When I pick up Orwell, I feel a slight malaise.
It seems so old-fashioned and antiquated, the ideas of Stalinism in “Animal Farm” or the Thought Police in “1984” – yet the themes of these two novels, at least, are still remarkably contemporary.
Last week, Zuckerberg was called before the Senate about the Cambridge Analytica scandal; Alexa is covertly monitoring us; I should know, she’s made an accidental DVD purchase for me, of Ricky Gervais “On the Road” when I didn’t find it that entertaining on Netflix. Still the purchase arrived without me knowing I’d bought it.
But now I’m being monitored daily – by a new Big Brother, my wife.
I know I live in Norfolk – but she’s not really my brother at all, but I do feel empathy with Winston Smith who had every movement and thought pattern monitored until his meeting with rats in Room 101.
I’m not sure I like it.
Education and, to a lesser extent, working with some noxious clients, had me gagging with the level of control and micro-management.
Now don’t get me wrong, my wife hasn’t strapped a cage with a rat to my face, or questioned my social media, or muttered those famous SLT words “Have you got a minute?” (educational code for a bollocking) but nonetheless I’m watched.
As a result, I’ve had to curtail afternoon nana naps, trips out to John Lewis and Apple for some technology lechery, and curb my eating out, because, just two weeks ago, Tricia Walton (new website coming soon) decided to leave her permanent place of work, as Head of MFL, after 25 years, and follow my lead.
Literally – joining me on dog walks daily.
Now don’t get me wrong – there’s massive pluses.
We are bezzies and always have been – she was a friend (not brother) before we eloped.
I have a patient listening ear, and frequent kisses and encouragement, like “get back to blogging.”
But the biggest positive is not that I’ve started earning more, working harder or have eyes propped open with matchsticks, but it’s seeing a new person in my wife – a happy, contented person, who sings and smiles like she’s overdosed on Prozac. She hasn’t. She’s left teaching.
And that makes me happy and I’ll even work harder daily, like Boxer.
I wonder if Trish too will cart me off to the knacker’s yard when I collapse?
Time will tell.