Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Inbetween Time

The only time you ever have ‘enough time’ is in between things. Such as now - while I lie flatly between duvet and throw - when I am supposed to be packing. An in between state (I am in) because I left work an hour ago to go home to pack for the very long journey tomorrow where we cross continents. Another man I know crosses oceans (going the other way round the globe).

Everyone is on the move again after the roast turkey and stuffing and gravy sandwiches. I lie flatly and think of the beauty of the way - how family will fly up to taunt and tear one down and then shoot up like a distress signal which ends in a glittering shower-burst of light - the winds picked up at night and in the day it was still. 

Orcadian landscapes have a haze they wear; the locals call it the Har. When there is no wind and the sun is lower than you could possibly paint it on the horizon the Har dissipates the sunlight and generously spreads the particles across seas and mounds making everything glow, faintly. When the wind picks up the droplets are blown clear and you’re left with hewn edges. Fragments of rock that were sleepy giants turn in to tablets. There are bird calls everywhere and the sun rises only to set - you’re right there sir - there is a certain timelessness about it all.

When I travel my body puffs up. That is when I travel internationally across time zones; that is when I am not in any time zone. Maybe it’s because the mental state of waiting (for the flight to be over) versus the physical sensation of it being day when it should be night (thus having gained a few hours out of nowhere) creates a physiological contradiction in me that makes me swell. I have no idea but time is tricksy.

And so why is it that I only feel like I have enough time in between things. Like for example, you have a meeting at 3pm but you got out early from the dentist's at 12pm so you have 3 hours to kill - you literally have it in such abundance that you need to get rid of it via murder - poor time. You think we don’t want you when you know all people want is more time, you must get such mixed messages all the time time. It must be the want for something to arrive quicker or last longer that marks the passage of time. Or gives it any meaning at all, otherwise we’d all be here in between states neither waiting nor wanting nor waning. And a warning to all layabouts like me who try to hide from time in between inner and outer layers of bedsheets fully clothed lying really pebble still - we won’t go unnoticed - time will creep up and devour us whole like a crocodile.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Guide Dogs (or things with jobs)

Have you ever had it where you’ve been so hungover that when you put a sweet in your mouth you forget to chew? There’s two older men over there, gentlemen is what I’d describe them as, and one wears a faded navy blue jumper with a muted v-neck and the other wears a maroon jumper rolled up at the sleeves. They look like teddy bears and the blue one is drinking water from the smallest tiniest bottle of water I have ever seen and the maroon one has bitten in to an orange still with its skin on*. Now the carriage fills with the smell of zest and I look around and expect to find more wonder. There was a blind woman with a guide dog at the station. I love guide dogs and all dogs in fact but particularly guide dogs, who have a pretty worthy job and I wonder if a guide dog met a police dog at someone’s Christmas party, would they get on? Would they even acknowledge that they both were canines with important jobs; I wonder what they think of cats. And the guide dog patiently stood head bowed at the foot of the owner (who I am presuming was blind) whilst she intently thumbed through her boarding tickets. One by one. And I thought how would she know which one is outbound and which one’s return? But she did know! And then she went through the big barriers with the dog at her side. And then I thought blind people mustn’t be able to use the self-service checkout tills because you won’t know which buttons to key in for items and so they really can’t get rid of the checkout people. Or the train station guards who sometimes open the barriers for you when you’ve missed a train and so you want to pop back out for a cigarette or to buy a sandwich, and then when you come back they remember you like a doorman at a venue. The other night I couldn’t believe that this doorman at the theatre recognised and remembered me. Admittedly, I have been there a lot but to get that kind of recognition you must be a regular and I don’t think I’ve ever been a regular anywhere. It’s an ambition. I’ve had friends who work in places and so they recognise me, but the reason for the recognition is a preexisting relationship not a relationship built on having the door opened for you multiple times. Wow. It might have been my greatest moment of the month (of November, which was dire but it’s over now so moving up moving on). Finally it’s cold and proper, not muggy and ineffectual. The weather that is. Sticking my finger in to my mouth to try and dislodge a bit of sticky sweet makes me think that this is what it must feel like to wear dentures and not have your own teeth anymore, only gums. That will be a sad day when you can’t chew on sweets and in fact be afraid of them incase you swallow one whole and then sadly, top it. The ticket inspector just called, doing his rounds. Do you think that milkmen still wear the milkman uniforms classically seen on re-runs of old television shows? Because I’m never up early enough to catch the milkman who comes to our door or ever see a milk float, I don’t have any way of checking. I wonder why milkmen had to wear those white uniforms in the first place if they’re just putting bottles on people’s doorsteps. Was it for the guise of hygiene or maybe to remind the people of milk? Who knows. A girl in the seat opposite just fell asleep and lolled her head and then woke up and is now falling back asleep for it to happen again. Trains are fun. Moving scenery is fun. Sweets are fun. Even with a stonking hangover. 

*I think it was to peel it more effectively.