Friday, September 23, 2011

Responsiblity and being self-deprecating and being kind of over it.

The thing is, when I decided I could actually become a public servant I decided that I would shed all of that Gen X Douglas Coupland* knee-jerk irony stuff and become born-again sincere. And you know, it's kind of been good. It's been good actually trying hard at stuff instead of trying to look like you're not trying hard at stuff. It's been good paying people sincere compliments and and trying to take Jane Bennet approach to life instead of the Mr Bennet approach to life. But eventually I've even started to annoy myself, and I'm a bit tired of wearing that costume.

It might be the whole asylum seeker thing. What's the point of doing your best for people who clearly don't want your best?**I mean, really?

And then I was thinking about all the people I'm responsible to and for, and that maybe having a decent work-life balance is all about actually thinking about that for a change, instead of letting other people push a person into certain positions, and that Jane Bennet did end up ripped off by Lydia all the time and I bet even she eventually found herself feeling a tiny bit irritated.

So I think my responsibilities are first of all to the junior, because he had no choice in the matter of whether he got to be here or not, and I did, and I chose to be responsible for him.

Next is probably to myself, but I'm very bad at this, so I tend to avoid the question by reading genre fiction and wishing I was better at craft and eating chocolate.

I think the husband should come next, because he is the only person on the planet I've stood up and made promises to about how we will treat each other for the rest of our lives. I am unsure if it would make a difference if those promises were private or unspoken, which probably could do with a bit more scrutiny.

Next is probably BDE, or work generally, because if I don'd do a good job of that, the food and place to live and buying books at Canty's part of my life will become much more difficult and I like very much that they are not difficult at the moment. Perhaps that is after all only part of my responsibility to myself.

But I did also make promises to the BDE about things I would and would not do. I try very hard to keep those promises but that whole 'speaking to people respectfully' thing can be difficult on days of stress and fury. I try not to have too many days when every sentence is silently apended with, 'you idiot', inside my mind, but by golly it can be tough.

So my thinking on responsibility has only got that far, and after that comes 'everyone and everything else', which is a pretty broad category including the dolphins, that lizard that lives in Majura where the kangaroos graze, bus drivers who look grumpy, the person running late for the bus, local business owners, booksellers and publishers and people who don't know where to put apostrophes. And obviously friends-and-relations, but their lives are their business (much like the husband and the junior) so I don't really intend to tell you a lot about that here.

So, I wonder, who and what are you responsible for? And are the servants taking advantage terribly of your good nature?

*I had to go and look on the shelf to see of it was spelled Coupland or Copeland, but then I realised I could google it. You know, our built-in bookshelves are right next to my little computer table. I can see you David Mitchell, I can see you Kerry Greenwood, I can see you Evelyn Waugh, I can see you Peter Temple. I won't admit to seeing quite a lot of you, just like Ms Roxane never, ever saw anyone called my name in the magic mirror. I hate you Romper Room.

**I hasten to add that my work has utterly nothing whatsoever to do with asylum seeker policy, and I can say, consistently with the BDE's social networking policy, that my views on the asylum seeker debate are most emphatically, sincerely and heartily not the views of the Government, but only my own, personal views as a person. Personally.

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