Thursday, 30 September 2010

Work in progress

Right, I could make excuses or apologies or feel awkward or whatever, but I shan't. The title of the post says enough anyway, so I'll just hit "publish" and go and hide in a corner.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Oil and water

I was once in the middle of a very intense conversation with a fellow student at art college. This is going back a while, I don't remember what the conversation was about (it's beside the point at any rate), but I do remember that we were both drinking lots of coffee whilst we wittered on.

Come the eventual reflective pause, we each of us realised that we'd had far too much coffee and were highly-strung, fraught and a bit shaky.

We decided that the antidote lay within the confines of the nearest pub, and trotted over there as fast as our chemically-boosted metabolisms would allow. Which was pretty fast, in fact.

Two or three pints later we were much calmer, more settled, feeling like we'd achieved a sense of parity through countering the intake of stimulants with those of depressants. We returned to college, and I recall having a lengthy conversation with another fellow student. I felt lucid and level.

When I bumped into this latter student the following day, she asked if I was ok. I wondered why she needed to ask, and she said that I'd seemed a little odd during our conversation the day before. I mentioned to her that we'd had our chat after I'd had lots of coffee then some beer.

Ah, that actually makes sense then she said, laughing. She explained that half the time whilst talking to her, I'd appeared very taut and tense in my body movements and general demeanour, whilst my words were issuing forth in a slightly unfocussed and slurry way.

Conversely, the rest of the time, I was speaking quickly and a little forcefully, whilst my body movements were loose and languid.

Clearly, the beer and coffee didn't mix in quite the way I'd perceived.

I mention this now because my working days are split, and have been for some months. The split seems to be getting wider. Mornings now feel like drudgery and tedium to a large degree, and leave me feeling flat and introverted by the middle of the day.

Afternoons (in which I spend my time helping to facilitate creative group work) are nourishing and sustaining, and that feels like an understatement.

I've become aware that for the first hour or so of the afternoon, however, I hardly talk to anyone, keep myself in the background, don't wish to engage. As time wears on during the afternoon I feel like I regain my life and confidence and can take a leading role in the group, advising, encouraging and motivating others.

That first hour in the afternoon bothers me. I know that it's about the transition from one role and the place I occupy within it, to a very different one. But it seems more prominent now, and feels as though the distinction between the two roles is getting harder to manage. I hope this situation doesn't last.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Cigarettes and piss

My stat counter is down, and blogger seems to want to randomly announce "service unavailable" as though it's just joined a Union or something.

Anyway, I'm rather pleased with myself this evening. There's a melody which has been going through my head today - quite an insidious thing it is, perhaps rather cheesy too..but I wouldn't really know, I can't quite objectify it - and I've managed to remember it long enough to be able to record it along with an accompanying chord progression (well, there are three chords).

The reason I'm so pleased is that there have been several previous times that I've had this particular melody going through my head, and I've thought to myself oh, I'll remember that easily enough. Guess what - each previous time, I've forgotten it, I'm not sure how. It came back into my head today, for the first time in months. Yes, this is one of those which has been nagging away at me for years - perhaps three or four years - and I've finally nailed it.

Where I take it from here, I'm not sure - but at least it's there, recorded, tangible and accessible, and I can at least take it somewhere.

Conversely, after a weekend away in beautiful scenery in mid-Wales, I have many photographs I would like to post up here. I can't, however, because they're all in my head: I was hurtling around on a mountain bike and capturing the views with a camera just wouldn't have been very wise from the point of view of my health and safety.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Tired but not quite so grumpy.


(Just felt I should get the formalities out of the way first)

It's been a long week, and much treacle has been waded through. It's been, to borrow someone else's sense of the grandiose, a journey.

It's about an hour ago that I finished my last work appointment of the day, and stood at a bus stop in a less-than-salubrious part of town, eager to put work behind me and to contemplate some level of relaxation or enjoyment or some equally strange notion.

Rush hour was starting to hit full flow, and in the traffic queue on the other side of the road was a sleek black car containing a young, streetwise-looking driver and (presumably) his girlfriend. They had their windows closed but the sound system was pumping out a sufficient amount of decibels that I could hear the music well enough.

Loud music it was, and this young couple were nodding their heads back and forth in time to its relentless onslaught.

I wouldn't normally take any especial notice of this. It's hardly a rare occurrence on the city streets these days.

However, what they were churning out over the speakers was orchestral music. Really rousing, stirring, Last-Night-of-the-Proms stuff. It really made me smile, and they were clearly loving it. They spotted me and I grinned and put my thumbs up, so they wound the window down to allow me further appreciation of it, grinning back at me as they did.

A minute or two later they were off, the traffic queue finally moving on. But it was just one of those nice and unexpected little moments, and it seemed to mark in clear terms that work was over and that the weekend had begun.

It's not all grumpiness round these parts.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Contains more grumpiness

Following on from my previous post, I may as well carry on in a similar vein.

I'm utterly sick of people who walk right across your path like you're not there. It's ignorant and annoying in the extreme. You're walking along and you notice someone in the periphery of your vision, entering your personal space and then straight in front of you even though - you would have thought - they damn well know that you're there, and that you'll have to stop abruptly to avoid bumping into them and tearing a few strips of skin off their heels.

Well, when that happens, I don't stop anymore. If they won't show me the courtesy of at least acknowledging that I'm there, then I'm tired of extending that courtesy to them in return.

It happened a couple of days ago. Somebody approaching from my left and, rather than wait a moment until I was gone, this guy just walked right across my feet.

I don't actually like confrontation (no, honestly I don't), but I carried on, and walked right into his heels.

He turned around, and it was hard to read the tone of his voice when he said, are you alright?

So I just said, you walked right across me. Watch where you're going, please.

I held his gaze and he turned and carried on. And so did I, after a moment, in the direction I'd been walking before I'd been so rudely interrupted.

Actually what's triggered off my posting about such further grumpiness is a very highly petty thing which happened just now in the supermarket. I was just in the middle of putting my shopping on the conveyor belt at the checkout, when the lady queuing behind me took it upon herself to take one of the dividers that you put down between your shopping and the next person, and to put it down next to my items before I'd actually finished.

Yes, I might be veering into sheer pettiness here but I thought that was a little presumptious - if not downright discourteous - of her, so I took the divider off and put it back where it was, until I'd put the rest of my shopping down.

I think she got the message, standing back until I'd made it clear I'd finished.

...and relax, breathe out, it's the weekend.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Contra Indications

I was crossing a busy road this morning, half-hoping I could jump on the bus that had just pulled up to the stop on the opposite side. Looking to my right, I noted that it was safe to cross, since both cars that were advancing from that direction were indicating to turn left at the junction, way before they got near to me.

I'd looked two or three times - clear. I took a step out, then a second step, then suddenly was startled when I heard the loud beep of a car horn from the right hand side. There was one of the aforementioned vehicles, driver gesticulating furiously, presumably wondering as to why I was stepping out in front of him.

He was still indicating left, despite having passed the junction. I gesticulated furiously back, pointing at his indicators and shouting words to the effect that they were to show where he was going, not where he wasn't (I was quietly grateful for the fact that he'd sounded his horn correctly, so as to avoid causing me serious injury or worse).

Later this afternoon, I was crossing a wide junction on a very quiet stretch of road, doubly cautious now. Just as well then that I'd spotted the car coming in the opposite direction, the driver of which decided he would show me the courtesy of using his indicators after he'd actually started turning.


So I decided I wouldn't rush across this particular road, he would have to wait given that he hadn't made his intentions clear.

This on the same day that I got a call on my mobile purporting to be from my bank (like hell was it - they'll have to try harder than that to scam me), and, on my landline, another of those irritating, automated "free messages" from some company or another - I couldn't say who or what, since I'd slammed the receiver down long before the recorded voice could get any further.

What's even more irritating, however, is that if you pick up your handset before the message has finished, it's still there burbling away and you can't use your phone until it's reached the end.

Right, that's one or two annoyances dealt with. Time to relax, if such a thing isn't too far beyond the realms of possibility.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Why I like cycling (3)

Cycling has been a constant since I was able to take it up again in earnest at the start of April - certainly, it's felt like the one constant. Good things and bad things and all sorts of things inbetween have happened during this time, but there's been a definite sense of very destabilising upheaval (if that's not overly tautological).

The weather has been so good these last few days that I've been anxious to get back on the bike as soon as the circumstances allowed. I hadn't been out for a spin for a couple of weeks, until just now.

I set to it with sheer glee, and after a certain spell of time, felt that sense of mood enhancement and the rest of it can all go to hell that often results. Helped by being out of the city and in pleasant scenery.

I feel better for it.