Thievery & Korea
20 June 2003
I have been a victim of crime, and I am outraged. I was going to tell you all this other stuff, but I am so fumid, I can think of nothing else. Someone has climbed over the wall into my back yard, and stolen one of my herbs in its pot. My common thyme, thymus vulgaris, has been thieved from me, and I am truly furious about it. And suddenly desperately anxious about all the others: what if this is a serial thief? He can only carry one at a time, but no reason to suppose he won't come back, and back, and back again...
Ah, let's talk about something else. Let's talk about post. I used to live by my post, I used to be neurotic about it; I spent a month once when I was still living at home convinced that my mother was stealing my post, because I was getting none. So I started getting up absurdly early, to frustrate her ? and then decided, had to decide that it was the postman himself who was stealing it, as it clearly wasn't coming in through the door.
Fortunately, things have changed; very little that's good comes by post any more, so I no longer expect it. So it doesn't grieve me when my entire day's ration, as yesterday, was the contract for the university job that I finished six weeks ago, and the letter to tell me that I hadn't got the fellowship I applied for eight months ago. That's pretty much what I expect. And the reason I no longer expect good things in the post, is largely because they all come by e-mail these days. Wherefore yesterday I was busily deleting the morning's crop of spam, and came down to one that wasn't; nearly deleted it anyway, because it had one of those long subject lines that usually denote garbage and wasn't from a name I knew. But I stopped in time, and read it - and it's an invitation to attend a one-day fantasy literature forum. In Korea, in September. British Council job, which is a thing I wholeheartedly approve of (except for the British Council in Taiwan, but that's another story). And it's interesting to note how much I've changed, perhaps grown up in the last couple of years. When I got the equivalent invitation to go to Taiwan I was instantly terrified; applied only because I didn't want to be the kind of person who let such an opportunity slip, but secretly wanted not to get it, and then jittered madly when I did. This time, deep cool, absolutely I want it, straight off. No doubt the jitters will still come, but they ain't here yet; thus far I'm doing nothing but look forward to the trip, and wonder if I can afford to stay a little longer on my own account. They're offering three or four days, but that's really only time enough to bed the jetlag in for the duration.
© Chaz Brenchley 2003
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.