An attempt to co-ordinate and add a much-needed element of self-discipline to a writing project. It's called "The Passerby", and is set in the here and now. It's in diary format, partly because it serves the narrative's purpose, and partly because the page-a-day design may help me keep going. Doing it in public might help too, as will any ideas/comments/grumbles that people feel kind enough to chip in along the way...

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Passerby: Chapter 6: Tuesday 12th July

His disciples turned to him and said to him “Do you want us to fast? How shall we pray? Shall we give alms? What diet shall we observe?” Jesus said, “Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate, for all things are plain in the sight of heaven. For nothing hidden will not become manifest, and nothing covered will remain without being uncovered.”

Alan laughs at my packed lunch. He calls it a ‘pack-up’. He always wants to know about it. It’s like a little routine that we have every day in the morning.

I like that bit. I like routines.

I like getting up at the same time every day. My alarm clock goes off at six forty five every morning and I am always awake before it goes off, unless I’m not. I like the few minutes before the alarm goes off. I like being there in the quiet. Especially in the summer when it is light.

After the alarm goes off, I listen to the radio until after I’ve heard the seven o’clock news headlines. That’s about seventeen minutes. I always brush my teeth first. Then I have a shave. Then I have a shower. Then I get dressed for work. I do this even on my days off, but I don’t get dressed for work on not-work days, I get dressed for other things that I have different clothes for.

My packed lunch is in the fridge waiting for me. I always make it when I’m making my tea in the evenings.

There are always sandwiches. Mostly I make easy sandwiches like Sandwich Spread or peanut butter or Primula with ham in it or fish paste which is old-fashioned but shops still sell it and it is grey and nice.

I only use crunchy peanut butter because smooth peanut butter is wrong.

I make three rounds of sandwiches. That means six slices of bread. Alan and I had an argument about that once. He said that a round of sandwiches was a sandwich and I said no a round of sandwiches was two slices of bread with filling in it and it didn’t matter how many little sandwiches you cut the two slices of bread into, that was always a round. I know this is true because I read it in a story when I was little. The story had two boys and two girls and a dog and they stopped some bad people being bad and they ate sandwiches that a kind lady made for them and she gave them some milk too I think.

So I have three rounds of sandwiches in my packed lunch box. And I have some fruit because of five a day like I said and because it is good for your teeth. I like apples. I get those bags with eight apples in. Braeburns are the best because they sound Scottish. And crisps. Cheese and onion crisps. I should get the multipacks because they are cheaper and you get six or eight packets inside a bigger packet, but the packets are smaller than a proper packet like you get in the newsagents. So I get single packets even though it is more money because it is worth it.

There is a machine at work with crisps in it and chocolate bars and tubes of mints but it drops the crisps from the top of the inside of the machine when you put your money in and press the code and sometimes the crisps are broken. A23 is the code for cheese and onion. A24 is salt and vinegar. A25 changes. Sometimes it is roast chicken and sometimes it isn’t. They should put the crisps at the bottom of the machine, not the top, because they are delicate like bees wings, not lumpy like chocolate which is supposed to be broken up into bite-sized chunks anyway before you eat it.

Yoghurts. Three, but I don’t always eat all of them. I like the ones with the fold-over corners with different things in like cereal or chocolate or little balls of chewy sweets. Sometimes Alan asks for a yoghurt from me and says I can read his paper as a swap and I say OK.

Alan always buys a sandwich from a shop like Marks and Spencer every day and he always says how expensive it was and what the people in suits in front of him in the queue were like and they are always bad people. And he says about the selection of sandwiches and how it isn’t proper food. He likes to read the words about calories and fat content and about how bad the sandwich that he’s eating is for him especially with his blood pressure and how he will end up with diabetes and have to have injections every day.

I know that food you make is better than food you buy in shops even if food you buy in shops tastes nicer because of the things they put in it like salt and flavourings and monosodium glutamate and E numbers. That is why I make my packed lunch every night and put it in the old big margarine tub that I cleaned out ages ago and bring in my bag to work.

Alan talks about my aluminium foil. I wrap my three rounds of sandwiches in aluminium foil every day to keep them fresh and the bread nice and soft. And every day I fold the aluminium foil up again and use it the next day. This is to save the environment and to save money because we all have to play a part and not just throw away the plastic triangle sandwich boxes like Alan does. Every day Alan talks about me folding up the aluminium foil and putting it back inside the old margarine tub to use again.

Today I did a sort of bad thing, but not a really bad thing. I was thinking about The Word That Means God and then I thought I could look it up in a book and find out more about it. So I found a book in the stores. And I can’t read it at work because I have work to do and I can’t wait until the weekend when I can go to the library.

I have borrowed the book. I know it is kind of a bad thing, but not a really bad thing because I will bring it back in the morning after I have looked at it and learned about it.

I wrapped the book up in the aluminium foil and put it in my tub inside my bag and brought it home. The book is waiting for me. In a minute I will unwrap it so I can make my sandwiches for tomorrow. Then I will look at the book and see what it says. It is a paperback book. This means one thing.

Tomorrow I will only have space in the tub for two rounds of sandwiches for work.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chapter six.

Liked the idea of describing his lunch then linking in the fact he will have to have less of it tomorrow so as he can fit the book into his lunch box. The only thing I can criticize is was the description of his lunch a little lengthy?

Cheers Steve Winter

2:47 PM


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