What's really stunning me, though, is even after flaking out yesterday and not being any too good today, nobody would offer to do Saturday cover for him. So he's in work tomorrow.
I can't believe it. After all the times he's pulled people's collective and individual arses out of the fire...
One of the things that's getting me down is a feeling that nobody actually needs me any more. Don't get me wrong: I'm perfectly well aware that people like me, enjoy me, love FSVO "love" me, are glad that I reside on the same planet, and all that - but don't need me.
Not in the sense of "OMG I don't know how I'd live wivout ya!", which is silly and nobody over the mental age of ten should be allowed actually to mean - it's OK as a hyperbolic joke, but said coolly is one of the scariest things that I think can be said, because I've seen what happens - my maternal grandmother, for example - to people who really can't live without someone (in her case my grandfather: mean, foul, persnickety bastard that he was, apparently, at least by his daughters' recounting).
Put bluntly: one of my needs, and it's a big one, is to be valued by people for what I can do for them. Take away that aspect of utility, and I feel, literally, worthless. And yet I have no idea of what I can do now that would make me valuable. I know that there's so much I can do: I'm not bragging when I say that there are some things that I'm deeply clever at. There were times when people would say "Let's get Kay in on this: we need his touch." That's how I got roped in to the research team at VIDe: they needed, wanted me. And that's what led to the ultimate disillusion: when protocol and seniority oozed in through the cracks to contaminate a damn fine team and I had to begin to "behave like a graduate student", not someone who had some of the best insights, the best strategies, the most useful skills there and spend most of my time licking the arses of people whose brains I wouldn't waste spit on. Yes, if you like, I'm arrogant, but that's a matter of knowing my worth. I'm damn good at what I do.
Now I'm stuck with this stupid broken body and I've got nothing to do but amuse myself until I die.
Ever started reading a book, and then realised that it was so good that you wanted to put it down there and then, barely begun, because you knew that if you read any more you'd read and read and read and then it would be over?
I'm talking about Ray Bradbury's From the Dust Returned. It's a slim compendium of stories about the Elliott clan and their house - some seen before in other places, some new - and it is superbly, deliciously artful in the way that only Bradbury can really pull off without apparent effort. I know that he's not to everyone's taste - and, I'll admit, sometimes not to mine - but this is a gem.
I won't give away things about the Elliotts, for those of you who haven't had the delight to meet them before, but I hope I won't spoil things too much by saying that I think writing like this should make Anne Rice choke on her ersatz gravedust.
1. Take five books off your bookshelf.
2. Book #1 -- first sentence
3. Book #2 -- last sentence on page fifty
4. Book #3 -- second sentence on page one hundred
5. Book #4 -- next to the last sentence on page one hundred fifty
6. Book #5 -- final sentence of the book
7. Make the five sentences into a paragraph:
4.17 A.M, light from fridge snaps on, reverberates through head like noise, can hear pupils contracting, shut fridge door, little polychrome rhomboids continue to kaleidoscope about in brain. As a side effect, they increment or decrement the generalized variable indicated by the access-form by the specified amount. Centralisation is the current fashion and each merger makes the trend more absolute. In medieval manuscripts she is often simply given the name Juno Memoria (see Figure 38). If ever I could conceive myself throwing aside this fleshly coil with anything approaching content, it would be because I had the ingenuity, in the high Roman sense, to bring to victory a little horse which, in his own lifetime, became legend.
Anyone care to make a guess at any of the books?