Saturday, May 23, 2009

Le chat est dans la fenêtre

Originally written in October 2008 for a Japanese zine about windows and views that was eventually published late 2010.

I’m fully aware that sometimes I might be seen as a male equivalent of a mad cat lady, and if being involved in IT doesn’t help, publishing a zine seals the deal. This window tells the story of the adult years of my life, which I will now summarise before your very eyes. Being the sort of lad that was happy to drift through school and college without exerting much effort it came as something of a shock to me that fingers were being wagged at me telling me I must get a career. I attempted to skirt around the issue for several years, spending my time on social security and well, not doing very much of anything at all, other than staring out of our window at our shabby garden.

Eventually the nagging voice of the Government forced me into doing volunteer work and this led to me being accidently employed to support adults with learning disabilities, or ‘special people’ as a kids TV presenter would probably call them. After a few years the fear of sleepwalking unwittingly into a career convinced me to seek an income elsewhere.

Having spent my teenage years quite effectively destroying my dad’s computer, I had become quite adept and also fixing said computer. This didn’t go unnoticed and a friend of the family gave me a job destroying other people’s computers, and then fixing them. After two years of whizzing around the county breaking and fixing things I was thinking back fondly to my school days, a time when I was persistently in trouble with those in authority for indulging with a passion in my favourite pastime, staring out of windows. The fact I was in the top sets for each subject didn’t trouble me, I think at the time I already had a strong grasp of the concept that all life on earth is fleeting. I wanted to sit back and enjoy life. When I was supposed to be taking a nursing exam at college I decided to stare out of the window and watch a large building being demolished rather than complete my exam paper. As far as I was concerned I only had this one chance to watch that very building being smashed down by a large crane, whereas I would have many more opportunities to fail an exam. My theory was validated when I re-sat that exam a week later and much to my delight all the questions were identical and I scraped a pass. I had proved to myself that I had wisely spent my time in the previous exam staring out of the window; watching lumps of concrete the size of small cars come crashing down.

When a small technical detail (like clients not paying us) led to me losing my job I accidently got a job sitting behind a desk in London. My initial excitement at having a new window to stare out of was quickly put down when I found out that for most offices in London all you can see when looking out of a window is someone else’s window. Two years of this proved too much (even although I had four hours a day to stare out of a train window) and I decided that if I was going to spend my time staring out of windows then I may as well do it at home, where I had a little more control over the view. In fact half the reason we bought our house is that from the vantage point of the toilet you can see half of my town out of the window!

So now here I am, and the photo you are looking at is the view through my study window into my office. Here I spend my days working on my own, talking to the cats and staring out of the window. It would be a terribly lonely existence if I didn’t have the biggest window in the world at my disposal, the Internet.