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Weeknotes 2022.08

A few things I’ve been thinking about this week. The eighth post of a series.

I’m not very loyal when it comes to early morning radio stations, but for the last few months my 6am alarm has been tuned to Times Radio Breakfast: generally, there is a snatch of laughter and banter between Callum McDonald, the Early Breakfast presenter, and Breakfast presenters Stig Abel and Aasmah Mir, which feels like a lovely way to wake up.

On Thursday morning the tone was formal and serious, and even before my brain properly engaged with the world, it was clear that something awful had happened. And days later, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine continues to horrify the world.

On Friday, feeling impotent (as I think everyone does), I tried to find out what charities I could support to help the situation. One of the most recommended was ‘Come Back Alive’, a Kyiv based charity which supplies ammunition to those defending the country. Armed defence is the only option for many Ukrainians, but I was morally torn: could I bring myself to effectively buy ammunition with the sole intention of killing soldiers?

What a luxury it is to have that dilemma, rather than feeling forced into actually killing people to defend myself. What ridiculous privilege I expend by writing these words and taking up your attention with my petty dilemmas while others are senselessly losing loved ones.

A little over a year ago, Wendy and I bought a new tumble dryer, the previous one having stopped working after 7½ years. We tried to buy the most ecologically sound model we could find, and it also happened to have a Wi-Fi connection.

We were most amused: why would anyone want their dryer to surf the web?

A year on, I’ve been won over. It is amazingly convenient to have an app which shows how long the cycle has to run, and push notifications to signal that the cycle has finished beat annoying beeps hands-down.

Forgiveness is hard. Forgiveness has been a recurrent theme in my reading this week, and it has made me think. Before I really thought about it, I would have said that I was a pretty forgiving person. But the more I reflect, the more I think about those very few people who I would describe as having “antibodies” towards, and I wonder if those “antibodies” mean that I haven’t completely forgiven them for things in our shared past.

These are all people who were in positions of professional seniority above me who have behaved poorly towards me in the past. They all, I now realise, demonstrated some form of very brief, petty and unnecessary aggression against me, for which they never apologised. I’ve never recognised that common link before.

So perhaps I’m holding onto grudges without realising it, especially in those narrow circumstances. Perhaps I need to be better at appreciating others’ capacity to learn, grow, and leave bullying behaviours behind.

This post was filed under: Weeknotes.

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