It’s that time of year when you have to work doubly hard to do the work you would have done on your annual leave so that you can go on your annual leave – where, inevitably, you will spend a lot of time secretly checking your work emails. And at the same time you have to try and flex around the summer holidays by getting up early to get as much work done as possible before young people wake up and complain loudly of boredom.
This is because you know that trying to work as quickly as possible so you can get to the annual leave while young people are around involves both high level skills in multi-tasking and an increase in feelings of parental guilt. The lack of a dedicated work area [our room has been bagsied by my partner] means my desk is in direct view of the tv and young people are insisting on making me watch the entire back catalogue of Black Mirror. Not only that but they also demand that I analyse said programmes in detail and there seem to be a lot of inter-episode references going on meaning I am being pulled up on my attention to detail. This then exacerbates my feeling of parental guilt because I feel that I should be able to lend Black Mirror all my attention – because it’s good too and throws up so many interesting questions – but I need to get those emails done or I will be more than checking on messages while I am away.
I’ve taken to being optimistic about technology or at least seeing it as part of a continuum, neither good nor bad, but just there. My mum is fairly horrified by the whole thing, particularly the metaverse which she thinks is a terrible and incomprehensible idea. Much better to give someone a ring or pop round for a cup of tea than virtually hug them via your avatar, she reckons. I mentioned to daughter three that I’m quite okay with the metaverse and having an avatar if it means I don’t have to schlep down to the tube everyday. “But it is recording everything you do and say and making an algorithm out of it,” she said. Hmm. When you put it that way it does seem a little worrying. But then again aren’t our phones and computers already doing that anyway?
I’m too tired to worry about it. I’ll leave that to the experts, except these days we seem to have to be if not expert then at least au fait with more or less everything. Which is a good thing if we weren’t so frazzled in every other way. I can’t even get to the supermarket and get the one thing I went there for without forgetting it along the way. Sometimes I can be driving along a road near my house and not remember where I am. Is that impending Alzheimer’s, grief or modern life overload? Anyway, I continue to be mildly positive about technology, despite all the gloom, mainly because I don’t think it can be stopped – and I’m still holding out for time travel.
Anyway, back to the annual leave preparations. Today, I am typing this while watching a Black Mirror episode while being questioned by only son about the possibility of going swimming later [in my ‘lunch hour’] – we did tennis on Tuesday [for free through some app thing – go, technology!]. Only son is preparing to cook a very fancy meal for everyone tomorrow night. He has become a mini Masterchef in the last week. He started with Japanese curry [mainly potatoes and stock cube] and he’s now moving onto aloo masala dosas with vegetable samosas on the side [he plans to make his own pastry too]. This is marked progress from someone who would be happy to eat Rice Crispies for every meal. My partner is spending his lunch hour at work looking for the ingredients. This is very much a joint effort so I am expecting much of Friday evening to be taken over with cleaning up duties…