Thursday, July 12, 2012

Expecting the Worst

In a couple of weeks we were supposed to be moving to Newcastle to spend a year there, but due to some bizarre and unexpected events at work, my fella has had to cancel his sabbatical, so we're staying put. He has been having a very odd couple of months. He had put in an application for a very large grant (several millions of pounds) and had got through to the last round, where 10 applicants battle it out in front of a panel for 5 places (a bit like X Factor but for professors).

So he went down to London, all prepared with his notes for his talk and his handouts. But an hour before he was due to go into the interview, his suitcase was stolen while he was in a coffee shop. It contained all his notes, an Ipad, his laptop and his clothes. The people in Cafe Nero could not have been less interested. London is apparently a nest of thieves at the moment, due to the Olympics. If it had been me, I probably would have just got the next train home and gone straight to bed, but he has something of the air of an old trooper about him, so he went to the interview and did it anyway.

Afterwards he was convinced it hadn't gone well, and spent a week being down in the dumps. But it turned out he got the grant after all.

He also took Grade 1 piano exam at the same time that I did Grade 3 - although recounted afterwards that it had gone "very badly". He'd decided to play the pieces off by heart, and made a mistake in the first one which he was unable to recover from. His mind went blank and his hands couldn't stop shaking. We worked out that if he was lucky, he might have got 101 out of 150 (you need 100 to pass).

We received emails from ABRSM last night that the results were out. These exams have no bearing on our careers, but all the same, I experienced a momentary feeling of anxiety when I clicked on the results. Thankfully, I got 121, which is a merit (just). We then looked at my fella's results, both of us expecting the worst. He got 120 (also a merit).

I think the moral of this is that I could save myself a lot of anxiety if I take every thing he says with a pinch of salt.

"It must be nice to have something that you're better than him at," said one of my friends last night.

"It won't last..." I replied. He is the sort of person who played Angry Birds for hours until he had 3 stars on every level.

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