“Where do you see yourself in five years time?”
We all got asked that when we were younger, in one job interview or another. We had answers too, equally as glib as the question. People don’t ask me that any more. They know that I am no longer idiot enough to presume I have the faintest clue.
Having said that, for significant chunks of my life I thought I did know. Marriage is a kind of informal script that follows certain phases and developments in a more or less prescribed order. You know what’s coming next.
These days when I look in the mirror I see a rather startled duck.
Adrift of my moorings, I barely know what next Tuesday will look like. It could be anything. I alternate between terror and excitement, often collapsing into a state where I really don’t give a flying duck and will just see what turns up, and hopefully be awake enough to notice possibilities and opportunities.
Hebden Bridge (not a million miles away from here) has an annual charity duck race. It’s a lot like Pooh Sticks, but with ducks. Some get stranded in reeds and tossed about in mini whirlpools, and some eventually pass some kind of finish line with their fixed grins, although of course it is only a notional finish. Left to their own devices they would just drift on blissfully.
Ideally, in five years time I will be a giant inflatable duck floating down a river to the sea. It seems as likely a prospect as any other.