Okay, this shocked me, so I’m guessing it’ll shock you too.
Two days ago, on September the 25th, I went into a little mini-mart type shop.
Once inside, I was confronted with this:
Can you see what this is? This is a Christmas reindeer. On September the 25th. On SEPTEMBER THE 25TH.
This reindeer was not an isolated reindeer, left over from last year somehow. It was part of a full display – reindeers, Santas, and bells, of two or three different sizes each – a proper let’s-get-everyone-in-the-spirit display. I was appalled. I felt like making a whip out of something-or-other and chasing those capitalist scumbags out of there. How dare they start Christmas now!
(the leaves haven’t started falling yet)
Sometimes you wonder what the world’s coming to, but then you see something that reminds you that there is goodness (and sweetness, and cuteness) in the world. And so I was saved. Ten minutes after being exposed to the Lindt Christmas Collection, I walked past McDonald’s and saw too craggy old men in flat caps sitting glumly in the window eating Happy Meals.
Everything’s alright really.
After a whole week of giving out Metro newspapers on the Jenners corner of St Andrews Square, I feel like I have earned the right to share some of my observations with the world. Here are fifteen:
i. Men take more papers than women.
ii. Women smile more than men.
iii. Ethnic group with the highest uptake ratio: East Asian – about 60% take one.
iv. The sorest part of my body at the end of a morning is my lower back.
v. Names I get called: Pal, Pally, Mate, Chum, Bud, Buddy, Son.
vi. Names I call customers: Sir, Pal, Mate, Love.
vii. You can nearly always tell a ‘taker’ before they give you any physical indication.
viii. The print gets all over your fingers, but washes off easily.
ix. Eastern Europeans are the most polite and cheerful.
x. Hair dye is far more commonplace than I had ever thought (esp. men).
xi. At least 40 people each day will feel moved to give an excuse for not taking a paper, in preference to saying ‘no thanks’ or just ignoring me.
xii. Most common excuse: ‘I just read it on the bus’.
xiii. I give away about 220 papers a day.
xiv. There is a noticeable lull between 09:10 and 09:20.
xv. Three OAPs (two ladies & a gent) meet in Jenners cafe every morning at 9.
If I think of more interesting observations, I’ll let you know …
The night before last, I came up with the last thread of narrative that I needed to patch together the big long monkey of a novel I’ve been writing for the last year, two years, or something, (I don’t really like planning before writing, you see, so that can kind of stitch you up when you need to tie up all the loose ends), and yesterday & today I’ve been putting it down on paper.
The problem is, in a day or two, it’ll be finished, and I don’t really want it to be.
It’s much much nicer to be in progress than to be basically done. Now I’m going to have to think about lots of properly scary things: editing, proof-reading, submissions & publishing. It’s much easier when you’re just scribbling away.
The problem is that I really like the story – I think it’s got some great original concepts in it – and therefore can’t just sit on it. Plus my sister won’t let me – she wants a completed version for her wedding present 🙂
or ‘This is what I do with my time’ …
Tutoring: 3hrs/wk [Religious, Moral & Philosophical Studies Higher]
Gardening: 5hrs/wk [ish]
Newspaper Stand: 15hrs/wk [starts tomorrow – let’s see…]
Home-help: 1-2hrs/wk [ish]
Writing: whenever I’m free [presently working on 3 stories: To Be Born Is To Be Washed Up On An Island, I Met A Man, & Chased By A Lion. Have just finished I Know An Old Lady.]
Dish-washing: 15-20hrs/wk [he says with a glimmer in his eye]
Plus I’m really hoping that Holy Rood High School in Duddingston are going to invite me for an interview about being a Learning Assistant – 14hrs/wk – cos I’d really like to work there …
So now you know.
Now here’s a bit of news that will make us all happy:
Facebook abuse by workers is costing UK companies £132m a day, according to research by Peninsula, the employment law firm.
The research also shows that 233m hours are lost a month due to workers wasting employers’ time on social networking sites such as Facebook. The problem will cost employers £30.8bn per year and is to escalate.
Employers should have clear policies in place that spell out to workers what they can and cannot use the internet for. They need to define what is and what’s not acceptable during working hours. Bosses should continually remind staff that abusing company facilities such as accessing Facebook in company time is simply not tolerated. Repeated abuse may result in the employer taking action whenever anyone oversteps the mark.
The problem is, of course, that we like our friends, but don’t like our jobs (apparently, 21% of the British workforce is unhappy). We need things that are good for our souls, hence ‘social networking’. £30.8 billion is quite a lot, but I don’t think that our whole society will deconstruct because of too much chatting-with-friends. Quite the opposite in fact.
Today (I think) was the first time I’ve made big fat American-style pancakes and they actually WORKED (ie. they were big and fat). These were eaten with loganberries & tayberries (that we picked last week), Toblerone from my mum, and icing suger from Tesco. Those eating were Maria, and my flatmate Clare, and myself.
I was making pancakes (mainly) because today was supposed to have seen me starting work (as a note-taker and general support for a disabled student), but the agency phoned yesterday and called it off, so I am still lacking a ‘main thing’. That’s annoying. But (as my Dad helpfully pointed out the other week, when it was all getting too much for me (again)), my Main Thing in Edinburgh is to support Maria – everything else is kind of an addition.
And I have been supporting her – I present this morning’s pancakes as evidence – so that’s alright.
The awkward thing is that every time I take a look at myself – where I’m going, what my niche might be, where my dreams lie – it has always felt pretty hopeless, since every time I have tried to answer any of those questions (since being in Edinburgh), everything has kind of fallen apart, or got stuck, or whatever. I’m 26, and I’d like to think that I’m going SOMEWHERE, that I have some kind of VALUE or whatever (and am not just sitting around, pretending to be an author and wasting my life), but it seems that the process of ‘doing-something-about-that has basically been put on hold for the last year or whatever.
And you can probably see that it all gets a bit frustrating and I say ‘whatever’ a lot …