Jack Shackaway here.
Friends have just suggested I join them on a sailing trip at the end of November. Joyous news, right? Not so. Now I have to weather the usual squall of anxieties and conflicting inclinations, maybe even a massive storm of dither.
“How soon do I have to tell you one way or the other?” I ask them.
“You’ve got a problem with free sailing trips?” they say.
The problem. Following an extended period of freelance-writerly doldrums I’m expecting work, and deadlines may chain me to my computer right through the period in question. Or they may not. As it stands, like Schröedinger’s cat I’m suspended in that uncomfortable quantum state of both (1) chainedness, daring to hope I’ll be busy with assignments, and (2) non-chainedness because, after all, I’m a freelance writer, with the emphasis on “free,” eh?
And the world being what it is, I know that if I say, “Ahoy, me maties, you can count me in,” that the assignments will fall like a hard rain right about the time I’m supposed to be aboard that yacht enjoying a much-needed break from worrying about no assignments. This natural law is akin to the old idea that evil spirits are quick to intervene immediately they hear expressions of hope, anticipations of good luck and suchlike.
Whatever decision I make collapses the prevailing superposition of probabilities, and generally not in my favor. And thus the average freelance mind is defined by the need to determine particular outcomes of such perennial states of uncertainty and insecurity. I.e. if I decide not to go sailing, then the closest thing to a writing/editing assignment during that whole period will prove to be when Mad the Maid asks me to pen instructions for the drycleaners.
A common enough kind of thing, having to steer this nasty confluence of quantum mechanics and intervention by malicious spirits.
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