Friday, 14 December 2012

Making a fool of myself and a mountain of a molehill

It’s depressingly easy to turn a misfortune into a catastrophe.

This week I started a new job and I’m delighted with it so far. I feel I’m a slightly bigger fish in a far bigger pond, which actually feels a lot better than being a big fish in a small pond: there are more places to swim to.

However, my general sense of satsifaction was brutally shattered last night when I decided to put my work phone on charge. And discovered that I couldn’t find it. Or found that I couldn’t discover it.

Worry began to set in. I checked the jacket and coat I’d worn to the office. Then I went through my backpack. Unsuccessfully. So I went through it again in the hope that doing the same thing twice might lead to a different outcome, whatever Einstein may have said on the subject.

By this time fear was mounting.

‘Empty the bag completely,’ said Danielle, ‘you’ve got so much rubbish in there. It looks as thought it weighs a tonne’ (note that Danielle is French, which is why I give the metric version rather than the British ton).

I emptied the bag. Danielle leapt on various desirable objects – plug adaptors – and undesirable ones – old railway tickets, crumpled documents – finding drawers for the former and a bin for the latter. But there was no phone.

I hadn’t checked the trousers before. Perhaps the phone had been in a pocket. Of course, since they were now hanging upside down in my wardrobe, it was unlikely the phone would still to be there, a suspicion I was quickly able to verify. Nor was it on the floor under the trousers.

Panic was setting in. But a train of thought had started. Trousers. Pockets. Slipping out. Perhaps it had fallen out during my drive home. I plunged into the Arctic night and searched around the driver’s seat of the car. I saw no sign of the phone.

It was time for panic to give way to resignation or, at least, heartfelt depression.

And yet... It wasn’t exactly a disaster was it? I mean, just a few days ago a nurse committed suicide following a silly prank phone call. Now that was heart-rending.

Far worse, in Aleppo, Syria’s second city, civilians are living without power or running water, as winter starts to bite, food runs out and the artillery bombardments continue. Now that’s a disaster.

We have friends dealing with cancer diagnoses, facing a potential death sentence for no offence either they have committed. That's a cruel tragedy.

What misfortune had I suffered? I’d lost a phone. What was the worst that could happen? Possibly I’d have to pay for it. Certainly I’d lose a bit of credibility.

But that’s just it. A loss of credibility! Too awful to contemplate. I would forever be the new recruit who received a nice new company phone on Monday and lost it on Thursday. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. For a moment, the tragedy that mattered most to me was that of having made myself look a complete idiot. And so quickly too.

Neither of us slept well, Danielle kindly sharing my increasingly bleak mood.

This morning we decided I’d head back to the office early to see if the phone had been handed in. I opened the back door of the car to put my bag there and, on the floor behind the driver’s seat, where I hadn’t looked the night before, was the phone.

A flood of relief swept over me. I might still be a complete moron, but at least I hadn’t given my new company irrefutable proof of it. Yet.

Hardly a suicide, a city under siege or a life-threatening disease
But last night this was the source  of my major woes
The nurse, meanwhile, is still dead. Syria is still paying the excruciating price for the continuation of Bashar (or is it Basher?) al Assad’s rule. Our friends are still fighting a cruel disease.

At least my own little problem had been cleared up and I can now view these other, serious ones in a more rational perspective.

No comments: