During the past few weeks, I have been struggling to complete what must be the most boring work assignment that I have ever been given. It’s a massive documentation exercise, which involves picking my way through over ten thousand lines of COBOL code, and it requires copious and sustained usage of the search, copy and paste functions. The level of creative thought involved is minimal, and is generally confined to finding the most efficient ways of crunching the data, with the minimum keystrokes. And yet, for all the dumbness inherent in the exercise, it has also proved to be a huge personal challenge.
The biggest difficulty for me is sustaining concentration. The work is so brain-numbing that I find myself unable to stick at it for much longer than twenty minutes at a time without being driven to distraction (and you can probably guess the nature of the distractions). Music helps, of course – particularly uptempo, optimistic and strongly rhythmic music, and particularly when I can get the tempo of the music to match the tempo of my copy-pasting. The cupboards have been duly raided for “banging” DJ-mixed CDs from the 1990s, most of which have been languishing unplayed for the best part of a decade: Pete Tong’s Essential Selection, Danny Rampling’s Lovegroove Dance Party, Fantazia’s Restrospective Of House, and the occasional Orbital CD for relaxation. If you lay music down for long enough, it’s remarkable how it refreshes itself.
Nevertheless, this exercise is in danger of killing off more brain cells than my 1990s hardcore clubbing phase ever did. Which is another reason for the paucity of updates on this blog, and another reason for the continued delay of The Great Troubled Diva Meditation On Class.
I have paced around the perimeters of this vast subject for days now, staring up at it and looking for a convenient way in. Since no suitable entrance point has been forthcoming, I am left with no option other than to charge blindly in, and to let the words steer their own course. F**k it. It’s a blog. Directionless busking is what we do.
*writes a couple of sentences*
*stares into space*
*checks Bloglines for updates*
*cleans the kitchen*
*returns to laptop*
*re-opens MS Word*
*stares at screen*
*says yes to a sandwich*
*decides to do what he’s best at: copying and pasting*