The first day on the job was Monday, January 9th. Because I had asked callers during my absence not to leave a telephone message unless imperative, there was only one message to handle (and even that turned out to be unessential). But I was busy, preoccupied with the completion of a deal which had been initiated by email on Christmas Day while I was away. I knew both Parties wanted to close the deal immediately, and in fact we ended doing that on January 11th following much intervening intensity. Because of the concentration of work for the first several days I had to turn away a number of matters which arose immediately upon my return. I am satisfied that they were not appropriate retainers anyway. There were as well the usual dreary matters to complete, bill paying, answering Christmas cards, digesting mass mailings, etc. I can’t even recall all that I did, so perfunctory was the work.
I had hoped that my Accountant was going to complete the usual year-end work this week, but when we had freezing rain on the day of her scheduled appointment, she called to cancel and I have been put off for another week. This of course means I cannot do any bookkeeping for the month of January until she does the year-end adjustments for December 31st last.
My reward for a week of industry was yesterday, Friday the 13th. There was another storm, this time a snow storm. There were very few people who ventured out of doors and my office telephone sat idle all day. I did what I could to take advantage of the slow time. I happened to read an interesting article about estate planning on the internet, an article prepared by one of the larger Ontario law firms. In the result, I made some minor adjustment to my own Will template. It pleases me to refine and improve the quality of my products regularly. I also had a couple of visits from Mr. Justice ---, who initially dropped in to say hello and wish me a Happy New Year, and who later returned to collect a pewter jigger which I recovered from the house and gave to him because he told me he had lost his glass jigger in the recent move from the big house to his new house. On his second visit (around 3:00 p.m.) he succumbed to my invitation to have a glass of sherry which he professed to enjoy very much. I relish the bouquet of sherry as it blossoms into the office atmosphere even though I make a point of never having a drink during business hours.
Yesterday afternoon I also called a girl friend to see if she were available for an afternoon coffee and visit, a ceremony we have frequently conducted in the past on a Friday afternoon. I called twice, and left a message on the second call. She returned the call late in the afternoon. She said she had been sleeping. I don’t believe she told me the complete truth. She suffers from depression and I think she merely refused to answer the telephone. She chatted with me for a while but declined to make the effort to get out of the house on such a stormy day, at least that was the excuse. No matter. It was important to me to let her know I was available, as much as she unwittingly appears to orchestrate an alienation of everyone. I am certain she knows what a tragedy she is, but she is obsessed with her misfortune and it disables her. I have so few friends in life that I consider I cannot afford to lose even one. Besides whenever I get to know anyone well enough I consider them a pain in the ass, without exception. I won’t pretend to be more generous than my nature allows. Small wonder I prefer the integrity, uniformity and gloss of metal and mahogany. Of course I’m partly joking, particularly since I have now divested myself of so much of that very same glitter. But nonetheless there is a grain of truth which persists in what I said. It becomes a matter of distancing oneself from the apparent annoyance of others and deciding simply to move forward without getting bogged down in the detail and debate. It is partly a mental game whereby I avoid contaminating my own life with the anxieties of others while at the same time remaining alive to the possibility of contributing to an improvement of our mutual experience. It’s a fine balance in that respect. The alternative of isolating oneself completely from others is hardly adventurous.
It is inescapable that things can be gloomy at this time of year. I do whatever I can to preserve at least the appearance of utility and purpose but it is difficult to cultivate an air of absorption when there is nothing better to do than stare at the falling snow.