Monday, 22 July 2013

Summer days

Long, long days, long days with early starts, days filled with hours and minutes and light and warmth, hours all of which go by without anything ever being achieved. The long sessions at the computer, trying to force my eyes down and bring my mind back to an article full of long words and convoluted, BORING sentences, so I can write about it in my ‘Introduction’ (and the mind keeps wandering off hopelessly). The long intervals away from the computer, wandering around the apartment unable to remember the fact that the only reason you went to the living room was to fetch your computer keyboard to help you write; you were not there to wander round looking at things on the shelves, nor were you, under any circumstances, supposed to be watering plants or wiping away at the crusty surface of the table.

The slow suffering. I want to get on with it, but my mind screams with resistance.

The envious, sidelong glances at the sink half-full of dishes; oh, how enticing they look right now. God, I could wash dishes all day long. The temptation to scrub the kitchen floor. The almost irresistible attraction of the fridge that needs defrosting. I sweep up the crumbs off the floor half-heartedly, pretending I'm not really there.

The temptation to just sack it off, and go outside into the world and just spend the afternoon at a swimming pool. The steeling of the will and the deciding not to. The regret, afterwards: I haven’t been productive anyway, so might as well have gone out/ gone to relax in a pub garden/ sit by the pool/ gone for a walk/ gone to the shops/ ANYTHING…

Sometimes there is the odd bit of unprecedented joy, such as when the man from Sainsbury’s arrives, giving you the excuse to a) put on a shirt, b) talk nicely to a human being and be charming, and c) drop work and arrange tins of beans in the kitchen cupboard.

There are positive sides to my day, too, you know. The possibility of discarding clothes whenever it gets a bit hot. (how will I cope in an office one day, where presumably I won’t be allowed to just get my top off  every time it’s a bit hot outside?... finding seasonal work as a life model, or life guard, might have to be the solution.) The possibility of eating biscuits, or having naps, every time one is tired, or just fancies a break.

But I don’t want naps. I don’t want treats. I just want to FINISH THIS, and then get the hell out of here. I want a holiday. I bet I won’t get one at this rate, though. I bet I’ll be stuck here in front of this computer screen and working on this dismal PhD project until the cows come home. And when the cows do come home/ my final deadline passes, I will need a job. I can’t live off my savings, supplemented with a bit of teaching here and there, forever. I hate this. I hate these days of half-arsed concentration, of boredom, of never quite getting around to doing enough, of not really being productive and therefore not feeling like I should be allowed to stop. I WANT TO WORK FROM NINE TIL TWO and then get out of here and DO OTHER THINGS. Why do I seem to keep sabotaging this wonderful plan?... why?...

Too many posts today (three in one day, that’s too many), I think this means one thing: I CAN’T CONCENTRATE ANYMORE. 


  1. I just came across your blog during one of my endless surfing-the-web sessions while I should actually be writing my PhD thesis and all I can think is: OH MY GOD. ARE YOU ME?

    1. mwahahahaha.... maybe i AM you, and you are me... oh God, we both clearly have far too much unstructured time on our hands. Get off this blog now and go write a small bit of your PhD for ten minutes without stopping. (by the way, thanks for commenting, this really means a lot.) X

    2. I can't go off your blog now. I first have to read all the other comments below. And after that maybe some more of your (or mine?) blogposts.

      It is however nice to know that I am not the only one suffering (unless you ARE me, then I am still alone).

  2. Thanks for writing this blog update, it matches exactly what I have been going through recently (as has your whole blog) :) Just thought I would share today experience when I was going to finish off my results section, including formatting and making the graphs look good etc. This is however done with a lot of procrastinating on my part, not quite able to concentrate, part of the problem being that I keep finding problems in the code and so I keep having to re-do results.

    Today my procrastination took the form of cleaning the stain on our carpet in the hallway, possibly red wine or that odd pink punch made at New Year. Immense satisfaction at a non-stained carpet soon turned to a quandary. The area that I had cleaned up was now noticeably cleaner than the rest of the carpet around it. Trying very hard at the moment to convince myself that there is no good going to come of me cleaning the entire hall carpet.....

    1. AAaagh!... I saw this comment on my phone and I had unfortunately already locked myself away in a place with crappy internet (to do some PhD), so could not reply. I wanted to rush to the nearest functioning computer and say: STEP AWAY FROM THE DIRTY CARPET, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!... Either walk over the clean patch several times in your wellies, or else wait for a housemate or lover to eventually notice it and get cleaning. it might take them a while, but they'll do it, I promise. If you can't stand the thought of not cleaning it, write it down on a 'wish list' and promise yourself that you get to do it as soon as you've finished your task for the day/ as soon as it's 4 pm (also put on wish list other things you fancy doing: make coffee, go swimming, go for a walk.) Promise yourself that you're allowed to do it after your working day is over, as a special treat. This might have the effect of making that task sound a lot less desirable once you're done working for the day... :)

      (my procrastination that day: washed bedsheets, washed dishes, spent half-hour tidying belongings as I tried to settle down. But I DID get down to work eventually. Woohoo!)

      Whenever you want to do a task that involves scrubbing or cleaning: please think of me, think of my poor worn-out wrists, which I wrecked precisely by doing pointless cleaning tasks like that, and which now have to last me til the end of summer, and beyond (seeing as the world's economy seems based on two things - lifting things and typing - I fear for my broken wrists when I get a job, I do...) Do not end up like me. Do not clean the house. I wish you a dirty and happy life.

    2. ps did I mention your comment made me laugh and made me very happy?... Thanks for stopping by!... :)