Time killing

I sit behind the front desk. I attend to the few matters of shop business, then, until a customer comes in, my time is free. I use it to browse the internet for an hour or so. I visit the familiar sites. I catch up with the news, following the odd link beyond it. I check in to my favourite sporting forum to see what’s being discussed there, and may add something of my own. I spend 5 minutes checking out Facebook, just to kill 5 minutes. I check recent articles posted to another favourite site, and on a good day might spend an hour reading interesting stuff. I check my email, then check it again.

I get up from my seat. I stretch. I look outside, at the wet road and the passing parade, thin on a day like this. I check the oil burner to see it still has enough water. I stand there undecided, then elect to go down back to make a cup of tea. That should kill another 5 minutes.

Back at my desk I’ll go through my phone, checking out the regular apps. Anything on LinkedIn today? No. So Twitter. I read through the tweets. Sometimes I’ll click to visit another site. I might choose to tweet something myself, though rarely. What else?

I stand up again. I stretch once more. I pick up my mobile phone and the handset of the shop phone. I go outside. It’s cooler, the sounds muted from within more immediate now. I cast about me, looking in every direction as if there might be something new to see. Then I walk maybe a dozen paces one way, pause, then walk 2o paces back. I go back and forwards like that for a couple of minutes. Today I visit the woman in the paper shop next door and we commiserate together on how quiet it is. I go back inside.

I pick up one of the books beside the desk. This one is called Hard-Boiled, an anthology of hard-boiled fiction. It’s pretty good. I read one story and stop, then decide to read another. Other books wait for me, but I’ll save them for later. What next then?

Thankfully the cute Irish lass has arrived and we share a laugh and a chat. Then back to my desk.

I get a glass of water. I pop a pill. I look beseechingly outside. I consider how I’ve got another 8 hours of this. I wonder how I’m going to pay for things. Yada, yada, yada.

Then I come here, to the blog. I leave this normally because time flies when I write and I don’t want to waste it. And because, somehow, it gives pleasure.

I look at this open page. What do I have to write about? I recall something I thought last night on TV when finally I got ‘home’. What was it I was watching? I can’t remember, but I remember something of what I thought. Somehow I found myself comparing my day in the shop with being in prison (that’s right, I was watching Hannibal).

Yes, yes, it’s not the same, but in some ways, I thought…

I have my liberty, but for about 12 hours of the day I can’t venture more than about 10 metres from where I sit. I can’t even get something to eat. It’s stultifying. I kill time. I actually do some of the things I do for leisure, like read and surf the net, except it feels different now, not pleasurable, maybe because I have no choice and there’s too much of it. I do these things to block out time, and then what?

Yes, I think, I’ll write about that.

Then I’m done.


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