didn’t put the bins out, take heart: I hear the nice people who empty them are due back quite soon. There will still be lemons at the shops tomorrow. Take a deep breath. Enjoy the spring sunshine and the glorious blossom. Be a bit late. Just for once. Particularly for the things where the only boss of the deadline is, when you own the choice of it, yourself.