Monday, July 02, 2012


Monday is the one day I get off on the Brain Training running plan, so instead of springing out of bed at six a.m., I slumbered until seven thirty, then struggled to get up and out of the house. All that sleep didn't make me feel wonderfully energetic today; I was sluggish and lacking drive for much of the day. That was perfect for some things (deleting emails) and not so great for others (wrestling with Powerpoint, that much-detested presentation software, the enemy of nuance, detail, and, paradoxically enough, getting a message across simply).

Thankfully tomorrow I've got to run 4 miles, which should get my body chugging into life again, rather than an exhausted husk of its former self. I've just realised that I've really done a number on myself for my next work trip. Not only do I have to catch a 6:10 flight on Saturday morning, but on the way back I'm going to leapfrog from Sunday afternoon to 20-past-midnight on the Tuesday morning, via a soul-destroying two hour stopover in Narita airport. Mind you, that means I'll be able to fit all my runs in for the next three weeks without disruption, while my brain boils away to nothing.

Or I'll be unceremoniously thrown out of the US when they smell my fetid running kit, melting through the sides of my suitcase.

I've been wearing woolly jumpers at work because it's so damn cold, and I realised that I have three suits hanging up in the wardrobe, suits that I haven't worn, suits that could keep me just as warm, and, most importantly, suits that have evolved over several hundred years to rectify whatever physical flaws we are endowed with, and tailored specifically for my distorted torso by a man in Hong Kong/a warehouse of underpaid tailors in Shenzhen. Having all these suits hanging up and not being worn begins to feel like a waste of money, so I rolled up my pinstripe, tucked it into my backpack with my computer, and tottered off to the office.

There's a couple of problems with working for an internet company that prides itself on informality. Nobody dresses up, which means when you get home, you have no sartorial signal to yourself to say "done now - the day is over." You can't kick off your shoes if you're already wearing sandals.

Secondly, a t-shirt and jeans are not, for most people, the most flattering clothes you can wear. As alluded to above, generations of tailors have worked on ways to make you look your best; meanwhile, generations of workers in the Levis factory have made it possible for you to look like you wish you were a cowboy.

Thirdly, if you do wander into the dressed down dungeon of a start-up wearing a proper suit, you won't get any work done because people won't stop asking you why you're wearing a suit, where your interview is, or what time you have to appear in court. I tried to explain that I just wanted to look good, but nobody believed me.

Well, good and warm, and in the latter my suit failed me. Another arctic blast was blowing out of the air conditioners, and though I kept warm all morning by eating food and then thinking really hard about homeostasis, by the afternoon I was out of biscuits and by 4pm my teeth were chattering and my hands were numb. And I still had some godawful Powerpoint presentation to write, the kind of thing where your soul gradually dissolves in shame at having to tell people what you're going to tell them, then telling them, then telling them what you've just told them, and ... Whatever happened to the good old days when I'd give people three incomprehensible graphs and a picture of a kitten?


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