Friday, 27 June 2008
Things to do
"Are you on holiday yet?" acquaintances ask.
Friends know better but even they assume that this is a quiet time of year for me. I wish it were. The "to do" list lengthens every day and any spare time must be spent on the house, if I can summon the energy.
Just getting on with jobs on the "to do" list would be good. Many of them would be enjoyable if I weren't so tired, and even housework might make enough of a difference for me to feel I'd achieved something after a few hours. But I'm continually held up by computer problems. I've been suffering from advice that doesn't always make sense. For instance, explaining problems with the screen of my borrowed laptop, I'm faced with the response that it must in some way be my fault.
"It's because you've dropped it," I'm told. I didn't drop it. Then, "You've downloaded Firefox. Why did you do that? Who said you could? You shouldn't download strange programmes. They always affect the computer. That's why the screen has gone black. Why didn't you stick with Explorer?"
I try to explain and, after a while, give up. Mostly the borrowed laptop works - every so often it stalls and takes yet more of my time. I begin to wonder if life was easier before computers.
Still, I know what I have to do this weekend. I have to spring-clean the house. Yes, I know it's past midsummer but spring was busy - and winter and autumn and all last year. And I'm giving a short talk at work which requires research - rather more than I anticipated. So I should reread the Bacchae of Euripides and, for the first time, the whole of Cervantes' Don Quixote. I've only read bits before. If I can do all that this weekend I'll be more or less on schedule.
I started Don Quixote on the train home - page 47 already. 800 or so pages to go. It's a lovely old Penguin edition with the price on the cover: 8/6.
I think I need a Sancho Panza to do the housework. I think I need more than a weekend.
In Marlowe's play of Doctor Faustus, Faustus quotes Ovid's Amores, begging that his last night will last longer: "O lente lente currite noctis equi!" (Run slowly, slowly, horses of the night). Time moves at its usual speed and the night comes to an end.
I expect the weekend will end before I've finished half the tasks I've intended.