Saturday, 17 July 2010

Mad weather, aggressive birds and lifts, human waste potential, and bliss

WEDNESDAY: It's been a schizophrenic week. It's not just the fact that the stress of the expansive budget cuts and the realisation that I may be forced financially to move into a cave and live on lichen has made me a bit crazy and out of sorts. The weather has also been schizophrenic, as evidenced by the fact that when I got on the bus only 15 minutes ago the windy sky was darkly dripping with the threat of thunderstorms, and here I am sitting in the Winter Garden eating my lunch, having removed my jacket, my shoes, and my socks because it suddenly became a brightly sunny and hot day.

And my sandwich is schizophrenic as well, made up of whatever leftovers haven't gone bad yet. My avocado, smoked Austrian cheese, and sun-dried tomato sandwich is like a Mexican skier who has moved to Genoa in order to be closer to the Alps. And my fruit, a result of my own purchases and whatever I could get free at work, features apples and pears of winter doing a dos-à-dos with raspberries and apricots of summer. And in a few minutes I'll report to my job, where I will be using my talents and experience designing a poster on the computer while being paid library-scum birdfeed for the effort.

So everything is schizophrenic, everything is a result of chaos, and the next time I hear somebody comment that something isn't "normal" I'm going to scream, "Well, of course nothing is normal! On a rotating planet in a moving universe, there is no such thing as a straight line, much less a perpendicular one!"

(Sorry, just had to rant about something irrelevant.)

THURSDAY: Sprinting through town with a frantically traumatised expression on my face is a great alibi for knocking aside the "Hi, could I have a few minutes of your time?" clipboard brandishers. "Sorry -- I'M ACTUALLY IN A HURRY!" I snapped today as I sped past in turbo-charged fifth gear. With all the ambling and moseying pedestrians with a collection of shopping bags in one hand and dripping ice creams in the other, why do these marketers and fundraisers pick instead on the cheetahs racing across the plains in pursuit of their daily bread?

(I realise I'm madly mixing metaphors, but I do like the image of a herd of rustic Italian loaves grazing in a pasture.)

And I was in a hurry. I was desperate, before work, to find a circle template. And because I didn't stop to listen to someone's spiel, only to finally tell them I couldn't afford to donate anything, I did find my circle template. What a successful day!

THE FOLLOWING THURSDAY: After donning more layers because of a suddenly cooler weekend, I awoke Monday morning to a warm and impressively muggy day. So I switched back to summer wear. As I stood at the bus stop a bird shat on my new straw trilby. Later on I was nearly trapped in a lift, as the female voice repeated conflicting warnings ("Doors opening. Doors closing. Doors opening. Doors closing. Doors opening. Doors closing. Mind the doors. Exterminate!") The week has progressed with this schizophrenic theme, each day promising weather that is contradictory to all the forecasts and each minor experience promising unexpected results. That's why I'm sitting in the Winter Garden, eating my Normandy Brie sandwich with peach slices and raspberries, the bottoms of my feet nice and dry but the tops completely soaked. I don't really know what to expect next.

This morning I read that an abandoned bomb shelter in Helsinki has been converted to a database centre that heats the city. Water is pumped through pipes to cool the computer servers, and the resulting hot water flows out to heat 500 homes.

This is a brilliant use of otherwise wasted resources. So why not expand on this ecologically and economically beneficial idea? Perhaps the hot air produced in legislative chambers could also be used to heat water that would then heat homes, while the carbon dioxide-rich air could be circulated into commercial greenhouses and back as oxygen-refreshed air to fuel the speakers. And just think of all that wasted methane produced by belches and other methods in all the conference and meeting rooms of the world, as the attendees slurp cup after cup of gas-forming instant coffee and tea and chomp away on fatty, salty, and sugary snacks. Why continue to waste this rich source of gas? Let's power our vehicles with it! Save the earth by taking advantage of human potential.

FRIDAY: I'm having a slice of Mediterranean vegetable and mozzarella pizza at the Clearly Food Kitchen, formerly Alfie + Bella. I'm upstairs by myself, gazing out the window onto the Sheffield Hallam University students, with my Tramlines schedule in front of me, planning my weekend of live music, and I'm about to go check out the Emilie Taylor exhibition of Sheffield-inspired pottery at the Yorkshire Artspace before going to work for 2 hours. Then it's home and off to Tramlines. I have nothing to complain about today. Bliss...

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