Writing about the bus strike and the prospect of possibly having to get a bus at 7.15am from La Linea brought another thought to mind.
There is something about getting older that seems to result in needing to allow more time for getting moving in the morning. For waking up. For drinking enough cups of coffee for the caffeine to kick in. For actually getting the brain half engaged, let alone totally.
This is the woman who would merrily fall out of bed at any given hour, rush round, take a shower/bath, have a coffee or two, maybe make something light to eat, put make-up on, and rush out of the door. All in half an hour if necessary.
I can’t even remember what time I used to get up to get the 5.30am train to London so that I could get there for a 9.30am start. Invariably meeting a load of other work colleagues on the train – no need for breakfast at home on those days as a meal ticket was included. Or alternatively, I could grab some food quickly at home, skip breakfast on the train, but have dinner on the way back. Total day – 16 or 17 hours usually.
Nor can I remember what time I kicked into gear for the drive to Birmingham for a similar start. But I remember enjoying setting off on the empty roads somewhere between 5.15 and 5.45am. Listening to a mix of quiet music, well, noisy music played quietly, and Radio Four. As I moved down through the country I would swap to local radio stations, partly for the traffic updates as I started to meet everyone else who was rushing to work. The adrenalin was buzzing all the way. And then there was the journey back in the late afternoon. Around 700kms return trip.
But since I have dropped out of the rat race, I have truly learned to slow down. To the point of stagnation I think sometimes. And I am really not sure whether it is an age thing or because my lifestyle has changed so much, and I am no longer pressurised to rush around like a blue-arsed fly.
When Partner started work again, he originally got up around 6am or 6.30am. I thought that was shockingly early for a job that started at 8am and was five minutes walk away. He always got there early and would spend a few minutes chatting with his colleagues before they started.
Since then, he has changed jobs and now starts at 7.30am. He gets up around 5.30am or sometimes 5ish. Walks the dog, has coffee, has breakfast, and generally wakes up.
When he gets to work he starts immediately. When some of his colleagues get to work – assuming they arrive on time which isn’t always the case – they stand around having a coffee, chatting, smoking, and finally pick up a tool sometime after 8am.
When I get my idle arse out of bed, I drink the leftovers of the coffee that amazingly do not taste stewed (coffee machines have improved over the years), and flick on a few blogs to see what is happening in the strange world of people/dogs I will never meet but like to read about. Then I decide what to eat. But this is no longer that fast half an hour job that young me did. This takes a couple of hours before I feel awake. So I can see why Partner gets up early so that he has enough time to start functioning clearly – especially when he works manually and has to be alert all the time.
Yesterday I had a conversation with a woman in a book shop. We spoke about where the year had gone and that it would soon be September. And then did the usual philosophising about life and how it went quickly. She said even her children were saying that too. And she suggested that maybe because life was so instant these days – flick of a finger on a button – that it seemed to be moving too fast for everyone.
When I was in the rat race, one of my bosses told me that lack of money wasn’t a problem, but lack of time was. Now I know what he meant.
Time. Where on earth did it go? I don’t think it is on my side any more.