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I Pity The Fool!

Or 'Different Endings'

What the hell am I doing? I thoroughly enjoy my new career and working for myself but what on earth am I putting myself out for? The idea was that I'd create the balance I never really had in hospitality (or is that looking back through tainted, murky glasses), for family, for work, for exercising and raising money for charity and maybe the occasional blog. What seems to be the case is waking up at daft o'clock to do lessons or work late to prepare students for their driving tests. Meanwhile, no running takes place, the dog gets only just the right amount of exercise (let's add a sprinkling of guilt to that one too), the routine goes out the window and I allow the accounts of certain students to accumulate so that I'm out of pocket for a short while. It's a bloody business, I can't delay paying my car lease, insurance, phone bills and the like. Maybe if I turn up for a lesson and ask the delayed payers to fill the car up with fuel and I'll pay them back later, that would be the right way of going about things? But, we all know two wrongs don't make a right.

Occasionally, but only occasionally, I'll dig my heels in. I had an academy football player for a local club in the North East (a couple actually). He was so pleased with the lesson he had, he said he'd definitely book more lessons as I'd helped him so much more than his previous instructor. What a load of 'Tosh'ak. Never heard from him again until he rings and texts me the day before his test - of course he'd been having lessons elsewhere - to ask me if I'd do a lesson the following day and would I mind taking him for his driving test. Good one! What do you say to that, sorry but I'm not a taxi service? Yes, of course, I'd love to help you out, you're in a real pickle aren't you, I'd be delighted to bend over backwards for you. Who is your instructor? Why have they bailed on you (his words words, 'bailed'). Or simply, why do you think I would take you to your test? No, thanks sorry but I'm working with students who don't give me a load of flannel. Why on earth would I help, such a disingenuous young man? I pity the fool.

Recently a student had their driving test which they were perfectly capable of passing. Unfortunately, they dropped a little clanger. A pedestrian was walking with the flow of traffic on a road with a National Speed limit, my student decides not to alter their course of travel narrowly passing by the walker, who then gesticulates their dissatisfaction. The examiner has no option but to fail the student. As we are driving home following the test, my student, who is crying and swearing, blaming the pedestrian and telling me in no uncertain terms that they will not have the chance to do another test before they leave the country. In my best calming tone (who'd have thought), I explain that I'll organise a new test for them and will work to get them a cancellation within the window they are in the country. The response, more swearing, more telling me I'm wrong. Like an idiot I book another test for them. A week later I obtain a test date within the time frame they wanted. The downside, it is on my day off, which means I've got to make a road trip of almost 100 miles so that they can get the test on the day they want. I mention that I'm doing this journey for them but not to worry if I'm slightly delayed in traffic on the way to pick them up. The response, that's okay. I'm doing you an act of kindness, foregoing a day off, foregoing leisure time, increasing my mileage, my costs and reducing the income I'd get for my time. They pass, thankfully. When I drop them off, they've got a small bill, 'I'll pay you as soon as I get in the house', their last words to me. A distance of 20 yards to be covered at the pace of 2 1/2 yards per hour as the funds clear 8 hours later. What did I put myself out for? Let's help a tantrum child, or maybe I'm the tantrum child? I pity the fool.

Someone I've known a while asked me to help out and organise lessons for their progeny. Recklessly I agree and end up spending an accumulation of hours travelling out of the area I normally work in. A week later, following a successful test, I'm still waiting for the final account to be paid and the person who I've helped get through their test acknowledge my efforts with the equally compensatory sum total of a deluge of thanks, Oh, sorry of course, for clarification, zero appreciation. Not including the thanks they text in 6 letters for the congratulatory photo I took of them and sent to them to celebrate their happiness. At least I know I've tried my best for them, I'm not looking for gushing gratitude but something more 'real', more authentic, more genuine. I feel valueless, disposable and discarded with less than a backwards thought in a rear view mirror. Why did I go out of my way to help? I pity the fool.

I'm looking for a running buddy, someone who will help me get out of the house, either late in the evening or early in the morning. I've approached two people I've seen out running and offered to jog with them, anything for company. Both individuals, said to my face, I'd love to, that's great, I'll definitely be in touch. That was a month ago.

Hopefully, I'll find the motivation within myself (at some point I'm bound to aren't I), I quit drinking, I've got more determination than I realise, perhaps I'll continue to live in hope and I'll make more changes to improve. Is that not an admirable quality to have? To hope I've got more to change, more to give, more to offer, perhaps but these are just one or two stories out of many where I despair at the ridiculousness of myself, I pity the fool!

Hope's a strange commodity and comes from the most unlikely places. Following a recent driving test (the fourth person within the same family and the fourth first time pass), an extra payment was made in recognition of my efforts. I was so very grateful and despite the occasional blinkered approach to the quality service I think I provide, it was nice that hope was restored in it's full glory to, front and centre. Still, I pity the fool!

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