August 16th – August 31st, 2017
Next door watching the lads play GTA5. I remember the original GTA, top-down on the PC. Wasn’t that long ago. How much longer before these games become indistinguishable from reality? Simulation theory proposes that these hyper-realistic simulated realities already exist, and the odds are overwhelming that we’re in one.
Notice myself looking for distractions the past few days. Reaching for my phone, checking email more often. Part of that is being home. Tend to fall back into old habits here, old patterns. I was fairly lazy as a teenager, would happily sit in front of the TV for hours and devour a pack of biscuits. Trying to stave off the old urges and stay productive.
On the bus to Cork. A bunch of people get on with me and get off at the industrial estate ten minutes later. I watch them trudge to work and take a moment to appreciate how lucky I am. It’s a random Friday in August and I’m going to spend the day sipping coffee and meeting up with cool people in my favorite Irish city.
Standing at the top of Patrick’s Hill and Rob points out a building across the way. He has a story about that one, and another two doors down. That’s one of the nice things about staying in one place for decades. Memories everywhere, a sense of connection, belonging. I guess I have that too, but my memories and connections are spread across the globe, harder to revisit.
It’s a rainy grey morning and we’re out jogging the shore of Lough Mahon. We’ll do ten miles and be drenched through and I’ll have a bit of trouble walking the rest of the day – been a while since I ran distance – but there’s an afterglow from this kind of thing that compensates for all that. Food tends to taste better, rest feels well earned.
I have five pairs of footwear, and it takes me a minute to remember where they all came from. Runners bought in New Orleans. Brown shoes bought in Mexico. Black shoes bought in Amsterdam. Grey sneakers bought in Estonia. Flip-flops bought in Colombia. I think that’s right. Don’t ask about my underwear.
Ever been there with a group of people around a table, and something comes over you and you step back over your shoulder and take in the scene with a kind of timeless perspective. You pay less attention to how everyone looks and what they’re saying and see instead how they used to look in all the years past and you sense everything they’ve been through that’s made them who they are.
Picking up a new Russian visa at an office in Dublin, ready to fly to Moscow and see my lady tomorrow. But wait… says here the visa’s not valid until October 15th. “Yes, that’s the date you specified.” I check and yeah, somehow I did specify that date weeks ago on a whim and promptly forgot about it. Balls. Now what?
Night time and I’ve arrived at the Wolfhouse in Tenerife. Which is a really nice place and the weather is warm and the people are friendly… but I was supposed to be all cuddled up in Moscow right about now, and I cut my barse shaving and the lock on my suitcase has decided to be a dick and I’m forced to trudge through all 1000 possible combinations to open the fucking thing.
Ideas are the easy part. I have a million ideas. Most of them are probably crap, but there are surely a few gems in there. And the only way to figure out which is which is to wade through them. To execute, fail, execute again, fail, execute again, and on and on until you find a diamond. It’s the execution that’s the hard part. Finding the time. Taking action. Staying focused.
After doing that podcast about eating animals last month, in which we mentioned several times that animal agriculture in Ireland is surely better than in most other countries, a friend sent me this video that argues otherwise. Took me weeks to get through it. And I’m sure you can guess why. It’s disturbing. And if you eat meat and dairy yourself you probably won’t watch it, which is fine, but that in itself is very telling, no?
On the move again. Just an hour in a rental car this time, but it got me thinking about these past two months. Since the beginning of July, I’ve visited seven countries, taken ten flights and slept in at least fourteen different beds. No wonder I’m exhausted. I don’t have the same energy for it anymore. I’ll have 2.5 weeks now at this place in Puerto, some welcome relief.
Long work day, was at the coworking before nine and clocked out of there twelve hours later. Broke for a magnificent nap in the afternoon. Good stretches of deep work, bits and pieces caught up on, no food after breakfast, a few thousands steps before dark, balcony reading to wind it down. An unglorified kind of day, but one that has me perfectly content hitting the hay.
Saw an ad for McDonalds on Irish TV a few weeks ago. Our eggs come from free range chickens, they said, showing footage of a chicken frolicking free on a nice farm. So I went into a McDonalds in Cork and asked where they get their eggs, was told Greenfield Foods in Monaghan. I did some research. Five million eggs come out of there each week. 1 Google maps shows the big sheds they keep 150,000 hens in, each required to have just 750cm of space. 2
Finish another solid work day and take a stroll around Puerto as the sun sets, getting my seven thousand steps in. There’s a lot to like about this town. It’s tidy and scenic and quiet and you catch a nice whiff of flowers every few minutes just walking the streets, look up and there’s a paraglider drifting on the breeze, floating back and forth for kicks before landing on a black sand beach.
Almost 8am, heading to the coworking. I’ll be the first one there and grab a coffee and open the place up like it’s my own. Flatmates were out last night. They’ll be blurry today. One of them came home as I was having breakfast, arm all bloodied, a drunken misadventure. Now I’m walking up the hill with a clear head, sunshine hitting the peak of Teide, ready to make the most of the day.
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These are my Momentos, vignettes I write daily and publish twice a month. They're incredibly self-indulgent and I'm surprised anyone reads them.
There's one for every day since February 27, 2013.