Friday, December 18, 2009

Being caught napping

My amazing-and-incredibly-wonderful graph was greeted with deafening silence yesterday. Possibly this means that I'm actually the worst of all people: industrious, yet stupid. Almost stupid enough to be able to ignore consistently my own stupidity, yet not quite stupid enough. Therein may lie the tragedy of my condition.

However, if I'm optimistic, it may just be that the audience were so astounded by the majesty of my data presentation that not a word could escape their shocked lips. Or, a third alternative, those of them that weren't in the room or on a video link were taking advantage of the opportunity for a nice snooze.

I'd love to be able to take a nap in the middle of the day. Throughout university, whenever I had the opportunity I would go to bed at 3pm, just for half an hour, and feel rejuvenated afterwards. After half an hour of nap-induced grogginess, that is, where I would stagger around my room, bumping into furniture and mumbling to myself. In my first job, there was no place suitable to slope off to at 3pm for sleep. I suppose as I sat near the stationery cupboard, I could have sneaked in there, but as that was in clear view of the CEO's desk, it's unlikely I would have remained undetected.

However, in my second job, when I lived in the company farmhouse that was two minutes' walk from my desk, I could go to bed at lunchtime. While this wasn't my favourite 3pm timeslot, and while I'd occasionally have to walk through a board meeting in order to reach my bedroom, it worked quite well. When we finally moved to our custom-built offices, I was exceptionally pleased to discover that there was a left-over cupboard near the mailroom, where I could hide myself for at least half an hour at a time for a good sleep. I would pass into blissful unconsciousness to the sound of a printer rattling out booking confirmations.

Then, sadly, this job too came to an end, when I decided that I'd had enough of living in Kent and driving to London every single weekend for a year, and moved back to London. Now, being paid as a contractor, the chances for sneaking out for sleep were much reduced. You might take a very long lunchbreak one day and go to watch an incredibly depressing film like London to Brighton at the Curzon, but it's not enough just to be in a darkened room, and at the same time I didn't feel I could spend close to a tenner for a ticket and then sleep through the main event. (Then again, last year I watched some of an awful film that seemed to just involve Tilda Swinton drinking soup. In black and white. In French. For three hours. Then I found myself nodding off uncontrollably, although I hadn't really intended to.)

When I went to China, I found lots of people sleeping in the office at lunchtime. This struck me as a fairly good thing to do, although it doesn't present a view of the office as very dynamic if it's full of hundreds of snoring Beijingers, slumped over their desks. But the company doesn't provide a rank of beds. Meanwhile in Hong Kong, our office is too small to have a suitable nook or cubbyhole to sleep in. I suppose I could try the banker's sanctuary - hide in the toilet with your head wedged against the paper dispenser and catch some sleep - but I'm not tired enough or perhaps I'm just too squeamish.


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