Saturday, 17 July 2010
No time to waste
‘Stop doing the London walk,’ my parents will say when I visit them in Cumbria and invariably end up walking 20ft ahead and at twice the speed. And it’s true, I have picked up the pace in the past few years. You can’t help it, it’s contagious. Most people walk quickly and with purpose here, even when they’re not in a rush and have nowhere specific to be.
If I get stuck behind someone walking slowly along Oxford Street, say, or dragging their heels while changing on the underground, I get cross out of all proportion. Even if they have good reason to be walking slowly, like a prosthetic leg. I have completely forgotten how to amble. I am on permanent fast-forward.
I have also started to multi-task unnecessarily to optimise every available minute in the day. In the shower I will wash my hair with one hand and brush my teeth with the other. I dry my hair with the hairdryer while making the bed and pairing socks. When cooking, I always wash up/clean up as I go along (although not very well - dried on bits of branflake will always be pointed out to me on ‘clean’ cereal bowls stacked away in the cupboard the next day). I can’t even relax watching a film on TV, I have to cut/file/paint my toenails at the same time or be scanning the internet for jobs. Walking back home from Ealing Broadway Station (quickly) I will make shopping lists in my head, or consult my diary and start thinking of ways to fill my days off. If I don’t have at least a couple of things to do at any given moment, I feel slightly on edge.
I must not waste time. I cannot relax.