This morning I asked Mrs L to make sure youngest L tidied her room. Youngest Miss L is extremely messy, and does not enjoy tidying her room. If told to tidy her room and left to her own devices, you will go up after half an hour to find the room in the exact same state as it started off in, a vaguely guilty-looking child, and a collection of marbles, hair clips, string, pencils, shells, glitter and tissues neatly arranged in a small box. Constant supervision is the name of the game. Now, sharing with you the fact that I had spent the previous evening sat at my desk until close to midnight writing evaluations for members of my team, what do you think I said to Mrs L? Did I say "Can you make sure Pudding tidies her room?" No, I did not. Instead, and before I could stop myself, I said something like "Have Pudding tidy her room, force the agenda!". This is tragic. I am tragic. I mean for pity's sake, what have I become? She is six years old. I am her father, not her manager.
This is the danger of spending silly amounts of time in an office rather than at home. Reality becomes twisted, warped. A new normality descends, one in which absurd office-speak sounds entirely normal. With the balance so far skewed in favour of one, the boundary between work and home inevitably becomes blurred. Assuming sleep was a constant, if I instead spent fifteen hours at home, and just two at home, would I go into the office talking in a nice gentle voice and offering people tissues and glitter? Who knows, it is impossible to say, and whilst I like the sound of that ratio very much indeed, I can't see it happening any time soon. So, my family needs to get used to me speaking strangely and being incredibly irritable. I do not have the ability to leave work in the office and this is a great shame. Mrs L reminds me very frequently about this, but all I can say is that some people are really good at it, and that I am not. I think it comes down to being obsessive, it's embedded in my character. I just don't do things by halves, and I never have. No matter how hard I try, whatever is consuming me at a certain moment in time, be it work, be it birding, be it plants or whichever of my one-time hobbies, that's what I do, that's what I live and breathe. I am not obsessive about work, or at least I tell myself that I am not. I mean, really? The two years I spent away from it were the happiest of my entire life. How can I now be so engrossed that I use management speak in the context of picking up Lego from the floor? The mind boggles. The next thing I know I'll be organising conference calls between upstairs and downstairs, and setting the kids goals. Sorry, deliverables.
Anyway, today I came home at a sensible time, in time for sausage and mash, and only barked at people a little bit. I say sensible, it was still basically bedtime, but nonetheless it felt good. A momentary hiatus probably, but I enjoyed it. I spent the evening washing insects off plants, thinking about a holiday to Iceland, and processing Arctic Skua images from the weekend, a selection of which can be found here. And then I wrote this, as a reminder to myself to try and get real.