Sunday, 21 July 2013

Reasons to be cheerful

I thought I'd have trouble coming up with any kind of blog post that wasn't a rant or grumble about something, and despite mulling the matter over many times during the past week I've had a complete lack of inspiration.
The only thing I might be able to put a positive spin on and maybe get some mileage out of today is the fact that I have the next two weeks off work.
As this coincides with the start of the school holidays there's little need to be getting up so early, but I'm sure I will anyway. When you're so used to being up at quarter past six every day it's hard to make your body adjust to a different schedule. Even when it's getting to the end of my time off work, my brain will still automatically switch to 'ON' mode at 6:15am and start strutting around my skull barking orders to my body, like "Come on get up, you know there's things to do and I'm not going to let you relax until every job is completed, and even then I'll come up with something for you to fret over until bedtime!".
This must be what defines a 'morning person' - someone with a brain that mentally throws a bucket of cold water in your face at some ungodly hour of the morning and demands attention.
The boy on the other hand is definitely a night-owl who needs a pack of wild horses to drag him out of bed in the morning and only seems to come to life right at the end of the day when really he should be going to bed.
 In fact, I've just come up with a motorcycle analogy for this which (if you'll indulge me) sums up the situation. I'm like a big single-cylinder trailie - lots of torque at the start of the rev range to pull away strongly, but as time passes and the revs rise it just runs out of puff. Whereas the boy is more like a highly strung sportsbike - sod all at the bottom end of the rev range where it's hard to get moving, a gradual increase in momentum as the midrange is passed through, and just as you think (with a little disappointment) that's all there is, the powerband comes crashing in with an accompanying relentless surge towards the horizon.
When he gets a bit older he'll be out clubbing at the weekends, getting rat-arsed, and stumbling out of a taxi at 3am with some random tart in tow. In the meantime, I'm tucked up with a last cup of tea and a good book by half past ten at night.
However, with two weeks ahead of me with nothing but a few DIY jobs around the house to keep me busy, I'm actually feeling pretty good. Two weeks not having to cope with the daily commute, deal with demanding researchers, or drive that bloody supersonic wind tunnel. It also means not having to go to Cambridge which is currently under it's annual deluge of tourists - especially the enormous crowds of arrogant bastard Spanish students who clutter the pavements and shops with no regard for anyone but themselves. Fortunately they all carry those brightly coloured language school rucksacks so you can spot them at a reasonable distance, enabling you to either take evasive action or aim for the middle of the pack with the full shoulder-charge, which is really satisfying.
Unfortunately I may have strayed into rant territory there, but the route to positive thinking is a bumpy ill-maintained road with countless potholes to hit along the way. Funnily enough, that sounds like most of the roads in Cambridgeshire......
I may try something different to use my rather excessive quantities of spare time. I've been contemplating having a go at something artistic, which is tough for someone who has shown no artistic talent whatsoever all their life, but given the sort of things that seem to pass for art these days maybe it won't be all that difficult.
I'm tempted by metal sculpture of some description as it involves materials and processes that I'm familiar with already. Unfortunately, my first attempt resulted in slicing my thumb open on a piece of freshly guillotined sheet steel (my own stupid fault - should know to wear gloves after all these years), so I thought I'd have a go at drawing instead while I tried to regain my enthusiasm.
So I bought a drawing pad, a couple of soft graphite pencils and a charcoal pencil, and plonked myself in the garden yesterday to see what would happen. The result was predictably a complete mess, but at least it was a mess that kept me calm and occupied for a good couple of hours with the only interruption being a big fat wood pigeon that needed to be shot for this morning's breakfast, fried in a pan with onion, garlic, herbs and potato, and accompanied by a large mug of Assam tea.
I'll keep trying with the drawing thing, going out for a walk a few places to find something more interesting to put on paper, but if yesterday's attempt is anything to go by I think I'll be fighting a losing battle.
However it goes, I'm not giving up. I haven't played on the Xbox for a long time now and I can't imagine how bored I'd need to be before I'd resort to dragging it out of the cupboard now. And as I no longer need to spend time researching and fretting over my transport situation, even the internet holds little for me apart from acting as the world's greatest time-sink. I'm desperately trying to reverse the trend that has taken hold over the years of spending increasing amounts of time staring at a screen for one reason or another, and the more activities I find that don't involve a screen the more contented and happier I become. It's possible that de-screening my life could be the answer to many of my angry and depressive tendencies, and if I uncover more evidence of this then perhaps I might find that the unkempt road to positive thinking has a freshly laid motorway running parallel to it.