Sunday, February 02, 2003

Older, not old

Vicki Dobscrub and I exchanged idle publishing industry gossip over email yesterday. This was significant only in that it marked an evolutionary change in the things we chat about. I’ve known Vicki for years, legend has it, though this may not be historically correct, that she went to my sister’s 7th birthday party, her brother went out with my sister when they were ten. Technically, they’re probably still dating, at that age, going out with people and breaking up was so quick, they probably never technically got round to splitting up. There are probably millions of unresolved relationships floating around in the ether like that. Like the millions of pounds of deals on the stock exchange that allegedly just disappear each day. It’d probably be a good service for friendsreunited to run, a technical break-up forum, just to keep everything nice and above board.

So Vicki and I go back over twenty years, we’ve never worked together, but between us we have a intermingled network of contacts we can call on to give us the low down on industry movements. It all feels very grown up.

I have no intention of growing up in a slacks and comfy shoes kind of way but I am fully aware that I may just, one day, accidentally slip into it. Emma and I were talking about change, and how she is averse to its principles. How do Sara and Gareth know that they should take the step and get married? Sara says she just knows that they want to be together forever, but at the same time she knows it is a calculated risk and things may change. They, like everyone, are just going with it and seeing what happens. We discussed all possible changes that we would face, jobs, homes, babies, break-ups and make-ups. Emma questioned how you could possibly know when the right time to do anything was; I said that there was no point in worrying about it because it happens naturally. When would we know to move house, have kids, change jobs... all of which I said you just get to a point where you feel you want to give it a go. Of break-ups, how do we know we’ll be together forever, and not embark on torrid affairs, of course I should have just said I’d never do that, but I preferred to elucidate like I always do; I’ve never had an inclination to have one before, I don’t intend to have one in the foreseeable future, and chances are given all information currently available to me I don’t think I ever would. In the same way I may come across someone who I would prefer to be with, Emma may suddenly happen upon a chiselled milkman with a sleek electric cart that sweeps her off her feet. You just can’t tell.

Emma wants to try and dictate the future, to prepare herself for the surprises in store. She mused, in a very light hearted way, I stress, that perhaps the way to deal with it would be to break up, almost, just in case. Neither of us want to, but Emma thought that perhaps by taking some kind of (ultimately illogical) action now we might be able to dictate the future. The only way deal with change is to be pragmatic, prepare for things that are most likely to happen, prepare for old people you know to die, for example, but don’t worry about things you can’t predict. I wracked my brains for other ‘facts’ that are worth preparing for, I thought of one… “What about the cats, one day they’ll di…”.

Only at that point did she start welling up.


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