Friday, 19 January 2018

Mundane Freedoms

I've been working more than I like to this week. I put in the contractually obliged 15 hours over the course of Monday-Wednesday (noting with a certain smugness how much more I can actually get done when I work from home, in my dressing gown, rather than in the office in sensible trousers and terrible background radio) but Thursday-Friday I picked up two consecutive night shifts. Partly as a favour, partly because a little extra cash will come in handy this month, all the allotment preparation there is to do.

Anyway, it's two hours on the bus each way between the office and my flat, which is normally fine if all you have to do is stare out the window, fart about online or maybe even read an actual book, but if sleep is what you need, a bus isn't the place to do it. There's a sleeping in airports community, don't you know, but no sleeping on busses community. So I thought I'd give Dayuse a pop. This lets you book decent hotel rooms for a knock-off price, for, as you may have guessed, day time use. Ideal for the daysleeper.

I got myself a room in the normal Village Hotel in Hyde, only 40 mins or so from work, for £29 from 10am to 5pm. Renting a hotel room for a day makes you feel a little bit seedy. Like you're up to no good. But all I did was scroll through the 80 or so ridiculous TV channels for 10 minutes or so before luxuriating into fresh hotel-bed sleep. White sheets, heated towel rails, thick curtains. Marvellous.  (The noisy machine right outside the window that had something to do with the swimming pool, less marvellous).

I'd otherwise have "crashed" at my friend's in Levenshulme but he's having his kitchen done or something. This would have been free, but as the option wasn't available, £29 felt like a reasonable compensation to me. I woke feeling as rested as you can do when you've just buggered your circadian rhythm to submission, had a power shower, and checked out feeling pleased with myself.

The thing is, I really like hotel rooms. Even these newfangled ones with key card entry and squirts soap fixed to the wall so you can't nick it. I like their anonymity, their temporariness, their blandness. Their minimalism. You go in with just the clothes on your back and any luggage you can stomach, and you leave with the same (or if you're lucky, with some free soap). All you really need is in there. It's clean and tidy when you enter, and someone else tidies up for you when you leave. A bit like being an aristocrat.  Bed, desk, bathroom, somewhere to put clothes you're not wearing, and other things. Maybe a telly. But no real stuff. I've always found the experience strangely liberating. It makes me think if I was a millionaire I probably would buy a home; just drift from place to place and book a room each night wherever I happened to be. I read somewhere that Elon Musk does this. Maybe he'd like to give me some of his money.

A peculiar kind of nomadism, and a peculiar sense of peace that comes with it.

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