Having spent a huge amount of my time over the last few days listening to people who 'wanted a chat' I think I have stumbled into a more traditional area of priesthood than ever before. The listener. My family and friends may be surprised at this.
How many people do you know who will, contentedly, go out for a drink with you and spend (or try to spend) almost the entire evening listening to you.
When I was at school, in a Latin lesson in about 1970 or so, a teacher called Stuffer (I can't remember his real name but he was the School Chaplain) said, 'Tilley you haven't been listening to a word I've said.' (It was the sort of school where surnames were used.)
In one of the minor triumphs of a pretty unimpressive school career I told him I had. When he went for broke and asked me to tell him what he had just said I told him that 'cum takes the subjunctive in the imperfect tense.'
He looked so disappointed I almost felt sorry for him. He didn't pursue the matter. Had he done so he would have discovered that although my rather remarkable abilty to listen whilst not looking as if I am listening, still with me to this day, was functioning well I had no idea what it meant. I can still quote it but don't really know if I ever learned it, as in learned its relevance.
Listening to people talking in the pub, whilst looking as if I am listening, is the hardest thing I do in the world. If you want to talk to me and not worry about whether I am listening or not I suggest you phone me.
Our house is so full of junk that we have lost a tent somewhere. Need to find it so Ben can go to 'V' at the weekend and Liz and I can have the house to ourselves for a change.
Jon described his day at work in a dull office as 'like eating a jumper whilst listening to Travis - plinky plonky stab stab.' That English degree was worth the money. I read his dissertation on double-diasporic poets this morning. It was fascinating.