Diary

Hidden Conveniences

08 February 2006 | Diary

Occasionlly, life reveals to you little shortcuts or hidden conveniences: tiny oases that make your working day more comfortable and don’t contribute to your stress-induced brain tumour. Part of you wants to shout about these things so others can enjoy the same benefits as you now do, but a bigger and louder part of you is determined to keep it under wraps so that your secret loophole in reality doesn’t become oversubscribed. It gives you a slight edge over other rats in the race and when you use it, you can’t help but snigger Mutley-like at their shortsightedness. Haha. They are stupid.

I’ve discovered two such conveniences of late. In way of dispelling some of the guilt I have about keeping these things secret, I have decided to share them with you, my beloved and stinking readership.

One of them is the cleaners’ schedule of the bathroom in my university library. Why not do some research into the toilet-cleaning rota of your own hangout? If you time it right, you can poop into a newly bleached toilet without the worry of some other students’ poopoo sliming its way up the pan, into your asshole and eating you from within.

Instead of the vague uriney pong, only the pleasent whiffs of anti-bacterial cloths will assult your olfactory bulb. That you don’t have to hold your breath means more time to read the witty graffiti:

“Death to all Spurs fans! (I am wanking as I write this)”. Et Cetera

The second thing I’ve noticed recently is how much more pleasent a train journey can be if you manage to bag one of the seats with a table. There’s a hell of a lot more legroom than at the other seats; you are more likely to have a conversation with someone (as the table-seats are usually in groups of four with two facing the other two); and you can put your stuff on the table instead of in the overhead luggage rack, which saves time at the destination. I wouldn’t have thought this was a particularly hidden convenience, but I’ve boarded an excess of EIGHTY trains while on work placement these past four weeks (it sounds a lot but it’s four trains per day – two to work and two back) and I’ve never failed to get one of these seats because everyone just goes for a normal, lonely, cramped one. Weird.

These pointers may not sound like much but I’m reminded of one of the lessons from Premo Levi’s Auschwitz account, If This is a Man. The few Jews to survive the camp, did so by identifying and exploiting little conveniences. One of them, I recall, was engineering your position in the soup queue: those at the back of the queue would receive bigger chunks of meat that had sunk to the bottom of the soup urn. They consequentally survived. I wonder if the prisoners told eachother about these things or whether they kept them to themselves?

Levi killed himself in the end though. Probably out of guilt for the poor saps at the front of the soup queue. So let that be a lesson to ya.



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