Writing and Books

60 – Sixty

I could have written a book in the time it took me to redesign this blog. What I thought was a good idea had me sitting in my office until seven o’clock last night staring into a screen like some fast-food addicted, techno geek. A man who’s lost all sense of purpose. A man with no hope. A man who thinks an apple is a computer.

That was me last night. A madman moving things around a screen for no reason. Pen pusher. Time waster. I once worked for the council in Devon and witnessed the council administration machine at first hand. Rows of idle men and women pushing bundles of paper from one desk to another in the hope that they would never see them again. NOT MY DEAPARTMENT. NOT MY JOB. NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY. NOT TRAINED. NO BRAIN.

The bundles would swirl around the office for a few days before landing back on their desks and the process would start again. In my three months there, I had no idea what the department was for: something concerning records for disabled equipment for the elderly. Logging the makes and models of commodes, Stannah stairlifts and Zimmer frames that had once been in stock but now weren’t. The ones that had been sold off by relatives after the patient had died, or simply never returned. This information was passed on to other departments until the file was returned, stamped, passed on again and then destroyed.

I’m sure it all had some vague purpose. Like keeping twelve people on cushy council pensions in employment. In all my time there I couldn’t help thinking, ‘I could do this job by myself if somebody told me what on earth they were trying to achieve.’

Which brings me back, rather hypocritically I admit, to my own time wasting marathon. Truth was, sitting down yesterday to try and dredge up some half-amusing anecdote from the barrel of laughs that is France, I was devoid of ideas, except for the idea of moving half a billion pixels of information round a computer for the next ten hours. I became so obsessed with putting everything into neat little boxes that I forgot my name, erased my personality and had the complexion of a ghost. If I had continued any longer, I would have died a death more horrible than the man who cycled under a tram last week in Place Terreaux.

Naturally, there was a point to all of this. It gave me something to write about. Writing about not being able to write about anything. Avoiding writing about the city of Lyon itself. As you may have gathered by the silly completed unrelated  titles that now head-up every post. Walnuts, Stretching, Euros, Beggar, hardly constitute a coherent narrative for people visiting Lyon. If anybody followed my guide they’d get some strange looks from their friends looking at their holiday snaps. ‘Where did you say that was again? And who’s that in the corner!’

So anyway, it’s done now and I’m not going to change it back to the simple, straight forward format of before. Which I admit was better. It’s the weekend now and I’m buggered if I’m going to spend it in front of a computer screen. I’ve got far more interesting things to do. Like forage for Walnuts for one.

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