It was A’s fault. He called me over cheerily and introduced me to her, saying we had an interest in Latin in common. I replied with an enthusiastic agreement, although adding that I hadn’t studied it for 35 years and had forgotten most of it. Within moments, I realised that A’s cheerfulness had been at the thought of getting himself out of a situation – that it was at the expense at getting me into it was an unfortunate, but ultimately unimportant, detail.
She said that she was gathering together a group of people with a view to taking Latin classes and was glad of my interest, because I could join them … what day would suit me? It was almost too late to back-pedal, at least to someone who won’t easily take ‘no’ for an answer.
She’s now sent me an application form for the U3A and says that the classes will start in March. Now, it’s true that I like Latin and I’m sorry that I hardly know anything of the language now, but I’m not in tune with her ideas anyway. She said dismissively that she’s not interested in poetry or any other literature, but that grammar is the thing and that’s what we’ll study. Of course, grammar is fundamental to Latin and you won’t get far without it, but it’s a means to an end, surely, not the end in itself.
I want to take clarinet lessons and I’ve started to help in the music department at the high school since I saw her. In fact, I’m doing more altogether at the school now – I’ve reached a stage where I either quit as a governor or do more, because I’ve been coasting for a year or two. I just don’t think I can take on something else, especially not just out of good-nature. She has only got a few people involved, and if one drops out the whole plan may fold – but I can’t help that. In fact, one of the teachers at the school is looking into an online Latin GCSE course, and I’d be more interested in offering to get involved with that if it were to happen.
Maybe I’m being too negative? But I feel pushed and I don’t like that. Oh dear. I’ll have to compose a letter of extrication and explanation.