This post began life as a rant about trendy bars and their associated overpriced, yet inconsistent, beverages. I find a cocktail I actually like, I order it again minutes later (they’re easy-drinking are cocktails: don’t judge me) from the same bar, and it tastes completely different. Now that simply doesn’t happen with a trusty pint of ale. I also have no patience whatsoever for their ridiculously miniature morsels of food. It is seldom I desire to consume a lukewarm baby burger platter, as cute and original as you may believe it to be. It is a fact of scientific origin that things stay warmer when they are not chopped up into little pieces and arranged artistically across a plate. Or a slate. Or a rectangular wooden board. Equally, I am loath to order a snack described as ‘twice-cooked artisan potato chips’, as I have my (not unfounded) suspicions that I will be presented with a plate consisting of twelve angular chips piled up in the manner of a game of Jenga (knowing without a shadow of a doubt that a grubby-nailed kitchen porter has the unenviable task of assembling every greasy tower). This wannabe-creative carb-fest doesn’t even come with ketchup – sorry, but your homemade organic tomato relish simply isn’t going to cut it.
Anyway, I got a bit tired of this topic and my trendy-bar related grievance somehow evolved into a complaint relating to those annoying individuals who insist upon turning up at one’s door unannounced (I wrote 500 words before realising I had exhausted the subject, then spend another hour or two perusing the world wide web for related images). It is only now, after deciding that it’s about time I attacked that drawer of doom (the storage place of about 6 years worth of bank statements, phone bills, old postcards, out-of-date cheques, expired special-offer coupons, loose photographs, etc.), that I finally feel I might actually get somewhere if I change the subject yet again…to THE DUBIOUS POWERS OF PROCRASTINATION.
Okay, I lied, I don’t have one drawer of junk; I actually have three (four is you count the small one in the coffee table) and the BF has decided he wants to use one of them to store his ridiculously neatly filed, accurately alphabetised (one might say anally so,) paperwork. He’s putting pressure on me to clear one out for him, and I’m under strict instructions NOT to merely empty the contents into a carrier bag (those Bag For Life ones are ideal), place it on top of the wardrobe where it’s out of sight, and promptly forget about it…
Really, I need to find myself another dissertation to write. Last year, as my submittal date loomed ever closer, I suddenly became most gifted in those previously neglected arts of organisation and alphabetisation. What’s more, those perfectly ordered CDs were – for the first time in living memory – residing within the correct boxes! No more locating a box, opening it to find a completely unrelated CD within, locating that box, in the vain hope that they were merely swapped over, finding another CD in the second box, hunting for that related case, finding it eventually lodged amongst the DVDs, opening the box… ad infinitum. One downside to this uncharacteristic organisation was the fact that when it came to planning my playlist for the day of study ahead, it was no longer the lovely time-consuming, dissertation-delaying task of yore. Clearly this gift of time was put to good use and many a happy hour was spent comparing albums on Amazon, listening to tracks on Youtube, and not feeling guilty at all, as this was time I had effectively saved. ‘Free time’ in the truest sense.
I look back on my Undergrad days and wonder how on earth I managed when I had neither a Facebook nor a Twitter account to distract me, and I suspect that the answer lies solidly at the feet of the Student Union Bar. It was entirely possible to spend (lose) a fair few hours of one’s life when a vodka and coke was only 50p… I also still have in my possession a cassette aptly named ‘The Flat Tape’ which is a collection of songs compiled by my 1st year flatmates and myself to reflect our year of drunken debauchery in our student dwelling. I can’t quite remember – this was way back in the dim and distant days of the cassette tape – but I suspect that the amount of time we spent putting together this piece of musical genius was directly proportional to the imminency of our exams… Back in those days before Facebook, I also once took it upon myself to write an essay for a flatmate (who was enrolled in an entirely different faculty, incidentally), on the basis that her essay question was infinitely more interesting than the options available to me if I were to adhere to my own impending deadline.
Some things never change; fifteen years later and I could be found surrounded by articles but composing letters of complaint to Vodaphone the week my Masters dissertation was due to be submitted. Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator, it would seem… In the weeks running up to the deadline, I do not think my house had ever been cleaner, my cupboards better stocked or my laundry basket emptier. In addition to this, the gym was no longer my nemesis – when compared to the prospect of actually getting a chapter down on paper, the lure of the gym could not be competed with. I was probably healthier than I had been in years (pausing often in my reading to cook a well-balanced, from-scratch meal… firstly popping to the shops, of course, for some well-earned fresh air and a pack of tasty mackerel – they say it’s brain food, don’t ya know! While I’m there I’ll also choose some special loose tea for that fancy teapot I never normally use as it’s so footery and time-consuming to clean… And I should probably pick up some stain remover so that I can have a go at that eyeliner stain on the bedroom carpet; been meaning to do that for a while…)
I would say it’s a miracle that I submitted it on time, however, the truth be told, I knew all along that I would. As much as I regularly spend hours gazing forlornly at a screen, berating myself over the fact that I am no further forward with the task at hand (whether that be the aforementioned dissertation, a job application, a speech I promised to deliver at tomorrow’s wedding, or that letter to my Gran which I told her I posted yesterday), I know that I will get there in the end – I just need to be put under a wee bit of pressure!
Earlier this month I made a trip to the dentist – a mere 7 years after my last visit. This delay was not due to any sort of irrational dentist-related fear. No, despite that nagging feeling of incompetence every time I passed a sign saying ‘Taking on new NHS patients here’, I merely never got around to the tedious task of finding a dentist and making an appointment. What eventually spurred me on wasn’t an attack of toothache (or even one of guilt – my parents took me to the dentist religiously for the first 18 years of my life and here I was wasting all their good work and letting my teeth rot away for years between appointments…) No, what made me bite that proverbial bullet and make an appointment was the fact that I’d written an all-encompassing ‘To Do’ list and the dentist was a marginally more enticing prospect than either digging that massive flowerbed in the garden (the one I’ve been meaning to get started on since April), or listing that pile of pub paraphernalia I rescued from the refuse and had intended to sell on Ebay (the pile that’s currently residing within another Bag for Life…).
I think it’s fair to say that I am never going to change so I am about to put an order in for this book (well, just as soon as I’ve checked my email and made myself a cup of tea).