A few months ago, I met a trader in a funky investment company.
How we met is an amusing story all of its own and not really relevant to Bink’s story. One day, when we need a diversion, I might regale you with it. He makes me laugh a lot... which I admit is not the primary purpose of a trader... but it’s a good start, isn’t it?
The first time I dipped my toe in, I followed Alex’s advice of seven years ago when he first told me about bitcoins: Don’t hand over more than you mind losing, Alex said. So I didn’t.
Next day, my modest sum was half as big again.
Fast forward a few weeks, and my trader insisted I learn how to trade myself.
We’re opening this, he said, and when its value reaches that, I want you to sell it yourself.
EEEK! I said.
(Or words very much to that effect.)
Easy, he said. When it gets to n, you press x.
Fine, I said. Ok, I said.
And watched figures like a hawk for the next week... instead of writing the next novel.
Its value plunged like a hawk, too.
My little investment went whoosh! as if it had seen a mouse in the corn.
My new friend has made a terrible mistake, I thought. Last time he got it right, but not this time...
Which rather surprised me, because he had struck me as pretty smart.
Following week, same hawk, whoosh up again... with a fat rodent in its claws.
Help, help, help.
What was I supposed to do, again?
I pressed x furiously, over and over again. You know, like buying the same product twenty times the first time you shop online because it’s not on your doormat yet.
And the next morning asked if I done it right.
Well, he said.
Good news, he said.
(What I like about my trader is not just his sense of humour. Not just that he seems a complete and utter genius with money… which is kind of what he’s for. But that he is even more insanely optimistic than i am. Maybe this is why he’s so good at his job. It’s certainly why we get on so well.)
The bad news is that you didn’t succeed in selling your trade.
The good news is that it went up more.
Infallible character judgement wins out again. My trader is very clever indeed: he wanted me to learn patience and faith, and that what goes down can bounce back up again.
If you just keep cool and don’t panic.
So now I look at this confusing moving chart thingy every morning, with its incomprehensible blobs and blocks and candles pistoning furiously, and it’s like riding in one of those horribly sickening fairground doo-dahs that churns you up and down and throws you all over the place, and your parents suddenly wish they hadn’t been looking admiringly up at you from the ground...
Oh look: today I can buy my longed-for seaside house!
Oh, whoops: today we’re bankrupt Shaun do you mind if we sell up and are homeless again sorry it seemed such a good idea at the time...
Oh no wait, hang on: now we can buy two seaside houses!
And so it goes. Up and down, up and down. Dead exciting.
And huge fun, because it’s only money.
And because, actually, I have enormous trust in my trader and I can see that, nauseous though the ride is, the trajectory, since we started doing this together, is very much on the up...
A bit like life, as the vicar said.
Or as I said to Shaun, when he stepped on the scales.
That’s amazing, I said. You’ve lost half a stone.
Only today, he said gloomily. Tomorrow it will have gone back up again.
Don’t know if I’ve ever told you what it’s like, living with Shaun. AA Milne wanted to use him as a model for a donkey, but no one would have believed him so he had to opt for something more cheerful.
You want to look at the trajectory, I said pompously.
Just as if I were the vicar-person in this relationship...
So this is what I need to keep telling myself.
Look at the trajectory.
Loving Bink is a lot more nauseous than fairground rides or weight swings during Lent or even oil or gold prices.
I keep saying to myself.
So... she hasn’t been out of bed for a week... Or whatever it is. Rung home. Washed. Opened any letters. Left the house. Last Saturday we spent a lovely evening together… since when she’s ignored all my messages.
But a year ago she was addicted to Lorazepam.
Five years ago she was living with abuse. Couldn’t even speak, when she came home.
Look at the trajectory.
Keep cool. And try not to panic.