The Importance of Being Idle
Updated: Jan 15
"It's something to do" has become my mantra. As far as mantras go, it's not particularly enlightening.
When looking at renting a student house, tenants tend to prioritise a sizeable kitchen and a living room big enough for pre-drinks. Only now, in the midst of this indefinite lockdown, does the size of one's garden seem to matter.
Our garden is 18m by 4m. It has two small sheds, a washing line, a small patio area, and a dilapidated Anderson shelter. The house is south-facing, but the garden gets enough sunlight during the day that working out there on a sunny afternoon is feasible. In the morning, the sun shining through the trees creates a picturesque mosaic of shadows on the grass.
I knew very little of this until three weeks ago.
It has become routine to step into the garden at least once during the day. This week, it has been my mission to take a photo from approximately the same location on the garden path when the sky is blue and relatively clear. Even now, eight days in, am I still trying to finesse the process.
Walk to the back of the garden
Stop at the paving slab in line with the third-from-last fence post
Rest phone on ground, angled upwards
Take a few more because you always underestimate how high the camera needs to point
Think of a fitting song for when you add it to Instagram
Receive several daily messages to the tune of "why do you keep posting the same photo?"
Tick. Tick tick tickedy tick.
Some might wonder what is to be gained from this monotonous ritual.
My response? It's...
Office spaces for startups generally follow the trend of being open-plan workplaces, with fancy Italian coffee machines in the kitchenette and a few beanbags in the breakout area where the team can go to sit back and synergise with 'cool Colin from accounting' who is the antithesis of what he strives to be.
That might be a stereotype, I'm not sure. Got a bit carried away, to be honest.
From my limited experience, I can inform you that open-plan is not the future. What I mean by this is that it is virtually impossible to sit across from someone at the same desk and not get distracted multiple times an hour, especially when everyone in the workplace - all two of us, in this case - has cabin fever.
As can be seen above, my housemate (left) and I (right, invisible) have converted the living room into our very own 'communal office workstation', or COW for short. Table in the middle, extension lead running under, plenty of space for cups of tea, the full works. She's (remotely) working four days a week, whilst I'm (not even remotely) studying five days a week.
You may have spotted the large box behind the water bottle at the top. That, ladies and gents, was what my turbo trainer arrived in. Remember me mentioning that? It's fun. It's very fun. Possibly too much fun. Or perhaps my fun threshold has fallen dramatically.
You wouldn't expect virtual cycling to be any good. Well, I didn't at least. As it turns out, combining exercise with video games can be a real winner, especially during a global pandemic. It's a good way to make up for the fact that my daily step count has only surpassed 1,000 once this month so far. I'm starting to channel my inner Lance Armstrong, sans dopage. As frantic investments go, this one might be a winner.
I might shave my head next week.
Whilst I'm no longer cycling from London to Paris, I still intend to fundraise where possible for Breast Cancer Now. The plan is to take part in Prudential RideLondon in August, but there's a chance that that'll be cancelled, too. BCN, like most charities at the moment, are in desperate need of funds in order to support those reliant on them, so what better way to help them out than by getting the trimmer, shaving foam and razor - we're going all the way baby - and replacing my luscious locks with empty space.
Other than that, there's not much else to report on. Paradoxically, I'm almost glad that's the case, as it suggests that myself and those around me are playing ball and doing all that is possible to throttle the spread of Covid-19. There's a good chance we'll all come out of this even more boring than before, though. Maybe learn a fun fact or two for the first post-lockdown pub trip.
Stay safe, distance your socials, and enjoy the namesake of this article.