A newspaper I’ve been reading since I was a teenager has always had a back page feature entitled ‘A Life in the Day’; a reverse reference to the famous Beatles song. In it, a celebrity or even an ordinary person will explain a regular day and how that relates to their life. It continues to this day, and a few years ago I bought the 25th Anniversary book. As part of a writing project, I wrote one myself when I was 18. It’s amazing to look back the hopes, dreams and routine of myself over a decade ago. I hope you like it. And no, I still don’t drink tea or coffee.
A Life in the Day
I get up at 7.30 am. It should be earlier of course, but then so should a lot of things. It is necessary for the time between my waking up and getting to be almost identical as demands get greater with each passing day. Teachers at college have heard all the excuses before, so it is not even worth trying to think up one, even if at the time it seems very imaginitive yet realistic.
After quickly changing, I’ll go down for breakfast. Usually it is cereal, though if it is before that traditional 7.30 start, I have the luxury of preparing toast. I don’t drink tea or coffee, but I probably will some day. I’m told tea or coffee are urgent to cope with the demands of modern life, but I don’t think I’ll be using any mugs yet.
I don’t watch television in the mornings for reasons of time, standard and lack of concentration. It is for those reasons there is not much talk around the breakfast table with my parents. We don’t watch much television together either (Frasier being a glorious exception), but we do see many films together. That could be for the reason that it is one of the only ways that another member of the family cannot ruin the film by entering at the crucial moment of the film. My father and myself like thrillers, which probably explains why my mother, who knows little about Hollywood, can almost tell you the titles of many films.
I leave just after 8 am. I was in the habit of listening to music on the way to college, but after several close encounters of the four wheeled kind, I thought it was best to put it away. As I normally meet people from either my former school or college (never both, for some reason), it isn’t really necessary any more. A lift from my father would be welcome, but independence is a thing to be celebrated. Obviously in Winter, my attitude is different, though my father (the only driver in the household), is oblivious to all attempts at careful reasoning. In his defence, I have to add that he leaves the house at the same time I do, and Twickenham isn’t to close to Margate. Still, isn’t it true that where there’s a will, there’s a way?
On arriving at college, I have my double lesson, either English, Spanish or History. Between the two hours, there is a ten minute break, which is always gratefully received. Before the final lesson at 5 pm, there is lunch, socialising and occasionally the need to do some research for an essay. Sadly, little sport is played at college, unlike my previous school where Maths and even the dustbins could actually be put to use. Perhaps it is just as well, for the arguments could become heated, as ‘all’s fair in love and sport’.
Unlike most of my classmates, I don’t wait around for anybody else. That’s not to say I hate college or can’t wait to be back home, just that I’ve never been in the habit of waiting for people I see every weekday, and like the fact that I can run into anyone on the way out.
I used to get the bus back after the train, but I began to realise that bad days would be worsened by waiting half an hour for a crowded bus. When I realised that happened just as frequently on a good day, I knew it was time to walk. Still, exercise is good for you, and can be quite enjoyable, even if there isn’t much in the way of scenery.
I am eternally grateful to John Logie Baird, as one of the first things upon my return to the house is to switch on the television. There isn’t much in the way of programmes to watch, so I might read the current affairs on Ceefax or watch a part of a certain film. I don’t have that many films (7 at last count), but there are some scenes that still continue to amaze me. By taking Film Studies, I have been able to realise the genius of certain films.
If a day has been particularly long, I may listen to music. My interest is quite wide, from sixties ‘fresh’ pop, to eighties techno, to nineties indie to classical music like Beethoven and Mozart, which can survive any decade. If I’m reading a particularly good novel, I’ll attempt to finish it. I’ve just finished reading The Beach, and just started The Collected short stories of Sherlock Holmes. Being a fast reader has proved invaluable over the years and has enabled me to ‘have my cake and eat it’, as I have enough time to play tennis, my console, and my guitar, watch films, speak to friends – or perhaps most important of all, to sleep – without denying my interest in imagination in the Grotesque and Arbuesque, among other places.
Reading is great, but I also like to write, and hope one day to see my books on the bookshelf. Of a proper bookshop. I’ve written about 12 short stories but am currently very secretive about them and no one, other than myself, have read all of them. It is worth making the point that I am well aware that this attitude will have to change if they are ever to be published. It is worth remembering even more that short stories have never been popular enough to create billionaires out of the authors so I’ll still have to keep picking my lucky numbers every week.
After homework, its off to bed where dreams are created and hopes fulfilled. Its normally about 11 o clock. It should be earlier but then so should a lot of things.