Milton Keynes

I walked down to the Grand Union Canal, and stood under the flyover, looking at its concrete support. With tiny pebbles embedded in the surface and an oval shape, there is an attempt to make it pleasing, if not beautiful. I touch it to feel its strength- if you hug trees, why not concrete pillars?- then wander towards the park. First there are permanent moorings, for inhabited narrowboats- “Moose Drool”; one has a Skull and Crossbones flying- then 48 hour spaces. A swan on the grass is grooming, despite the children nearby, staring at it; and I thought, What’s the point?

If I got this job, and uprooted myself to what the inhabitants call “The City” though City status has not yet been granted by Royal Prerogative. 250,000 people is bigger than many cities. If I got this job, what does it get me?

“Why do you want this job?” If there is a next time, I might tell the truth: “Because I am desperate, and terrified of losing my benefits. Because I think I might have some hope of getting it, and in a Quaker context some hope of using some of my gifts.” How would that do? This lot explained that instead of that they would ask “How would this job fit this stage of your life journey?” Well. Immature, unable to comprehend or bear my emotions, and in complete ignorance of what it would mean I chose to be a lawyer, imagining I would impersonally and rationally enforce rules. Then I transitioned. I want to escape into the Quaker bubble, surrounded by nice people in a sort of Postman Pat world, insulated from the Outer Darkness.

I put that in slightly different words. And “After some publication I would like time to develop my writing”, though I am unsure I would actually do that.

Honestly. “What is your life journey?” “Exulting in the imbalance of power between us, I am going to ask you to expose all your vulnerabilities”. Or, What? It’s hardly “Tell us how brilliant and successful you are” when the job is a minimum wage receptionist’s, part time, live in so it is hard to escape even when off duty.

I see people bearing up under difficult circumstances, even exceptionally stressful circumstances. I wonder about my own, how have they been enough to break me. After my interview in January I was distraught and despairing. This time I thought I had got my despair in first: I dragged myself there though I hardly saw any point. Nope. I am still enraged and despairing now. “I think you should apply for more intellectually challenging job” texted a friend. Oh, Brilliant! What, exactly? That’s as bad as “Why are you not still a solicitor?” Soberly, I formulated- every human being has good and bad luck, character, choices; it is as it is; now, I cry out “Because I am weak, stupid and useless!”

Gerda Wegener Eva Heramb

5 thoughts on “Milton Keynes

  1. Surely it is the system around us making getting useful work so difficult and so disheartening. My younger daughter has struggled with work related issues and in the big buzzy city. Hopefully at some point in time the ‘right’ work or role will turn up for you.

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