Published: Sunday March 8, 2015.

Home, again - part one

I’m back home after a road trip up north. I drove up from Crackington Haven on Thursday, arrived in Selby, spent some time with my family, went to my nan’s funeral at Selby Abbey to say goodbye for the final time, and drove home on Friday afternoon. 700 miles in the car, two tanks of diesel, and hopefully the last time I wear my black tie for a while.

I spent my earliest years in and around Selby, North Yorkshire. For as long as I knew them, my four grandparents lived there; no more than a mile or so distance apart as the crow flies. I lived in West Park, Selby. I remember the pebbledashed garage walls, the chest freezer in the hallway and a day when the news reporters went on strike and the telly played cartoons instead.

Selby’s sort of ticked off, now. My mum and dad moved away from Selby last year when they retired. One of my brothers lives nearby, but I don’t know how long he’ll hang around now that nan’s died. I’m curious to see what he’ll do in the near to mid future. We’re very similar in some ways, and polar opposite in others.

Last week was…peculiar. I’ve told a few key people about my decision to wind down my local tech support operation, and the news is gradually filtering through the parish. Most of Monday afternoon was spent chasing unpaid bills. It’s surprising how many pieces of paperwork go missing in the post down here, it’s almost like a black hole some weeks. Email has a nasty habit of disappearing when there’s a PDF invoice attached, too. It’s a mystery.

Monday to Wednesday was business as usual, but I was thinking more about the circumstances of everything. I don’t begrudge helping anyone, not at all, but I don’t find the tech support stuff personally fulfilling. It’s stuff I know inside out, and the overriding factor in how long these things take to do is determined by the speed of the computer and/or connecting wires. That’s a lot of time spent looking at progress bars. I get asked how many hours a day I spend waiting for computers to do things and I usually make jovial small talk in response and steer the conversation elsewhere.

The truth is, it’s far too long. That’s time I won’t ever get back. I dare not think about the progress bar hours I’ve exchanged for money. It’s the same reason I don’t watch mindless TV. Trading time for brain rot isn’t something I want to continue with. I have a games console that I use for occasional escapism and movies, but if it were to disappear I don’t think I’d miss it. I’d probably cope. The difference, I think, is that escapism time is on my terms, with people who I get on with, and I usually feel better as a result.