The days and nights have begun to run into each other, a continuous week-long loop, which nothing seems to relieve.
internal mood: grouchy, which I occasionally allow to break through
to the surface, particularly during my alone moments, though it also
occurs to a lesser degree when outside surrounded by seemingly busier
these busy people? Those giving the distinct impression they are
leading important, time-poor, possibly more fulfilling lives with
partners, children, ageing parents, colleagues, pets etcetera,
depending on them and so everything has to be done at a pace that is
just short of breath, just short of running.
there are those, two or possibly three generations above me, who find
this bustling presence of others, huffing and puffing, annoying.
True, they can irritate too with their dithering and aisle blocking,
which makes puffers lose their patience and shove their way to
wherever they want to get to with no 'Excuse me' or any sort of
rushed apology for they just don't have the breath, the time, or the
patience, so that those purpose-driven to go out to break up their
day are driven indoors to escape these hordes to listen instead to
the tick-tick of their living room clock.
group will stop, somewhat, sometime after the clock has struck noon.
The lunch routine, whatever that is, kicking in, as if indeed
something has prodded their bellies into action, then followed by
those afternoon hours that usually lag until dinner. All in that
interim feel sleepy, regardless of where they might be sitting; some
starve it off with caffeine or sugar, others let it gradually take
them. A few hours lost is neither here or there, and those that can
be lost might as well be pleasantly spent.
caffeine and sugar-fuelled tap keys, try to focus on the screen that
blinks before them as if willing them to surrender. Their working
pace a little slowed now the morning rush is over and lunch has come
and gone. Yet whilst on this downward slope to the home bell, the one
that chimes in everyone's head as they near the point of their
departure, their flagging energies suddenly revive. Two hours left.
One hour left. Half an hour. Fifteen minutes. The brain circuitry
lights up, activity surges in coordinated strategies from the head to
the mouth and fingers. Phone calls and e-mails are rapidly fired off,
the machine the intermediary in this system of work-in, work-out.
Desks tidied, programs shut down, bags packed, coats gathered. A last
minute check for keys, Oyster cards and travel tickets, then a quick
walk to the car or a jog to the station.
Squashed with others on a bus, tube or train, MOVE DOWN, MOVE DOWN,
as more push on, force the doors just as they close, or dispiritedly
chase after the bus as it pulls away from the kerb and then mutter
obscenities as they trudge back to the shelter. Motorists, bumper to
bumper, enviously note each cyclist that whizzes by and curses them,
as if they were sticking pins in dolls, and then tries to edge ahead
or change lanes in the false notion that it will get them to their
destination faster, which might not be home but the gym.
where again they will run, only stationary, or step up a hill, or
attempt to ski a couple of inches above a carpeted floor. Maybe
they'll swim where at least real water's involved, or take part in a
sweat-inducing or stretching class where the mind has to engage
somewhat so as to scrutinise the placement of the instructor's arms
and feet or pedal furiously to the frenzied beats, before towelling
the equipment and/or themselves, showering and finally freeing the
pangs of hunger they held at bay.
home, these divergent groups again conjoin, though one is heading
towards bed, rather than dinner, microwave or take-out, in front of
another, possibly larger, flickering screen. The same nightly
routine, but one set slightly in front and one behind, still on
differing time. Each wanting the fast or slow rhythm the other has
got, yet one will pretend they don't want to be young again and the
other won't admit they want to be old.
Picture credit: Sour Grapes, 1910, William Heath Robinson