Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Parallel lines don't meet

Do you ever get the sense that your life runs along multiple parallel tracks? And as with all parallel lines, those tracks simply don’t meet? My life is certainly like that.

That was brought home to me forcefully this week. Danielle, my wife, is away on a business trip – her first ever I think – to one of her favourite countries, Ireland (she’s enjoying it enormously, I like to think because of the wonderful personality of the Irish and not because she’s being accompanied, from luxury hotel to luxury hotel, by a male colleague from another of her favourite countries, Scotland). I thought I’d take advantage of her absence to have dinner with an old friend and business contact who happens to be working not that far from me for a few months. I’ll refer to him as ‘Geoff’, which happens to be his name.

So I got in touch with Geoff and suggested I’d come and see him on Wednesday night. We fixed it all up and several times in the last few days I planned how I was going to organise things – leave the office in time to walk the dog, get on the road just as the traffic was starting to die down, and so on.

But at other times I also devoted a little thought to the knotty problem of how, in a busy week, I was going to get my homework done for a course of evening classes I’ve been taking recently. Classes that are held on a Wednesday.

So at different times I was carefully planning how I was going to get to events taking place simultaneously, about 100 miles apart.

It was last night, Tuesday, as I was saying goodbye to a colleague after a presentation, that I mentioned that I would be having dinner with Geoff tonight. ‘Oh, wish him well,’ my colleague told me. A few minutes later, as I drove on to the motorway, my returned to the problem of the evening class. ‘I’ll be home too late, again, to do the homework tonight. Could I get some time over lunch tomorrow? Or perhaps tomorrow evening before heading to the class?’

Deep in the dim recesses of my mind an alarm bell started to ring faintly. ‘Tomorrow’. Hadn’t I referred to ‘tomorrow’ just recently? My stomach began to sink. Slowly the two versions of me, each on his own parallel track, turned towards the other, their eyes met, and a terrible awareness dawned.

Fortunately, Geoff took it well. In fact, he split his sides laughing. I expect I shall be in for a little gentle ribbing when we meet on Monday evening (he did check whether I was learning Swahili or Origami on Mondays).

In the meantime, I got to my class OK. Though I never did find the time to get the homework done.

1 comment:

Awoogamuffin said...

That story rings oh so true. It's weird how we're wired.