After nearly 18 months of retirement, the hallowed halls of science are beseeching me to return to the fold and once more I am being summoned (nay regaled ) to sally forth to uncover the arcane mysteries which assail the natural world…….
I thought hard about the offer. It was not as if we really needed the extra cash. I receive a small ‘private’ pension and in 17 months I’ll be eligible for the state inspired variety. And, in addition, I have savings which earn a modest interest. That said, we could all do with a little extra cash and it would come in helpful in funding some of my interests. For instance, I always need a new bow, although Mrs S thinks that my current inventory of 25 bows is quite sufficient. She may have a point: I’m running out of wall space to hang them. But I have never been temperate when it comes to acquiring items (“Flaxen, you have never been temperate in anything that you do- ain't dat the sad truth”) which interest me and I feel no need/heed to change. So, I’ve decided to take my, old boss and friend, up, on his gracious offer.
My role will be different from my previous one. No longer will I be involved in teaching, admin, development and research. My job will be to soak up the routine practical and analytical work. I will be a donkey amongst thoroughbred horses. This holds no terrors: at my stage in life, I’m happy to relinquish the innovative work to younger and more nimble minds. Also, it will be an opportunity to catch up with old friends and colleagues. We have chosen to live in rural New Zealand, and perhaps the only downside is that we are socially isolated. I am not a social gadfly by nature and I’m usually okay with the isolation but I do miss the repartee and banter afforded by my old and slightly crazed, ex-colleagues.
Because I live 2 hours (by train) from work I will commute and stay overnight at my bosses’ place. I could stay with my son who lives in the centre of town, but I would have to catch a bus to get to the lab. I avoid public transport if I can help it- full of smelly, common, weird folk. Also, my son's live-in Danish girlfriend thinks I'm mentally unhinged. Although my boss lives out in the northern suburbs, at least I will be able to get a lift into work (he knows I'm mentally unhinged).
So, I will see how it transpires. My initial contract/contact will run for three months with an option to renew. If I find the whole process tedious or onerous I will return to my life of idyll exile and rural contemplation. Arse.