I’m making some major changes to my life. Well, I’m a man – I consider a new wallet or a different style of underwear to be a ‘major’ change. Thus, you’ll probably laugh at the self-improvement plan I have set in motion.
Ash had pointed out to me that I twitch a lot at night and seem restless when I sleep, despite often not going to bed until almost midnight. He pins the blame for my nocturnal hyperactivity on coffee. So, in recent weeks I’ve tried to resolve the issue by cutting out coffee after eight in the evenings. It’s been a struggle. I’m used to downing at least fifteen mugs of the stuff every day. I have a coffee at half-past six in the morning to get myself ready for the stroll to the train station. I usually have a little snooze on the train as it whisks me to work, this leaves me somewhat tired again, so I head to Starbucks to grab a little pick-me-up. Ready for action again, I get my bus from the city out to the office. Arriving at work my day really can’t begin until I’ve got a steaming mug of black Nescafe in my hand. The constant drip-feed of caffeine continues almost hourly until my head hits the pillow, and the ‘after-eight embargo’ is intended to provide me with some more restful nights.
Now, onto the second issue. To counteract the coffee-induced restlessness I suffer during the evenings I have, over several years, developed a liking for wine with dinner. Followers of my Instagram will have noticed that I rather too frequently post pictures of full wineglasses, often accompanied by captions along the lines of ‘FUUUCKKK YEEESSS!!!!’ or ‘Well, it would be rude not to!’ Red wine is my usual preference, usually something big and smooth like a Merlot. I find this has a very soothing effect – it allows me to relax. Sitting on the train home on a Friday night I’ll be imagining the pleasure of selecting a bottle and reaching for my corkscrew. Sometimes I’ll open a bottle before dinner is even cooking. There’s a special kind of pleasure in preparing fajitas, a stir-fry or a curry (Ash cooks everything other than these three dishes I’m fully-accomplished at) using the Keith Floyd style of cooking; a wooden spatula in one hand, swirling stuff around a wok, and in the other hand a good glug, or five, of something warming. By the time I’m loading the dirty plates in dishwasher the bottle is emptied to halfway down the label and I’m ready to stick the kettle on for a big mug or two of freshly-ground Columbian. So, I’ve taken the drastic step of canceling my subscription to a wine club, thus ending the drip-feed of vino to my doorstep. I give it a fortnight.
The third issue to be resolved: I’m constantly buggering around on my laptop at all hours. I have a 2010 MacBook Pro, which has remained switched on pretty-much continually since 2010. I open it on my desk at 9am, close it for my bus journey to the rail station, use it for the entire train journey, close it for the walk home, use it on the sofa all evening, and finally close the screen and sit it on the kitchen worktop at midnight to charge for the following day. I’ve hammered the poor thing to within an inch of its life. So, my friends, this has been the last blog dispatched from my MacBook Pro; it is destined for a new home. I have replaced it with an iPad – supposedly this will make me more sociable, and is less prone to isolate me as much as sitting behind a keyboard. When I get my laptop out in Starbucks for instance, people are naturally accustomed to think ‘Who’s that knob with the Macbook Pro? I bet he writes blogs, or is working on some dreadful screenplay. Look at him, sat in in public with a pretentious latte, tapping-away on a needlessly-expensive aluminum laptop that he’s plastered with the promotional stickers of his favourite record labels. Fucking hipsters; the tossers are everywhere these days!’ I’m not sure what the iPad will say about me, but it’s got to be better than the statement the MacBook makes – and on a more practical point, it’s better for my back. I lug around a large messenger bag that I have a tendency to stuff with an absurd amount of crap.
So – here’s the manifesto going forward:
1. No coffee to be consumed after 8PM.
2. Wine only to be opened at weekends, but beer with curry can remain a judgement-call.
3. iPad only to be used for browsing, not for working. It goes to sleep before 10PM.
We’ll see, we’ll see…