yesterday. I had just arrived home having done a quick trip to check on an oldie who broke her wrist last week. It was something I needed to do but it took time out of work.
Yes, I work. I still work. I am likely to go on working as long as I have the ability. The problem is I work from home.
Back in the dim distant past, before the advent of home computers and the internet and e-mail, I used to have to go into the university each day. I don't need to do that any more. I go in when I need to see students.
I don't have a room there any more. We decided I didn't need it. That was a mistake. People don't believe I work any more. I mean, if you don't "go to work" then you "don't work" do you?
So, yesterday... neighbour came in as I was getting midday meal for Senior Cat and self. That's fair enough - although it slows me down she knows to let me go on doing it. And then I pedalled off and saw the oldie - who is miserable but at least being cared for.
I had just settled down to do some work when the phone rang and someone invited himself and his wife to afternoon tea. He needed to talk to the Senior Cat. I put the kettle on.
I was in the middle of doing something for someone. He lives in Tanzania. His internet connection is uncertain at the best of times but he had "come into town" from the village he is currently working in especially to contact me. So I went on working. Each time I sent something off for him to read and consider I went back and made tea and talked to the wife. Then I would go back and see what my colleague's response had been and do a bit more or make another suggestion.
It was stressful. I felt I was not giving it my full attention. I knew I was not giving his problem my full attention - and his problem was a great deal more important than talking to someone I had not been expecting to see.
Oh yes, they know I work "but you can always take a bit of time off" and "it's not as if you get paid for doing it" and "you can always do it later" and "it doesn't really matter does it?" These things are said by other people who have no idea what I do or how I do it.
Well yes, it does matter. It matters a lot. If I say I will do something then I like to do it and I like to do it on time. It is not always possible to take time off simply for the convenience of other people who have imposed themselves on you. No I am not getting paid but the people I work with are not getting paid for doing that particular job either - that's part of the agreement we have between us. We can't always do something later for any number of reasons and yes it does matter - because other people's lives matter.
We ended up having pita bread stuffed with egg and salad for our tea. The Senior Cat, bless him, quite understood. He almost never interrupts me - and I don't interrupt him either.