Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Let It All Out

I'm sure there must be some way we can increase the number of hours in a day.

Let's do the maths. Say we wanted a couple extra hours more than the 24 we have already. Simple. It's done. This would make the average week 182 hours long, 14 hours longer than the measly 168 we've grown accustomed too. This it turn would mean 780 hours in a month (up from 720) and 9360 hours in the year.

Right, okay so like an eager British politician we'd have to do cut something out of the budget to make up for the deficit (you're really only supposed to have 8640 hours in a year). Something would have to go. How about February? Any bits left over I'd just add on to June.

In doing so I would go a long way in eliminating two of the biggest issues I've been having problems with lately: time and climate. (I might also eliminate your birthday too, though, if you happen to be born in February, so perhaps not the best plan.)

I'm back at university now and have made it to the dreaded final year when the working world begins to flash its big ugly headlights in your rear view mirror. My housemates spend their free time answering weirdly revealing questions about themselves for graduate intern schemes (my favourite so far for a friend applying for a position at an oil and natural gas company: "Firm X prides itself on safety in the workplace. Describe a change you have made in life to ensure that you are safer." I can't imagine how telling an HR Manager that you look both ways when crossing the street or make sure the lights are switched off before changing a bulb will make you that much more attractive an applicant, but apparently if they take the effort to hire you they don't want to see you perish in a nasty stapler-related incident at the office) while yours truly works long unpaid hours at night shelters, charity shops and hospital wards to try to make myself that much more attractive to medical school admissions officers.

Add in the increased work load of 3rd year, plus needing to somehow find the time to feed, clothe and bathe myself and you start to get the picture. I've always thought the worst thing about being super busy is not having the time to read books. There's a pile of untouched novels I was given at Christmas beckoning me from the bookshelf, but so far this term I seem to be limited only to journal articles with 'feminist thought' in the title. It's getting hard to stay enthusiastic.

Everything is made that much trickier by the fact that England IS SO INCONCEIVABLY COLD. My room in the house I share with four friends is an old front room with a big bay window. Lovely, you might say, and indeed it would be if it's glass wasn't two-hundred years old and two micro-millimetres thick. I wake up in the morning and instinctively reach for my bedside table for a pair of gloves (this makes putting my contact lenses in later a little tricky) before retreating under the covers to psyche myself up for the perilous journey to the shower that awaits. Then in one swift movement I explode out of bed, grab a towel as I accelerate out the door and shoot up the staircase. The worst site in the world to see at this point is a closed bathroom door indicating occupancy and a freezing retreat back to my bedroom but usually my crazed thumping up the stairs warns the others that an icicle-laden housemate is approaching.

The shower itself is another issue. You see, among the fun little idiosyncrasies of our house is that if you have the shower too hot, the internet turns off. It's something to do with plugged up pipes messing up the electricity which affects the router, and the end result is a tepid shower. The front and back sides of my body have to take turns facing the reluctant stream of lukewarm water, which means that any given time 50% of my body has the opportunity to develop frostbite.

The next part in the process is of course the worst part, when you are dripping wet but need to complete that final journey back to your room. Ususally I black out at this point and wake up sprawled beneath my covers, my hair damp and my glasses foggy. Meanwhile, the boiler sits quietly gathering dust in the corner of one of my housemate's bedrooms.

Oh dear, only three weeks in England and I'm already complaining like a Brit. There are, of course, a number of ways to deal with the issues of climate and time. My two favourite happen to be whisky and music. Though the former is not such a feasible solution at any time before 3 in the afternoon, music is accessible 26 hours a day, 182 hours a week.

When your pining for the warmer climates of your home town, what else can you do except listen to the music that always makes you the most homesick. I actually have a playlist called 'Homesick Music' on iTunes (or alternatively, Hey! My Door Was Shut For a Reason! ...No, I'm Not CRYING! Music) and the undefeatable Josh Ritter always figures numerous times on this list.

So this is for all you kids living away from home, even it's been a while since it was somebody else's job to pay your heating bills.

'Another New World' comes from Josh's latest album So Runs The World Away. If you listen closely to the lyrics you'll hear the gorgeously crafted tale of a sea captain trying to find a passage around the ice of the poles. In classic Josh Ritter fashion, the song seems to have layers upon layers upon layers of meaning, but Annabel Lee, the name of the sea captain's ship, actually comes from a poem by Edgar Allen Poe. What really kills me in this song is the story, which you really should sit and pick apart by listening to the lyrics as the music flows around you.


  1. Anonymous22.10.10

    another brilliant entry. my house is also very good.

  2. MATHS!

    Your sister's pluralization of this word is one of my favorite things about her.

    Something about the hot shower shutting down the Internet is so hilarious. It's like a modern Dickens novel!

  3. Loved this post!
    Makes me pretty happy I'm not in England in a freezing house!! (Time for heating maybe?)
    Hope all's good with you :) xxx

  4. You know Luke, I didn't expect it , but since reading about your life - I'm really starting to warm up to you. I hope to see you in Aus in 2011, summer just started.

    Keep writing.
    your gunbound nemesis