When I was about 14, much to my astonishment, my parents got cable TV. A few things happened as direct consequences:
- I watched a lot of US talkshows and British cult TV series instead of revising for exams
- I developed what is now pretty encyclopedic knowledge of 90s music and became a paid-up member of the MTV generation
- I became an incorrigible channel-surfer, and my attention span shrank to microscopic dimensions (this didn’t especially help with the aversion to revising)
So, to change the subject completely, here we are 20 years later and I’ve signed up to Walk to Work Week. Guess what that involves . Walk to Work Week is organised by Living Streets, a dedicated group of professionals and volunteers who work together to make the streets ‘safe, attractive and enjoyable spaces,’ and who have been doing so since 1929. One of Walk to Work Week’s aims is to help people discover hidden treasures in their area. Well, amen to that.
Walkit.com tells me that the office is 3.5 miles away, I’ll burn about 350 calories and it’ll take just over an hour. I know 3.5 miles isn’t that far, and I don’t really care about the calories. The bit I’m nervous about is the ‘just over an hour.’ In fact, it makes me so nervous that I’m only going to walk in one direction each day. I literally don’t know where I’d find 2 hours from. I am – and I know I’m hardly on my own here – constantly, permanently trying to cram all the stuff I need to do every week into a paltry 168 hours. I know I’m going to be anxious about ‘wasting’ the first part of the day if every morning I’m not shoving some clothes on, downing a coffee and elbowing my way onto the 7.42 so I can be at my desk trying to do 7 things at once before my other half is even awake. And come on, that’s ridiculous.
Frankly, I can’t imagine travelling to or from work without being plugged into my iPod … so I won’t be doing that. Instead, I’ve asked my colleagues to recommend albums that I wouldn’t usually listen to. I spend hours and hours of my life listening to music, and I feel the need to broaden a couple of horizons. I’ve made a pact with myself that I won’t hit ‘skip’ or ‘repeat’ or turn off stuff I don’t like (classic MTV generation channel-surfer trait), and I won’t listen to anything I love over and over again. I figure this sort of discipline has got to be a good thing for my terrible concentration span.
My colleagues are a great and diverse bunch of people, so what could possibly go wrong? Well … one of them has recommended a classic Miles Davis record, for one thing. I don’t ‘do’ jazz, to put it mildly. But you don’t know until you try. You never know, I might just find a hidden treasure or two.