Leaning, learning, always learning


I’m inadequate. Yep, I know it’s hard to credit but I am.

And I’m very pleased about that.

I spent years working in a complex and intellectually demanding profession, all the time wondering when they would find me out, call my bluff, see through the thin veneer of certainty that I learnt to portray. I knew that one day my woeful, my chasm deep ignorance would surface and make itself known.

But I have an ego – let’s call him Tarquin because I see him as a primped up, know all dandy who stalks my subconscious telling me I’m better than the lot of you and I shouldn’t waste my breath trying to please or appease you. And Tarquin, if he had his way, would make me swan into meetings or social gatherings, holding forth like a latter day polymath. He knew I knew everything there was to know and that all I didn’t know wasn’t worth knowing. But Tarquin, like many a grumbling former flatmate, is constantly disappointed with me. Because I learnt not to listen to his chipping and chiselling.

I have a lot to learn. That’s the truth. So much that as I grow older it feels like I’ve pulled myself ashore on a little island of knowledge, out of an ocean of ignorance. And having regained my breath I look around and realise my little bit of dry land, my certain knowledge is tiny. Out there, across those turbulent murky seas I can see other little islands, other patches of understanding.  I can vaguely make them out but, as yet I haven’t found the bridges, the causeways to link me to them. So I have to work, to build, to remain open minded. And every time I create a wonky sandbar and go across, all I see is yet another dangerous whirlpool and distant safety.

And this state of being – of grace in many ways, because now I wouldn’t have it any different – provides me with many new horizons (have I beaten this metaphor to death, do you think?).

One such has been to learn a little about autism, living with it. Up until very recently, autism happened to others, or was portrayed on TV and in films. Then I started at a youth club where one  of the groups included youngsters with autism and Asperger’s. And shortly after, through the #1000 voices initiative I met Autism Mom.

autism mom

One comment led to another and before you can say ‘spectrum’ we met in the flesh, when she and her family travelled to London on a long planned vacation. And she asked me to write a guest blog about what I learnt. So I did.

And it’s here.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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20 Responses to Leaning, learning, always learning

  1. Charli Mills says:

    We all have suffering egos, but yours is downright entertaining! Nice lead into your guest blog (I’m headed there next). I learned about Autism and its spectrum through the organic co-op where I worked. Many parents, like Autism Mom, are advocates for others. It’s a loving, supportive community. How wonderful that you met a fellow blogger and her family!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sue Vincent says:

    Superb article, Geoffle.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. gordon759 says:

    To be constantly learning is fun, think how boring it would be to be like Benjamin Jowett, of whom it was said;

    In come I, my name is Jowett
    There’s no knowledge that I don’t know it.
    I am the Master of this College,
    And what I don’t know isn’t knowledge.

    Better to be like Kipling;

    I have six honest serving men.
    Who’ve taught me all I know,
    Their names are What, and Why and When,
    And Where and Who and How.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. roweeee says:

    Great post Geoff and I’ll have to head off to your guest post. My husband have joked about how our son is “often wrong but never in doubt”, which seems to be quite typical of his age group. What we have also found is the more you know, the more you appreciate how little you actually know. My husband is something of an IT network guru but he never calls himself a guru because he realises he still has so much to learn. Our poor beach is plagued by dogwalking erosion experts while the trained engineers from a number of different areas of council are undecided and assessing currents, the beach…a multitude of interactive factors, which are really veryt complex.
    I don’t know if you have ever seen a square with 4 boxes with what you know you know, what you know you don’t know, what you don’t know you know and what you don’t know you don’t know. That last box is the most dangerous or problematic but also the greatest opportunity for growth.
    In terms of intelligence, I’ve actually switched my thinking. I am now thinking that it’s more about asking questions than what we know and that pursuit of knowledge is what creates our greatest thinkers. This actually turns the whole stereotype of the intellectual know-it-all on it’s head and involves more of a thirst for knowledge, the quest, experimentation.
    I have noticed my daughter at age 9 asks questions I’ve never even considered. At age 3 or 4, she asked me how the leaves fall from the tree in Autumn not why. She said later that she already knew why. How is due to the release of a hormone by the tree which in effect snips off the leaves. I never knew.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 3 people

    • TanGental says:

      Hmm, you have made me think about those children questions. They are brilliant in coming at things from a different angle. Even the time, when my wife explained the facts of life to our son ( I know, I know, my job, but hey, it was the right moment). He paused and then asked, ‘But mum, doesn’t it tickle?’ As for the boxes, yes I have heard of that but it always brings to mind Rumsfeld and his known unknowns nonsense so I block it out. Ugh! Thanks for the comment. Time to go and learn more.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. New Journey says:

    What a lovely day and how lucky that the universe brought you all together….

    Liked by 2 people

  6. masgautsen says:

    Sounds like a very good day was had. Interesting to read your point of view in this!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Autism Mom says:

    In case anyone who doesn’t already know was wondering: Geoff is as interesting and fun in person as he is in his blog. He was an intelligent, charming, funny, interesting tour guide and companion, and we are very grateful that we got to meet him and spend a lovely day with him. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip! 😀


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