Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Day in My Life

I wake to the naff tinny jazz imitation tune blasting out always slightly too loud from my phone as the little screen lights up with the words “Do Achilles Exercises You Lazy Turd!” Its 9:45am. I levy the forces, enlist all my muscles and haul my mass up into a sitting position. Five minutes of strange and tedious toe wriggling exercises follow by which time my brain has had some time to think over the day ahead. As I get dressed I turn the computer on and encourage it to play me a random selection of music from my digital collection. Collecting my books and papers together I stuff them all in my backpack and go downstairs to make the porridge. Four minutes and twenty seconds as the microwave hums I lean forward against the worktop to stretch my calf muscles, another physiotherapeutic necessity. The microwave bleats and I grab my steaming porridge and run upstairs where my music warbles from the little laptop speakers. I eat in front of the laptop, looking things up on my digital Britannica (the closest thing I have to the internet), writing things like this, perusing my music and just generally computing. This lasts an hour or sometimes much less. Then I’m out of the house and walking up the hill, beatboxing quietly to myself, since my ipod broke. Twenty minutes up hill and I arrive at the prodigious Hartley Library.

My first port of call is usually the computer rooms to check and reply to my emails and perhaps post a blog. An hour slips past much too fast and I begin to feel guilty as there important work to be done. Logging off I make my way up to the fourth floor to the Turner Sims reading room where the English literature is housed. I usually sit by Henry James though sometimes I sit near Hemingway if the sun is flooding in the window nicely. I begin work and my head is down for an hour or so before my first break. I give myself twenty minutes break every hour. In my breaks I usually sit on the floor in the foyer with Ashley who is working somewhere nearby (often in the German literature section, he likes to sit by Brecht or Rilke). I Ashley is not around or we somehow fail to synchronise our breaks then I leave the library and cross the road to the student shop where I abuse their negligence and stand for the full twenty minutes reading a skateboarding magazine which I have no intention of buying. If the magazines are all familiar I return to the library and roam the Russian literature shelves, popping into books about Gogol or Tolstoy and glancing at quotes or illustrations; or perhaps the literary theory isles, or the French literature section, whatever. It strikes me that I never ever see anyone else doing this. There are hundreds of thousands of books at our disposal; we can even take them home if we want! But the only people I see in amongst the book are scanning the Dewey codes on the spines of the books, looking for a book they are obliged to read for their course, a scrap of paper in their hand with their desired code.

Anyway I work like this, taking breaks at regular intervals, eating lunch somewhere in there, until I’m so fatigued as to struggle to discern the words in front of me. It’s probably about six o’clock by then. On my way out I usually pop into a computer room and have one last taste of the Internet. I walk down the hill beat boxing much louder than I dared on the way. Its something about working all day in the library, when I come out I feel so energised, I want to run, jump and dance. One the way home I go to the newsagent and buy a Starbar, my favourite peanut and caramel filled chocolate confection. When I arrive home Andy is usually in the kitchen cooking something and a glorious smell arrests my nose on the threshold. I join him in the kitchen and try my best to emulate his splendid aromatic creations. The radio on BBC 6 we sit and eat together.

As the kettle boils for his after dinner tea Andy informs me that he has to go upstairs and do some more work. Off he goes and I do a bit of washing up before going up stairs myself. Depending on how I feel at this point I either read a book or an old newspaper (I never manage to read the paper the day I buy it), watch a DVD on my computer, write something, play my keyboard, or look up words in the dictionary and write out their definitions neatly on sheet of paper to adorn the walls. At nine o’clock my alarm goes off again with the same message “Do Achilles Exercises You Lazy Turd!” Putting some music on, I obey.

At about ten o’clock or so Andy comes and knocks on my door to hang out, having finished or needing a break from work. This usually involves practicing to spin his basketball on his finger in my room. I join him in this endeavour with my own basketball. This goes on for half an hour or so and then we sometimes walk down to the shop together and buy a couple of cans of beer. When we return, if Andy doesn’t feel the need to work anymore, we watch an episode of The Mighty Boosh, Darkplace or perhaps some other comedy DVD. At around midnight we brush our teeth in the strange double sink of the bathroom, bid each otter good night and retire to our rooms to read. By one o’clock my eyes refuse to stay open any longer and unless the book I’m reading is really gripping I set it aside, turn off bedside reading lamp and slide down into decumbency.

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