A Modicum of Regret..

One of my essential life principles is never allowing myself to exercise regret. Time and time again, when decisions appear in hindsight to have been poorly thought out, I try to prevent myself from slipping into regret mode.. I am of the opinion that time spent in regret analysing the what-might-have-beens would be better served breaking the problem into smaller bits and devising a means of resolving its constituents.  Recently though, I have allowed  that tightly held principle to slip from my grasp.

A couple of years ago, I took the decision to quit my high paying job at a fortune 500 company and head back to full time studies. At the time, I was up to my ears with the drudgery of doing the same thing for five straight years and I wanted a break. After researching the course options, I settled on an MSc in the UK. Fast forward a few months – with the program nearing its end – I was informed by the folks at HR at my old role would not be made available to me, essentially firing me.

From where I am today, its not looking like the best move – true I have the MSc in hand but in just over a year’s time my current work permit expires – there is no prospect of getting it extended as the sweeping changes made by the Lib-Con coalition mean that my current route will be abolished.. So when I can afford it, I allow myself a modicum of regret… It could have been a whole lot better….

Links: 19 Nov 2010

  1. 6 years on – the 66 year old woman who gave birth to a kid.. Selfish? Playing God or a real chance for re-inventing life? ..
  2. Celebonomics.. Why you’re not famous..
  3. Con artist.. Not Nigerian.. Gasp!
  4. Another take on the homoepathy debate.. Apparently the talk not the tincture is what works.
  5. The danger of desensitization – The daily telegraph’s Geoffrey Leon compares BP’s Gulf disaster to Chernobyl.
  6. Ghost writers.. A shadow scholar ‘bares’ all..
  7. Ultimate gadget? Or quirky? The remote control +  pillow combo…
  8. Google street view – weight loss tip..
  9. Apparently its not only Nigerian cops who are camera shy..
  10. The demise of marriage? Or just a blip.. Time ponders the relevance of marriage

Unlearning solitude….

Or an apology for all the nights you worry about me…..

One of my mother’s slightly more compelling arguments against the notion of – in her words – entrenched singleness is the false simplicity that being single and responsible for only oneself brings. Over the past ten years I have learnt to do my things, my way and in my time  – considering the consequences only as they impact me. That has been useful when I have had to make potentially life changing decisions – like quitting my day job at a fairly well known engineering firm to head back to full time study in 2008 or loaning a friend a hefty pile of money (which he is vacillating on paying back by the way). Mother is wrong on one count – my being single isn’t the only cause; there is after all my natural proclivity to be a loner of sorts. Perpetually plugged into my iPod, having my nose stuck in books, emailing and SMSing friends instead of calling have all contributed to my increasingly tenuous connections  with the real world.  Living alone for all those years hasn’t helped either.

As I have grown older, I am realising there are disadvantages to the me-and-me-alone worldview. The simplicity in decision making engendered by such a world view is a beguiling tempter.  It becomes easier and easier to do stuff and damn the consequences when a more robust solution might be had by building consensus with knowledgeable others. A further consequence is the potential for others getting worried when phone calls go unanswered and emails go unreplied.

These days, I’m trying to unlearn solitude.. So for all the times I fail to answer the phone, and I have you fretting all night wondering if I am all right…. I apologize.. I am still unlearning solitude..

Links: 12 Nov 2011

  1. More reason to be careful about your twitter activity – The twitter ‘joke’ that’s been blown out of proportion..
  2. iPhone apps that could save your marriage?
  3. The mean gene.: apparently one in four people have this gene..
  4. Taking email (and the internet too seriously)
  5. Laptops and male fertility.. Interesting piece over at Wired Science…
  6. Another take on the Yahoo vs Gmail argument…Gmail appears to be inherently ‘safer’.. (HT Trae Days)
  7. Interesting take on the Marine Corps, Appearance and Tradition over at The Art of Manliness..
  8. Ribadu is interviewed on the Economist’s Africa blog.
  9. Amazon briefly lists the inappropriately named ‘The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct’ before bowing to pressure and taking it down..
  10. Skype wedding? The possibilities are endless… (HT The Daily Dish)

For more than my belly…

Almost on a whim, I signed up to sponsor a child via World Vision. The decision was taken without much thought whilst passing through the Mall at Union Square. November 11th is a special day in the RustGeek household; its the day the patriarch and the matriarch completed their nuptials as well as the day the one we lost to the genes was born. In the part of the world where I am, it is also Remembrance day.

So it wasn’t just on a whim.. I had been thinking about doing something to honour the memory of the day. And passing through the mall, seeing the opportunity to sponsor a child, it just felt right to do it. Amazingly, it will cost me just over 18 pounds a month – or one Nandos Platter to share. Not too much to leave a legacy in someone’s life I guess..

For Gracie…

For Gracie, who the genes took…

You never saw
the thirteenth summer through-
before the genes
claimed you.

You always were –
the sallow one, knuckle-
kneed, paper thin, but –
the lights in your
jaundiced eyes shone:
through pain and fear,
and hope and tears.

The strength in your voice
never dimmed, never waned,
until the genes – like a
belligerent marabout’s curse –
turned you,
to a mound of red-
dead earth

You never saw
the thirteenth summer through-
but like a wound left raw
We remember.

Memories of a city…

The difference is clear – the first few blasts of slightly warm air as I step out of onto the tarmac are the clearest reminder that I have left my small town’s five degree weather behind for at least a couple of days. It is a year almost to the day since I last passed through London – that blatantly self centred and most cosmopolitan of cities – and as usual I feel ill at ease. Blame my small town mentality – in the little corner of the world where I grew up, every one knew every one else and their grand mother.. and their second cousins twice removed. One was as likely to get whupped by the bloke down the street who felt you were up to no good as you were by your own father..

Places, to me, have unique signatures; sights, sounds, smells and landmarks which are etched in the mind and are the buoys that mark the conflation of memory, time and space. My re acquaintance with this city has suffered many false starts. Holidays were sacrificed on the altar of work projects, air plane tickets were deemed too pricey by my proprietary algorithm bank account and friends and family conspired to go on journeys at the one time the stars seemed to align for me. Stepping out on the tarmac is in reality a minor miracle.

On the train into town I am reminded of just how self absorbed people can be. A rather portly man has decided its his dinner time – dinner being fish, chips and some other items he eats out of a bag. It is clear that there is a measure of discomfort induced by the smells of his food, but he oblivious to the fact – or merely indifferent to our concerns – carries on apace shifting morsel after morsel into his wide post box of a mouth. Aside of the odd exaggerated cough, we all seemed to have stoically accepted our ‘lot’.

My memories of this latest dalliance with London will be varied. I will remember the bloke on the tube – blond hair, eyes gaping, clearly enamoured of the thighs wantonly displayed by two teenage women inebriated beyond caring; the thin lipped Polish woman speaking with short terse sentences into her cell phone and then proceeding to apply more lip gloss at 11.35pm, the harsh scent of cannabis wafting up to my nose from darkened alleys as I tried to make my way to the dump I opted to stay in to save costs and the plethora of voices and languages I was immersed in. There are more pleasant memories though – a fabulous Friday night dinner, some alcohol light wine, intelligent discussion on varied subjects and success in my principal objective for making the trip.

Principal objectives achieved? Check. Loads of football manager? Check. Fab dinner? Check… It’s been a great week.. 🙂