A Story About Staying Positive

My name is [James Leahy]. I had an accident, and I woke up [temping in Worcestershire]. Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Whatever’s happened, it’s like I’ve landed on a different planet. Now, maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get [back to my previous life].

What do you call those people who are convinced that the world is there because they are? I don’t think I am (I hope I’m not) but a lot of my favourite films (The Truman Show, Vanilla Sky, Solaris) share this theme and it’s something I occaisionally think about. The paragraph above is a recurring mission statement (I hate that phrase so sorry) that continues to rattle around in my head, as it has since early last year, because my current situation is, to a degree, echoed by Sam’s predicament in Life on Mars. I’m convinced that Manchester in Life on Mars is an involuntary construct of Sam in that it just seems to have trapped him and is relentless in its refusal to release him. Worcester exudes a similarly bleak and foreboding quality to this stylised and slightly unreal Manchester of 1973 (it’s certainly not the most attractive and welcoming place in the world, something perhaps not helped by the time of year). Like Sam, I’m helped along the way by the cast of great people I’ve worked with at Aiim, the city’s branch of the Cheltenham and Gloucester, CAFCASS and latterly Sanctuary Housing (the changing of jobs in itself feels episodic). It just feels like, as with Sam, it might only be me who decides when I escape. I keep hoping that at some point it all becomes clear what I’m doing in this wretched place and I’ll realise how to escape. In the same way as the slogan for The Truman Show reads “How’s it Going to End?” I’m looking forward to seeing how that light at the end of the tunnel will manifest itself (y’know, as opposed to wondering how I’m going to die, because that would just be a bit morbid…).

I’ve finished whining now and if you’ve read this far then I owe you a drink at some point. Cheers.

5 thoughts on “A Story About Staying Positive”

  1. Dear James, Sorry to be negative but when you mentioned the word CAFCASS I cringed. That some 80% of CAFCASS officers are woman is a reality that has destroyed the lives of many of our male clients. That no CAFCASS officer is an expert in the field of child or family psychology is indicative of lack of parity in family law. The truth being that in 99.9% of all reports submitted by CAFCASS this the family court judge will rely upon virtually always in favour of the mother and maternal side of a child’s family at the expense of the father and paternal side. To put this into perspective. Professor Meadows as an expert got it wrong to the point of having innocent victims imprisoned, so why should we expect any better from non-experts in the form of CAFCASS officers who are nothing more than glorified probation officers, no more no less?

  2. Check out Mr Bigglesworth on my blog – that should raise a smile 🙂 Alternatively, go back to college and be a student again for a year – do a masters. Getting ahead is a lot about networking – I failed to understand that at uni and networked with computer geeks instead of biology geeks. Going back gives the the opportunity to move in the right circles again. I’ve done it the alternate way by getting a job in a college – the library job wasn’t directly in my field, but it’s allowed me to get known by people who are. I had an interview on friday to teach at the college’s new 6th form academy in september, and from that I’ve also been asked to teach environmental science to police cadets. I wouldn’t have even thought to apply for either, but I happened to do a favour for someone that helped them get a promotion, that put them in a position to offer me work. Random. It might all go tits up, and I might be biting off more than I can chew, but Red Queen theory in evolution suggests that we have to run just to stay in one place, so I guess if I stop running for too long I’ll start going backwards.

    Also, don’t forget we’re here if you fancy a weekend by the seaside (not the bank holday though coz we’re going to Portland to go climbing)

    Take it easy lovely and don’t forget that thinking gives you wrinkles 🙂


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