A Day In The Life Of A Displacement Activist

Hi. Writer here. You know, one of those creatures who was socially distancing before it even became a thing. We’re a weird bunch at the best of times, hunched over a keyboard, trying to make stuff up while OD-ing on caffeine. Meanwhile, outside there’s vitamin D, fresh air and real characters (at a socially respectable distance of at least 2m away). 

Are we interested in all that? Hell no. As Byron once said, ‘Truth is always strange; stranger than fiction’ (but then Byron also had a pet bear and drank wine out of skulls, so pinch of salt and all that). The truly weird thing, however, is that we’ll do virtually anything to avoid getting the writing done in the first place. I have in the past, with a deadline looming, and no other distractions between me and the blinking cursor, happily attacked my dirty oven with an old toothbrush (not a euphemism). 

So here, long after the house and the car are sparkling, and the dog has been walked so much its legs are worn down to stumps, is a brief outline of my day as a serial procrastinator.

6.00: Wake up. Admire the sunrise. Mull over deadlines. Consider catching multiple worms as an early bird. Roll over and go back to sleep.

9.00: Wake up, refreshed and newly determined to carpe the shit out of the diem. Half an hour of yoga ought to get my attitude into shape. Roll over and go back to sleep.

11.00: Stagger downstairs to find no bread, no cereal, no coffee, no eggs, no milk. Say good morning to wife, dog, and various children who have eaten all the breakfast. Think about queueing up outside the supermarket for an hour. Think about eating at least one of the children. Decide a banana so ripe it looks like a leather boomerang will have to do. 

11.15: Fire up the laptop. Spend half an hour finding a dynamic photograph to upload as a desktop background to get me in the mood for an intense day… well, afternoon, of hard, honest graft.

11.45: Spend half an hour creating a Spotify playlist that befits a can-do kind of guy. Spend another fifteen minutes struggling to come up with a kick-ass title for it. 

12.00: Roll eyes. Call Spotify playlist: ‘Kick-ass’.

12.01: Assess to-do list. Decide it would look better written in red fountain pen ink in my Leuchtturm notebook rather than in pencil on the back of a utility bill envelope. Assemble bottles of red ink in front of me. 

12.15: Decide none of the red inks cut the mustard. Spend half an hour on various websites trying to find the holy grail of red inks.

12.45: Wonder how it is that I’m looking at gifs of otters. Slap my face. Focus. Red ink. Not otters. Red ink. Red ink.

12.50: Scarlett Johansson? In that dress? Have a word with yourself, love.

12.55: Find a sumptuous red ink that would look great in my fountain pen. Order it. Decide to write to-do list with inferior red ink on a Post-it until superior red ink arrives.

1.15: Lunch.

2:15: Assess to-do list. Add checkboxes to fill in when each task is completed. Consider transferring to-do list to a piece of graph paper to enable neater checkbox construction. Hunt for graph paper. Rewrite to-do list in inferior red ink. At top write: Buy graph paper.

2.30: Settle on a task in my to-do list. Open a fresh Word document. Decide I hate Word. Always have. Briefly consider going old school and firing up the typewriter. If only I had some typewriter ribbon. Hang on… there’s some in the shed. I’m certain of it…

3.15: Curse my predilection for hoarding shit as I create another tunnel through decades of possessions in the shed in search of an old After Eights box that I’m sure contains some typewriter ribbons.

3.40: Find After Eights box. Elation turns to crushing disappointment as I discover no ribbon inside, but a set of poker dice. 

3.41: Find typewriter ribbon!

3.42: Realise I threw the typewriter away fifteen years ago.

3.45: Crushing disappointment dissipates as I remember how much fun poker dice are.

3.46: Write Get some After Eights on to-do list.

3.47: Force youngest child to put away his science homework and play poker dice with me.

3.48: Shake head at the attention span of children today. Put away poker dice.

3.50: Decide this work isn’t going to write itself. Determine to get some work done after a tea break. 

3.55: Decide tea is too wet. Desire biscuit. Hunt for biscuits. Realise we are a biscuit-free zone. Remember bar of chocolate I bought for wife. Briefly think about my balls and how important they are to me. Realise I don’t need them any more. Eat chocolate. Decide to mix business with pleasure by researching important work-related material to do with architecture.

4.50: Post picture of otters holding hands to Facebook.

4.55: Work.

5.00: Beer o’clock. Notice wife has added something to to-do list: Get help.

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