The Unfortunate Fallacy Of The Day In Bed

It's safe to say I have an addictive personality. Cigarettes and coffee? Let's see how much I can fit inside my body today. The new open world RPG game that's came out this week? Accidentally played it for thirteen hours straight. Gingerbread men? I'll eat you and your wife and then come for your children. I can quit all of my habits whenever I want.

I'm also prone to becoming addicted to busyness. 

"Don't stop until you get the flu again" isn't the best mission statement, especially when you're a fan of the Socialism and fully support surviving on a reasonable wage. But even when I've had a job which paid enough not to cause me panic, I've ended up working more overtime than was dignified.

Now I have two part time jobs. Rather than being paid straight from the cookie jar, I'm reaching into it; grabbing shifts and chasing hours. 9AM to 10PM with a small break in between to go home, change clothes and try not to fall asleep. And my shameful secret? I like it that way. I'm a shark; if I stop swimming, I'll die.

So as you can imagine, enforced downtime is weird for me. I must emotionally budget for bathtime. I frequently lament the days I would get up at 2pm (oh to be a student again) but the idea of not having to be anywhere sends me into a tailspin. But that's bad, really. I should be able to turn my brain off, sit my body down and relax without being consumed by guilt from the inside out. So occasionally I force myself to do just that.

* * *

This weekend I wake up at half eight on a Sunday and realise I don't have to be up, dressed and anywhere until five-thirty. I let that feeling sink in, wrapped in my duvet cocoon with last night's hot water bottle almost-warm at my toes. What bliss! Josh wakes and goes into the living room, and I hear familiar clattering and the metallic spin of his bike chain as he prepares for his weekend ride.

9am: I make myself a coffee and pour the remnants from a couple of cereal boxes into a bowl, sleepily splashing soy milk over my oats before carrying my breakfast back to bed. I refresh twitter and instagram incessantly before remembering the hard square of the Kindle under my pillow. I finish the rest of last night's nostalgia, Forever by Judy Blume.

10am: I keep a running score in my head, counting down my day of decadence. Seven hours to go. I can do anything. I put on a film. Tall Story is a cute farce from the sixties. It's in black and white - am I cultured? No, I'm just enjoying Jane Fonda live my best life by stalking Anthony Perkins.

11:30am: I make another coffee and visit the bathroom, veering dangerously close to the living room, the first sign of someone who is "getting up". Nope, today is bed day and the thought of laboriously loading up the Playstation to die, die again on the new Far Cry seems like too much of a commitment. I go back to bed.

12pm: What is everyone else doing today? Thankfully instagram still shows the rest of the world's night-befores, with a smattering of today's breakfasts. People actually showered and put on outdoor clothes just to spend money on £7 poached eggs on toast? I feel smug.

12:10pm: Oh god, what am I doing with my life? 

12:15pm: I'm thirty one. I should be discussing current affairs with my six other friends, all couples and all just as awake as I am, having been to a yoga class before brunch. Argh! I just watched a movie, why didn't I go to the cinema instead? Seems so much more justifiable to sit in a dark room if there are other people in it with you. 

12:20pm: I google "what do adults do when they're not at work". The first result is an article called "15 Better Things to Do After Work Than Watch TV" and I feel both insulted and incredibly seen.

12:35pm: It's fine. You decided that this would be fine, remember? Your job today is Being In Bed.

1pm: Shit, only four hours until I need to get up. That's not enough time to do anything. The day's a write-off.

1:10pm: I put another movie on, Kalifornia, and watch Brad Pitt be all unstable and rednecky. I browse Amazon and compile a list of books I want to read this year. I've found that preparing to read a book often takes as much time as actually reading it.

1:20pm: As the film plays I think forlornly about all the drafts in my Google Drive; half-started novel ideas and sad-girl poetry. Still, can't really write with the noise of Brad killing folk in the background. And the television remote is very far away, or possibly buried in the folds of my duvet burrito. The thought of looking for it feels exhausting.

1:25pm: I'm starting to feel a bit achy from all this lying down.

1:30pm: People are going to ask me about my weekend and I am going to have to lie. 

1:45pm: It's fine, I don't have to justify my choices. I am an adult with no other obligations. If I had kids it would be different, but right now I can totally just lie here all day without it affecting anyone.

1:50pm: Ugh, why don't I have kids?

2:15pm: It's taking a lot of control not to respond to work emails. Instead I focus on the just-as-important task of reading celebrity gossip articles on Livejournal. Perhaps a more important task would be to finalise that room booking. No - stop trying to rank tasks, Red. Not everything has to be a task.

2:30pm: People are having opinions on Twitter. When did I stop having opinions about things? Between the 8.30AM bus ride and the last, regrettably decaffeinated, beverage of the day at 11PM, I seem to have misplaced my opinions. It's really difficult to find issues you are passionate about when horizontal on a memory foam mattress, mummified in a purple dragon onesie.

2:45pm: This is not relaxing. I am not relaxed.

3pm: I'm still sort of watching the movie, which is good because it turns out that the moment I stop Doing Something, my brain tries to kill me. My imagination shows me a montage of the worst bits of my life interspersed with the best bits of everyone else's, whilst I yawn and bury my face in the pillow. My lethargy is extremely stressful.

3:20pm: I remember to do my Duolingo for the day and spend fifteen minutes not really reading the translations and guessing at words. Do you even sprechen sie deutsch, bruder? Duolingo is the epitome of my waiting to leave vibe, as I realised about 200 days ago that I was no longer interested in learning a language, but am too stubborn to break my streak before I reach 365. Ja, mein Duo ist komplett.

3:30pm: Am covering myself in lavender scented moisturiser in a last-ditch attempt at forcing myself to chill the fuck out. I can't imagine being at a spa retreat, unless you can sign up for activities like Angst & Aromatherapy, or Exfoliating Your Existential Crisis.

3:50pm: Why have I never learnt to make candles? This is a great idea. I research how to make candles and add all the ingredients to my eBay watch list. I'll do it next week, probably.

4:05pm: Josh gets home, muddy and musky from a productive day cycling up inclines. I look at him like a war veteran from my hospital bed, a shell-shocked "don't even ask" expression on my pointless face.

4:15pm: Now that I have an audience, I find it easier to shut my eyes and ignore the world around me. I lie back in my bed-throne like a princess, a picture of serenity.

4:55pm: ... And then wake up. Ughhhhh.

It's 5pm. I've made it! I conveniently ignore the irony of viewing a relaxing day in bed as something I must survive. But wait, I haven't listened to that song I wanted to listen to. Just a quick listen while I read this article that's just popped up on my phone. Am I hungry? I should probably eat something before I start my shift.

Half an hour later, I grab my boots and struggle into something that looks black and ironed. Coat, scarf, purse, keys. I peck Josh on the cheek and tumble out of the house like a flurry of geese. I wipe the sleep from my eyes and power-walk to the bus stop. After a whole day of doing nothing, I am running late.