Sunday, 4 July 2010

Words and screens

My left eyeball is dry and itchy and my right one is watering and twitchy. The nurse at work advised me to stare off into the distance every 15 minutes to give my eyes a break from the screen. I remember this after I have been looking at it for eight hours forty minutes. I stare off into the distance. I see more computer screens.

‘I need a break from words and screens,’ I think. ‘I would be better off staring directly into the sun.’

On the tube home I do not read my book. At home, I hide the TV remotes and put a cushion over my laptop. I look at the pile of unopened post and then put it under the cushion.

I go to the bathroom and sit on the toilet. I pick up a bottle of shower gel to read its ingredients for something to do. I realise the ingredients list is made out of words, so I throw the bottle on the floor. I focus on a splodge of mildew on the shower curtain instead. The mildew is real. It is living. I go to bed. I dream of work and screens and words. I wake disappointed. It is a waste of a dream. I want to dream of gun fights, flying horses and Robert Pattinson.

I go out for a walk. Words and screens are everywhere – posters, electric displays at bus stops, house ‘for sale’ signs. My phone vibrates. It is a text message. I ignore it.

The World Cup is being shown on a giant screen in the beer garden I am in. I look at the flower underneath the screen. It is real. It smells. I can touch it. I want to touch it. I go and touch it. I turn round. People are looking at me. They are real.

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