This week has been better than the two weeks that preceded it. I’ve done more work, which was fun, and read fewer books but done a lot of sleeping. I’ve also watched every episode of Would I Lie To You? David Mitchell is fantastic. So angry! So sarcastic! SO DAMN RELATABLE.
The ways in which people interpret the world have always amazed and intrigued me. How two people can look at the same situation, be armed with the same knowledge about it, and yet still come out with different conclusions (aka ‘politics’). How two people can have a very similar experience and yet react in wildly different ways. How something that can floor one person won’t bother another.
But even more subtly: how the individual ways in which we think about the world – our personal hermeneutics – help us to see things through a unique lens.
Last week’s post left off just as I was about to go into hospital to find out when they’d be booking me in for surgery. I had been hoping that it might be fairly soon, since I’m apparently an urgent case and I’ve barely been able to leave the house in months, but hope is a treacherous and flighty beast, and of course things didn’t go quite so smoothly.
The waiting list for surgery is 4-6 months long; the minimum amount of time in which I’ll be booked for surgery is four months. Then there’s an eight-week recovery period, so basically whatever happens I’m essentially taking the rest of the year off.
They can’t push me up the list unless my Angry Internal Organs actually rupture, which made me start wishing they would, until I remembered that would have irritating potential side effects like involuntary sudden death. So I figured maybe I’ll obey the doctor’s instructions and not do anything to make this whole situation any more precarious, and look after my Angry Organs, and hopefully maintain this tenuous truce for as long as I can.
Have I really been back in the country a whole week?
This has been my first full week properly back at work, and it’s been a good one.
Last week was taken up with flying and being on trains and having meetings and going to conferences.
This week has been taken up with actual work.
You know those books that just sort of appeared in your bookshelf and you don’t remember buying them, and then they sit there for years until you completely run out of things to read, and then finally you pick them up and open them? The Shadow of the Sun was one of those for me.
I have no idea where it came from – possibly it was wrongly placed in one of my boxes during the dividing of the things when Husband and I separated – but I’ve never picked it up because my reading pile tends to be pretty large. The other day I finally got around to it, and was glad I had.
It’s non-fiction, charting the journey of Ryszard Kapuscinski, a Polish journalist who travelled around Africa in the latter part of the 20th century. He describes the experiences he had there, the people he met, the trials he succumbed to along the way. He gives a lesson in the history and sociology of various African countries, including a fascinating account of Rwanda in the 80s and 90s which finally gave me an understanding of the war there, which I’d heard about at the time but never really understood.
The writing is rich and beautiful, and it’s easy to feel like you’re sitting with the author in his room, eyeing up the huge cockroaches wearily in the scorching midday heat. His description of the elephant graveyard legend is particularly beautiful, and there were several passages that I had to reread a few times just to drink in their explanations.
I’d definitely recommend this for anyone who’s remotely interested in journalism, travel, history, or just really good writing. It’s a pretty quick read, just over 300 pages, and great for a long weekend or a few days away. Once you’ve picked it up you won’t want to put it down.