Counting money

crazy-numsToday has been about numbers. I’ve been taking some long overdue advice on how to do something I should’ve done decades ago. You’ll probably have noticed I think about the death of my parents reasonably frequently – (deliberate understatement.) It’s something that took me a while – arguably far too long – to properly understand and move forward from. I took a fair amount of advice today – from a relative stranger – on money. I wouldn’t have done so much even 2 years ago. At some point I stitched into my identity the fallacy that I’m bad at numbers. It’s not true, of course, it’s just been an excuse for paralysis and avoiding things that are hard to look at. I’ve been at war with myself about deserving, entitlement, agency, independence etc. Time to bury the hatchet.

So this morning I sat with a retired chartered accountant “I wasn’t struck off. I just stopped paying the registry. So there’s no funny business.” he assured me this morning, answering a concern that I hadn’t raised and that hadn’t occurred to me to raise.

He takes great pleasure in his work, in the same way I do. As I sat with him I began to understand a little more. I could see things swimming in his mind and clicking into place – he thought and spoke methodically, crabbing lists and boxes with his black pen as he went, never getting ahead of the present moment. His face sometimes lit up with the thrill of understanding. I know those feelings, even if they’re located in other areas for me. I left his presence feeling galvanised, with a residue of the joy he takes from understanding this stuff and a bloody good list of things to do.

There are people that like eating things I don’t. I often try to find out what it is about those things that pleases them so I can share that pleasure. Taste is just opinion. Today I started to see how the arrangement and rearrangement of numbers can be a pleasant challenge. Particularly if there’s a prospect of genuine concrete reward at the end of the line. It’s something my father understood very well. And it’s time I understood it too and decided that I’m good at it.

I left his house into a shining morning, and met a friend for lunch. She’s a talented musician and actor, and also does accounting for money when she’s not plying her trade. She’s brilliant at both acting and accounting. She’s living proof that it’s possible. We were hanging out, and it occured to me that here’s another person who I’ve gravitated towards recently who can look at a tax return form without a fit of the collywobbles and a bottle of gin.

I start rehearsal tomorrow, so spare time is falling away. But I’ve got a long to do list from this morning, and things I want to action quickly. And I think I’ve found out how unpicking my long-term financial pickle might, viewed in a certain light, be pleasurable – rather than the source of abject horror it has been for most of my adult life.

Contemplating all this, I finished watching Stranger Things, reveling in the eighties nostalgia – back then it was all so uncomplicated and everyone was alive despite the demogorgon, and I didn’t have to finally come to terms with the fact that, at the moment, I’m where the buck stops. And I have work to do.

Call it character work for Scrooge. I always find I notice aspects of my character that ellide with parts I’m playing bubbling to the front of my consciousness. No surprises that I’m trying to sort out my finances whilst gearing up to play Scrooge. Humbug.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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