for no reason that I can fathom, my thoughts keep veering off to Joyce Cary’s The Horse’s Mouth. So I may as well open the book at random and
“33 – For we were waiting for another bus to take us anywhere, somewhere down in Sussex, and it was as dark as the inside of a Cabinet Minister. ‘Give me another drink,’ I said to Nosy, ‘I’ve got a chill on my bones.” And I took a little whisky out of the bottle. I hate whisky, it burns up the blood. But I didn’t want to get irritated against the government, and especially the people.”
Except, of course, Gulley Jimson does get irritated with both – and with individual peoples too. He wouldn’t be Gulley Jimson otherwise.
Apart from the fact my strapping friends from Mali didn’t show up for their class, there wasn’t much irritation in my day. The day was rather an auspicious one, in fact, except for revision. Nothing happened in that direction. But the people part was surprisingly pleasant. A young woman I hadn’t seen in years coming toward me with open arms, and telling me all about the good things that have happened to her since the day I gave hell to her teacher. (I didn’t know she’d overheard, until she told me this morning. A turning point, she said, when I got angry at the teacher saying the girl was a lost cause. You stick a girl with a huge handicap in written French into a secretarial program, then you call her a lost cause? You set her up for failure, and say: see, I told you she was no good? etc.)
Apparently, this lit a light bulb above the girl’s head. The school had stuck her in the secretarial program “because there was an opening”. She hated it. She’s moved out of this town, has a baby girl and works as a nurse’s aid in a retirement home. Loves it, feels useful and appreciated. Back home in Mayotte, she used to take care of her grandmother and loved to do it.
voilà. The rest of the day was on that same wavelength.
Plus, one of the school principals said they’d find a way to pay me for English classes (“hello, my name is …”) so I may reach the minimum wage level in 2016 after all. If so, I’ll feel like a millionaire and spend foolishly, I know it.
It’s past eight pm. I try some revision? I read the rest of Chapter 33 in The Horse’s Mouth? I underline other good ones in Simon Reynolds’ Rip it up and Start again – post punk 1978-1984? I don’t know. First, I finish my bowl of pasta with sautéed garlic, capers and parmesan. Something will follow. With any luck, I’ll surprise myself.