Tuesday, April 12, 2016

How to fill time when you are really trying

There was a time when, if I had to wait for something, I would have a book with me and I would read.  It’s not rocket science.  A simple activity with built in cultural kudos.  But now.  Now things are different.

Having forgotten about the service for my car once, I took extreme measures (well I set the alarm) to make sure that I took the thing this time.  A very discrete alarm did go off and I found myself up and doing with enough time not to complete the quick crossword in the Guardian.

And now, I am stuck in Gava for two and a half hours while my car is done.

Luckily, there is a major shopping centre within walking distance of the garage where my car is being done and you would have thought that somebody with the mother-shopping training that I have had would find it easy to wander around picking up spoons that I have not intention of buying and ogling the piece of technology that I have to stop myself buying.  But no, shops are not enough!

I never thought that the day would dawn when I said something like that last statement.  My mother must feel that all her schemes of getting me to like shopping as much as my father hated it – like always meeting me in the Wedgewood Room of Howells and then asking my opinion on various suites of glass and china – have come to nothing!  That a child of hers could possibly find shops boring, or at least inadequate!  The shame of it.

But I came prepared.  No books: but a smartphone, iPad and MacBook Air.  Now you might feel that there comes a point where one is a little over-technified for a wait which is of such a short duration.  But I have been sitting here for at least three hours and only 40 mins have gone by!  So I have decided to write.

I do feel a little ostentatious sitting in the walkway, promenade, paseo, concourse (I knew the word would come to me if I exhausted all the other synonyms) but not as ostentatious as I would have felt a few years ago.  After all, how long have portable computers, the laptop (an apt description at the moment because all I have is a chair and no table) been with us.  A frighteningly short period of time for the universal adoption.  Now it is an everyday sight to see people tapping away in all of the most odd places.  And so am I.

Yet more time has gone by and I am still more than an hour and a half away from the car being ready.  I know that I should be reading, but I feel like being a little more active and so I am typing.  Though whether this is a more productive activity is moot!

Talking of activity, I am now going through the oh-god-what-have-I-left-out-of-the-essayI-have-just-sent-in syndrome, which is normal and natural for all students of the Open University once the TMA has been thrown (electronically) at the tutor.

There is a sense of melancholy loss on the forums, where people who have been working at their degrees for umpteen years now realise that they have completed their last tutor essay and that in a matter of months their years of study will be at an end.  A degree certificate is poor recompense for the loss of the welcome stress that doing a degree at a distance gives you.  Rather than being gleeful that the end result is within reach, people are sad that one of the ways in which they have regulated their lives will be taken away.  As I have been ‘doing’ my degree since the 1970s (admittedly there is a thirty year gap in my study!) I am in a different sort of position, but I do agree that it is a very odd feeling.

And I have to start packing!

The day after tomorrow I am going to Cardiff.  An aunt of mine has died and I am going to the funeral.  It is a melancholy thought that, of all my uncles and aunts there is now only one left.  It does remind you that my generation is the next in line!  These occasions are virtually the only time that I get to see any members of my family – but that comes with living abroad.

I hate packing with a totally unreasonably high level of detestation.  This time I don’t even have to do that much, but, however small the effort – I resent it.  And the suit.  My all-purpose suit is not as smart as it once was and so as fitting, in all senses of the word.  I might attempt to buy a new suit when I am in the UK as clothing is usually cheaper there than it is here, but alas, I am no long an off-the-peg size and so I have to factor in adjustments and I’m sure that those can not be done in the limited time that I am there.  But, I have plans and it will be interesting to see if they come to anything like fruition! 

It’s at times like these that I think of Paul Squared who has probably already packed his case for his holiday in May.  Try as I might I can imagine no change to my essential character that would allow me even to consider doing something like that

There is now an hour to go before my car is supposed to be ready.  I wish I could believe that it will be waiting for me when I return to the garage, but past experience does not make me feel jocose.

Well time for a wander.  Tea, shops, lottery ticket and toilet.  That should take up some time!
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