Not one for being engrossed in the conspiracies of the every day, or the serendipitous loveliness that pours from Hollywood, or the auspicious moments that seem to be dictated by ‘fate’ or some form or another of the pre-destined, I am however quietly charmed by the sequence of eventualities that happen after a slight twitch in decision making, that at the time bare no significance, but now seem to have caused a significantly larger shift into where I might have a pint, and say my name.
Currently stumbling through a potential career in architecture, or some form of, I’m pretending to be someone of some knowledge when it comes to knowing what I am doing with myself. In my current workplace there is an acute sense that everyone ‘knows’ what they are about, what they have done, and where they’re going, and with that comes a standard set of three questions that are engrained in the everyone when first meeting each other (perhaps, but if I didn’t say that then I couldn’t follow up with this rest of this).
1: What’s you name
2: Where did you study?
3: How come you have ended up in architecture?
The first question is already an issue for me. Now I know my name, I’ve been relatively confident with it for a number of years, and you’ll think you’ll know my name once you’ve heard it, but put pen to paper, or search it in the intranet, and you’ll be curious as to why an English fellow is either eastern European, or so dyslexic (of which I am) that he can’t spell his own name. Alas, in the pub, over a pint, Petr is fine…
The second of where I studied isn’t too problematic. Ravensbourne, relatively shy in the world of league tables, relatively not shy in its appearance.
It’s the third where I stumble, or have no credence to suggest that I am a person knowing what this [architecture] is about, or that I dreamt as a sprog to build the world, to be the architect of architects, to be a hero of the designed world, because I didn’t, so I can’t. Alas the question is asked, and as I search for reason, I go further back into the story to pin point just this one moment of why, and I’m left with when Ben Maidment said ‘no’, which meant that I’m in the pub, having a pint, saying my name, and explaining who the hell Ben Maidment is.
Ben is an old student who went to school with me, I don’t speak to him, wasn’t friends with him, and it would be of no consequence to him to learn of what I was doing now, and ten years ago in he was asked by the head of the year to go on a RAF work experience course. Oh, and he was tall. That’s Ben.
If Ben had said yes, then I wouldn’t have gone on RAFVEP, and I wouldn’t have been invited to join the air cadets. I wouldn’t have spent all my time going to camps like the good little cadet I was, forgetting the need to do college-y things.
Neither would have I become obsessed with the military, met the like minded people that your promised, been convinced that the only career for me was to fly some plans, come home for tea and medals, and pretend to know that I had the whole possibly killing someone thing sorted in my head. I wouldn’t have gone to Cranwell, failed the selection panel, been told to go travelling around Asia, do it, and go back to Cranwell only to fail again. I wouldn’t have known that Nasal Polyps really are irritating on both the day to day breathing sniffs and a danger to national security. I wouldn’t have cried my eyes out in the middle of the OASC with the panic that my career aspirations had reduced to nothing. I wouldn’t have had my family search for options. I wouldn’t have had my brother call his old tutor to arrange an interview that turned into a place at university. I wouldn’t have gone to Ravensbourne to study the same design course as he had. I wouldn’t have had the support structure that was the only way that I was going to do well. I wouldn’t have met the industry people that I needed to. I wouldn’t have been gifted job opportunities. I wouldn’t have gone to free range to show work, and I wouldn’t have been given an interview for my current job that resulted in me working there for a while to build up enough confidence to go out for a social drink to order a pint of Stella, sit opposite this person that I haven’t met before, say my name, and talk about who the hell Ben Maidment is.
But he said No. And I was the second choice.
So I had my pint, I said my name, and I get to pretend that I know what I’m doing.