I was just considering popping next door to see Barry and find out how yesterday went. I thought it would be polite. I could tell he was there because the country and western was blasting out again, and I could also hear him humming along. Then, out of nowhere, all delivered in the most anguished, heartfelt tone, as if torn from the depths of his soul:
'Oh no! No, no, no! Jesus Christ, fuck! Fuck!'
Bizarrely, the humming then immediately resumed, leading me to think that it can't be as bad as all that. The first time I commented on this (these outbursts are not unusual, in fact), it turned out later it was a personal missed share options deadline or somesuch.
But, no, he's not quite finished: 'Oh no, I don't believe it! God almighty, what the FUCK is going on? I really DO NOT need this, not now!'
There's a couple of thumps -- possibly the sound of a rattle being thrown out of a pram -- and the humming resumes.
I have transcribed Barry's Biblically-themed musings on existence from a handy post-it that I used to take a note. All that note taking practice has finally came in handy for something. Although I may not have managed to get the punctuation quite right.
There's no way I am going next door. I wouldn't want to be there when he finally snaps, grabs some of that pink ribbon that's everywhere and quietly throttles one of his room mates for no obvious reason. Or attempts to use his wig tin to cave in someone's skull.
I did discover something interesting yesterday that provides a potential explanation for all this flakey behaviour. I was talking to Humphrey about my near miss with the underground papers hand-over, and he remarked that Barry 'manages his diary very carefully'. This seemed to me to be the polar opposite of the truth, and I guessed that Humphrey, who is a thoroughly nice human being, was being tactful rather than sarcastic. In response to close questioning (this whole cross examination thing must be contagious) he explained what he meant. Barry books in morning and afternoon hearings and appearances, whereas most members of chambers just do one appearance a day. Barry is apparently more careful than most to ask for afternoon listings to avoid clashes, for example.
This no doubt increases his earning capacity, perhaps considerably, but also cranks up his stress levels. And it's entirely voluntary, unlike the heavy workload faced by employed solicitors, perhaps sometimes with tragic consequences.
I'm no expert, but from the evidence I've heard through the wall I'm not sure it's worth it.