Rather than oversleeping as usual, I woke up early this morning and could not get back to sleep, which happens to me occasionally. Looking out of my bedroom window, I discovered that flat roof of the kitchen was flooded (the gutter was blocked) and when I went downstairs I found water on the kitchen floor, although thankfully not deep. After breakfast Dad and I went outside to look at the gutters. I held the ladder as he went up it. He pulled out a thick plug of moss that was blocking the gutter… and a torrent of water gushed down on us. We hadn’t thought that through. I got off fairly lightly, but Dad was soaked. There’s a running joke in the family about Dad and I doing DIY being like Laurel and Hardy and never was that more true than here. Another fine mess, indeed.
I went for a run before lunch, but fared poorly. My pace and stamina in daytime runs seems to be much worse than for nighttime ones, which may be because I’m tired in general before lunch. Unfortunately, at this time of the year if I eat lunch and wait a couple of hours before running, it is nighttime.
(Dog lovers might want to skip this next bit.) I was not helped by being attacked by a dog, a small fluffy thing, but vicious, that repeatedly ran across the road, away from its owner to chase me down the street. The owner attempted to call it back, but not very effectively and when she did manage to get it back on the other side of the road and I tentatively tried to move on, it ran back over to attack me again. Twice. I only escaped when a new passerby appeared by for the dog to attack. I really did think it was going to bite me, although I escaped shaken, but not bitten.
Other than running and doing fifty minutes of Torah study, the main thing I did today was looking online briefly to see if there was anything about training as a tutor. I’ve said I should be able to tutor in English and maybe history, but I worry whether I really can do that. I didn’t find much. I did find some exam papers and mark schemes, but crucial parts of the English language paper, passages from real-world texts, could not be included online for copyright reasons. I am still nervous about the whole idea and don’t really know how I would go about tutoring someone or marking something as complicated and subjective as an A-Level English essay. I looked at some stuff about self-publishing for my Doctor Who non-fiction book too and that also looked difficult, certainly if I want to avoid selling my soul to Amazon (I think it is basically impossible to sell mainstream books without dealing with Amazon in some way).
I shouldn’t get fazed by things like this, but I do. I go into autistic rigid thinking and fear of newness and unfamiliarity with added low self-esteem and just think “I can’t do this.” I know this makes life miserable for my friends and family, because I procrastinate and don’t do stuff and in some cases just hang around until people do it for me, but it’s always hard for me to know what to do; once I know that, I’m often (or at least sometimes) OK. It constantly amazes me how easily other people are able to do stuff and I can’t. For example, my second-oldest cousin from Israel is coming to stay with us later this week. A few weeks ago she decided she wanted to come, she bought the plane tickets, phoned to ask if she could stay, arranged a lift from the airport from her uncle on the other side of the family… and that was it! I could never do something so easily.
And so, Chanukah arrived at last. My Mum is feeling ill, which perhaps made it less enjoyable. I was given Penguin Lost, Andrey Kurkov’s sequel to Death and the Penguin, a novel about corruption and organised crime in post-Communist Ukraine that is still clear in my mind sixteen years after reading it. After we lit candles (I always say “candles” even though I’ve been using olive oil lights for years), my Dad put on easy listening music and I couldn’t cope with it for some reason, probably because I was tired and hungry. I mean I had an autistic “I can’t cope with noise” reaction, which I don’t usually get unless music is very loud or I’m trying to do something requiring concentration.
I feel I’ve rather wasted the day, and gone into Chanukah unprepared. Years ago a blogger I followed ran a series of posts on how every Jewish sub-group has its own Chanukah on which it projects its own meanings: the Zionist Chanukah, the Haredi Chanukah, the anti-Zionist Chanukah, the assimilated Chanukah… I’m not sure what meaning I find in it tonight. The main thought I think of when I looked at the lights was the idea (a Midrash?) that, like olive oil, Jews produce a pure light, but only when placed under great pressure. That’s not even a specifically Chanukahdik thought, it’s a general idea about the Menorah (lamp) in the Temple. Possibly I shouldn’t beat myself up about this, but I never really seem to get as much from Jewish festivals as I feel I “should” (that word again). I feel I should find meaning and inspiration that raises my service of God progressively higher with each successive festival, but it never happens. Maybe that only happens to the very devout, or the very lucky.
I do feel better after dinner (tonight’s doughnut: jam), but I’m going to watch TV rather than push myself to do research on domestic abuse for my novel as I can’t really face it. I feel I haven’t done much today. This isn’t true, as this post shows, but I feel I didn’t do as much as I should (and again) given the time I woke up. Tomorrow Dad and I are off to The Imperial War Museum. I’m not quite sure why I thought that was a cheery day out, but I haven’t been there for years and it’s a chance to do some father-son bonding. But I don’t want to be up late tonight as we want to have early lunch and then leave.