Friday, July 25, 2008

Stream of Semi-Consciousness

The day commences with a game of Morning Maths. ("Five more minutes if I don't have breakfast... an extra four if I have just a really short, ineffectual shower... add three if I don't brush my hair out all the way to the end...") Much subsequent rushing around dropping things. Then comes some idle tube-staring before I sink wearily down at my grey temp desk to switch on my computer and wonder what I am doing with my life.

My temp job is kitten-flayingly dull. There is a button to my right. When the button emits a buzz I must press it. I am not, as you might well immediately assume, taking part in some elaborate Pavlovian experiment. I know this because even though I do press the buzzer-button when it button-buzzes, nobody ever gives me food as a reward. Instead a door opens, and through that door some faceless worker strides, shuffles, meanders, creeps. Sometimes they say hello, sometimes not. Mostly they stare importantly over my head as I look at them with powers of judgement reserved only for those who have little else to do but make assumptions about people purely based on the pattern of their tie. In the kitchen the coffee tastes like it has already been drunk. The lights over my head hum relentlessly, every so often winking laciviously like parodical whores. I turn my head to the right and stare at a broken tile of sky that glints between the identi-kit grey monoliths littering the surrounding streets.

Today I am wearing a red dress. I smile at everyone who walks past regardless of whether they themselves smile at me. I treated myself to a soy-milk cappuccino this morning from the vegetarian shop round the corner. (I like the man in there, he is friendly and always asks me how the DJ-ing is going. The first few times I corrected him and told him that no, it is singing, but now I just go along with his wrong conclusion. I picture myself on the decks in Hoxton Square wearing some large sunglasses and a quirky hat and tell him that it's going very well, thank you.) I like some people in this office, I dislike others. I enjoy launching myself into office small talk, energetically discussing the weather and heartily heaping disdain upon the efficacy of the Northern Line. I like wondering about the bicyle couriers, who stride into the building with their small shoes and rope-like muscles, dusty and glazed from London's sepia streets. I do not like the post man, who I know for a fact spread rumours about me when I first started working here. Upon his loping entrance my smile wilts. People send around unamusing and often borderline bigoted viral emails, calling them "funnies". These make me want to eat my own head. People dissect the office politics, shaking their heads and whispering in angry, conspiratorial tones. I have seen so many identical scenes in every single office I have worked in and so I cannot take them seriously. I hate the man who stares at my breasts when I he speaks to me, primarily because he does not realize he is engaging in such tired cliché. I like the lady who tells me about her cats. I like standing forlornly at the photocopier looking dejected because it makes me laugh to engage in such tired cliché myself. I like the girl I don't really know but who came to reception yesterday to offer me her last Choc Ice. I didn't really like the Choc Ice itself, but felt grateful as I snapped its chocolate shell with my cold teeth. When people pass me I wonder about them. I wonder what they were like as children. Then I stop wondering and start daydreaming about my own life.

Thinking about last weekend. A festival and a beautiful boyfriend (mine) (thankfully). Music and poetry. Dappled sunshine through the light green tent canvas and grass in unbrushed hair. Open sky, warm cans of beer and bonfires.

Thinking about this weekend. Friends and writing. Music to be written for Monday. A song publishing contract to be signed. Gym ambitions and suspected realities.

The button buzzes again and I press it. A door opens. I continue to sit, wishing it was opening for me.


Blogger justme said...

At least its nearly the weekend! Hang on in there...... not long now, and mabe the sun will shine tomorrow too. x

1:15 pm

Blogger The Freelance Guru said...

That was beautifully done! Thank you!

9:34 pm

Blogger Clarissa said...

It will! And in will come prancing a beautiful pony. And there will be no kitten-flaying. That is just an awful activity.

9:08 am

Blogger Badass Geek said...

I am hoping for doors to open for me, too.

3:05 pm

Anonymous kitten hugs said...

Léonie, hang in there and the right doors will open for you in time. Just be nice to kittens, even the ones who don't smile at you.

11:21 pm

Blogger Jaywalker said...

Ah, yes, that sounds really quite horrible but tedium obviously inspires you as that was really lovely.
I do hope that soon all this greyness will be a lovely down-to-earth anecdote to share with your fans in a seminal interview in [insert publication of your choice]...

8:09 pm

Blogger Wierdo said...

I hate people who don't smile back when you smile at them.

Sure I'm too shy to talk to you but I smiled dammit! Smile back! It doesn't take too much effort. I don't even mind if you roll your eyes once you've past me but smile!

I feel for you.

I also like the girl who bought you her choc ice. Mainly because that is an adorable thing to do!!

Live for weekends!

2:59 pm

Blogger Ms Robinson said...

That was undeniably sweet for a Mondaty. I suspect by Friday I will get the manic version.

3:30 pm

Blogger Penguinissimo said...

Well, I've just discovered this blog and I have to say I'm blown away. I've read not only the original post I was linked to, but your other recent ones and a random selection from your archive. What could be better than a delightfully written blog penned by someone with a beautiful appreciation of the richness of the English language in general, and in particular Douglas Adams and PG Wodehouse (inter alia)?

I shall be reading all future posts, but in the meantime I have two questions:

1) Why aren't you an author as well as a singer/songwriter?

2) What can I do to persuade you to post more frequently?

3:04 pm

Blogger Dazza said...

Very nice writing... if the doors don't open for you, go and blow them open.


10:42 pm

Blogger Léonie said...

Justme - Thank you! In I hung, and the sun did indeed continue to shine.

Freelance Guru - Hello! No, no, thank YOU.

Clarissa - It is not me that flays the kittens! It is the job. I would not do something so terrible. Honest.

BG - I hope that for you, too. x

Kitten Hugs - Thank you. I try to be nice even to the kittens who don't smile, but sometimes I am so angry with this existence that it makes me want to rip their heads off. I would never do it, though.

Jaywalker - I would never do something so arrogant as to imagine myself laughing fondly and telling a rapt interviewer about my time as a temp-functionary with a self-deprecating laugh and small shake of the head. Not at all. Who would do that?! Not me. No sir.

Wierdo - I know it was lovely to give me a choc ice. Although when I see the words "choc ice" I can't help that wish that I could take away that second "c" and put the words together. I wish someone would give me one of those.

Ms R - I swing between manic frustration and steely determination about ninety times a day, regardless of whether it is a Monday or a Friday. It is lots of fun.

Penguinissmo - Wow, what a comment! Thank you so much. I will duly answer your questions:

1. I would love to be. So much. Any hints and/or tips? I suppose "write something" would be quite a good place to start.

2. Bribery. With ponies, shoes, or Pret Love Bars. If you send me a pony in stilletos carrying a basket full of Love Bars I promise I will live blog the rest of my life.

Dazza - Thank you. That's a great way of putting it. I want to blow them open, but sometimes I feel like I am huffing and puffing and never seeming to make it to that crucial blowing the house down part.

10:29 am

Anonymous nuttycow said...

What a great post. Hang on in there. 2 more days to go.

10:57 am

Blogger Miss Devylish said...

Have I missed discussion of the new boyfriend? God. I miss everything.. but another lovely post. I'm daydreaming of the day you tour out to the states' west coast lovey.. I'll be in the front row! xo

7:52 pm


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