diamond geezer

 Friday, May 17, 2013

I nearly walked to work yesterday. It's Walk To Work Week this week, and I like to play my part. From home to the office is only five and a bit miles, which is perfectly doable, and it's a fascinating walk too. I should have set my alarm an hour earlier, but I didn't think. And then I woke up and the weather was glorious and I wished I had. I considered walking anyway and turning up in the office an hour later than usual, because I'm allowed to do that, which is nice. But instead I jammed myself into a train and arrived the quick way. Lots to do, best not waste time.

I nearly had lunch yesterday. It's the done thing in the middle of the day, and I don't like to starve. Our canteen usually serves up fine food at very reasonable prices, and this saves me having to cook anything at the end of the day. But yesterday they conspired to offer a menu consisting entirely of things I don't like, bar a bowl of semi-acceptable soup, and that didn't seem worth the effort. I know lunch is only a short period out of the working day, and barely a few minutes if you "grab and go", but I gave it a miss. Save half an hour at lunchtime and get home earlier, I thought. Lots to do, best not waste time.

I nearly lost it in the middle of the afternoon. It's not like me. Normally I can juggle several things simultaneously, moving each inexorably closer to completion, but I'm struggling at the moment. There's all the usual work to do, plus a chunk of extra work someone thought we could do as well, and then some. I was trying to keep up with the maelstrom when someone wandered over and interrupted by dumping even more on me, at which point a flurry of meeting requests for October arrived and I almost flipped. I'd liked to have stood up on my chair and yelled, but it's not the done thing in an office, plus it's a swivel chair and I'd have fallen off. Instead I cursed quietly and knuckled back down. Lots to do, best not waste time.

I nearly went home at four o'clock. I do when I can, it's allowed, but ill-advised at times of plenty. It would have been tempting to down tools and leave anyway, but in my experience that only makes the future worse. Instead I continued with tasks one to seven, and the newly arrived task eight, before an email arrived suggesting task nine. Lots to do, best not waste time.

I nearly went home at five o'clock. Staying any later than that is an admission of failure, especially when I'm always one of the first people into the office in the first place. Instead I went and made a cup of tea, in a defeatist manner, as if to confirm to myself that I had no intention of heading home any time soon. And then I returned to my desk to discover task ten, which might not have been urgent but was relatively simple to get out of the way. Lots to do, best not waste time.

I nearly went home at six o'clock. Everybody else seemed to be leaving, or had put their coats on and skedaddled already. It gets easier to work as everyone else goes home - there are far fewer distractions - but that's rarely a good enough reason for staying on. I plugged myself into some music and jigged along to an unexpectedly fine tune, safe in the knowledge that nobody else was watching. I still had a document to check, and a spreadsheet to complete, and a meeting to organise, and some files to transfer, and an email I'd accidentally overlooked earlier. Lots to do, best not waste time.

I nearly went home at seven o'clock. I'm sure I would have done if it had been winter. There's nothing like the onset of darkness outside to hint that it's time to go home. After three hours of night-time I'd have been longing to get out, but evening daylight surreptitiously tempts us to carry on. Seven is also when the cleaners turned up, sensibly avoiding my end of the office until the last few stragglers have left. There was only one other person left by now, and I only noticed him when the lights went out and he stood up and waved his arms around to turn the sensors back on. Lots to do, best not waste time.

I nearly went home at eight o'clock. I was almost done, but there was one last column on a spreadsheet to colour in. It wasn't crucial, but it added quality to a deliverable, and I'd never get it done tomorrow once a avalanche of further 'stuff' arrived. I did that thing where you send your boss an email after eight o'clock in the evening, as if to prove a point, in the hope they'll notice the timestamp. I said hello to the cleaners, because we have that word in common, and because there was nobody else to talk to. And then finally I started shutting down and packing up. Lots done, time not wasted.

I nearly stayed in town and went for a drink. The streets round about were full of people doing just that, indeed looking like they'd been doing that for some considerable time. I could have gone for food somewhere, because I was slightly ravenous by this time. But instead I walked to the nearest station, long after the last free Evening Standard had been dispensed, and headed home. I even got a seat, which is one of the few bonuses of departing work in the middle of the evening. I wandered down Bow Road in wasted daylight, along with E3's other late-at-work stragglers. And I decided no, sorry, I won't be walking to work today either. Lots to do, best not waste time.


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