Thursday, April 12, 2007

Puppet On A String 

I’ve bought myself one of those Stay Hot For Ages coffee mugs.
I noticed loads of people (middle aged men, mainly. Hmmm) walking round with them in the Pacific NW and at the time I thought they looked stupid - “I absolutely must have coffee with me at all times! I’m pitiful!” - but I got one not long afterwards and haven’t looked back.

If I can drag my fat wobbly arse out of bed early enough, I like to park up by Grannys Bay on the way into work, to enjoy twenty minutes quality zen time - just me and my pint of Stay Hot For Ages Coffee, gazing sleepy eyed across the mudflats at the oystercatchers and dog walkers and the nudist cockle pickers. It’s relaxing and I should do it more often.

By the time I reach the office, of course, I’m totally caffeined out of my tree, and my legs are twitching uncontrollably, and I feel like a puppet on a string in the hands of a merciless five year old sociopath.
I'm a dead man dancing, the bloke in the Danger! High Voltage! signs, and my attention span - fragmented at the best of times - is completely shot to pieces.

The impatient hours and days and weeks squeeze by so slowly, punctuated only by the near constant "You've got mail" yapping of Stella's laptop.
Upon its cry, and regardless of what she's doing and who she's doing it to, Stella, my eighties style yuppie witch of a team leader, drops everything and skips back to her desk to catch up on the latest girly chat from Beijing. They seem more in touch now than ever.

"It's lovely to have my friend Becky always in my Inbox," she sighs, "but it's no substitute for the real thing."
"I used to think it was a load of rubbish," I reply, "all that about too much coffee making you hyper..." but then her laptop yaps again and my words are left to dangle.

"You're perky today, Tim," she says when she returns, and I'm about to explain that it's not perky but fidgety - agitated - when the laptop starts yapping and she's gone again. They are ticking off the days on their organisers, synchronizing their clocks.

Outside my window, Rex the security guard is deadheading daffodils, tying them up in knots. The sweet scent of cut grass rises up in the warm air, mingling with the petrol aromas of lawnmower; converging fragrances bumping into each other like old friends - "Hey! Where've you been?" "Oh, you know. Just watching the grass grow" - intertwining wood smoke in the drowsy morning sunshine, the aching limbs of lovers re-united.

Tonight at barbershop we will sing "You're as welcome as the flowers in May!" and I think I've gotten over my "This is all just so ridiculous" reservations. I pretend that I'm singing to a puppy, trying to amuse a mind even simpler than my own - because when you're playing with a puppy anything goes, you can never feel too daft. It seems to be doing the trick.

These are counting down the days days.

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