My day was very busy yesterday, so I set my alarm for 6:30am. Not to make sure I got everything done. No. I knew I’d get everything done in time. What worried me was not getting enough nothing done.
I’m pretty strict when it comes to doing nothing. I’m probably one of the very few people that has deadlines for doing nothing. And it is always a deadline that I cannot ignore. I must have that nothing done or it’s my ass on the nothing line. My day is full, so how am I supposed to cram 3 to 4 hours of nothing in? I’ll tell you how: by pulling your bloody finger out, getting up early and immediately start doing nothing.
I know people who have written books, which probably means they also had to read them (not always the case). Do you know how long it takes to write a book? Have you any idea how much time and effort goes into that? Because I’d like to know. A fact like that would look great in this blog post but, sadly, I couldn’t research it as I had fuck all to do. It’s a great phrase that, isn’t it? “I had fuck all to do”. It’s a much more positive and dynamic phrase than people give it credit for. Let me reword it for you: “Fuck all HAD to be done. It had to. There’s no getting round that. And who do you think stepped up to the challenge? That’s right: I”. But these authors I know don’t just write a bit of a book every day and then just sit there for hours playing Monkey Turnip on their iPhone or staring at the window (not OUT OF the window. That would almost be doing something, so please be careful). No. They raise children and train for marathons and rehearse plays and talk to their local council and fight crime and don’t argue on Twitter and raise awareness and… Jesus, they’re just so busy. When, just WHEN, do they get time to do nothing?
Don’t act like doing nothing isn’t important. It’s vital. I take time out of my inactive day every day to squeeze in hours of nothing. Sometimes hardcore nothing. Not just putting a film on or listening to music, I mean absolutely nothing. Barely moving. Barely thinking. Just sitting on the stairs (walking down the stairs is normally when the fear of real life hits me) and coming to terms with who I am and, most importantly, doing nothing.
I worry about my busy friends with their deadlines and schedules and success and careers. They’re showbizzing themselves into the grave. I, and the entertainment industry, have given myself all the time I need for self-loathing. I’m used to it. I’ve come to terms with it. But what happens to my busy friends who haven’t had the time to realise they’re awful? Will it hit them in later life? Will they start spontaneously screaming at their child’s wedding? Will they burst into tears on The One Show 2039? Will they collect their own sick every day for a month just to throw it at the celebrity audience at the BAFTAs? These are the reasons I’m still friends with them so I do hope so.
One of the busiest people I know is my neighbour Jonny. He is a fucking human rights activist and works for a company that goes around businesses persuading them to be ethical, he is a father to two children and he is constantly organising meetings with Lewisham council to find town planning improvements. I argued with this human rights activist recently when he said he also paints in his “spare time”. How is that spare time? You’re doing something. You’re actively creating, you’re filling that time by making something AND you’re not focussing on how awful you are. That is NOT spare time. Put it this way: Jonny isn’t on Twitter, he has never watched ANYTHING on Netflix and his Monkey Turnip score is H. This man is a ticking timebomb.
I thought about Jonny when I woke up yesterday morning. I’m sure he was getting up at 6:30 too. Probably to jog his children to school or crochet an Amnesty banner. He definitely wasn’t getting up at 6:30 so he could have a few hours doing absolutely nothing at all. He didn’t put Star Trek Discovery on at 7am and not watch it because he was looking at an Instagram story from Olly Murs and then Googled “Olly Murs” to remind himself who Olly Murs was. He didn’t sit there wondering if Donald Trump has ever heard Suede (he must have though, right? He might not know he’s heard Suede but he must have heard them at some point. Anyway, that thought lasted 45 minutes). And he certainly didn’t fart into all 12 microwaves in Monkey Turnip. He got up and he filled his day, making his and other people’s lives better and, therefore, mine worse. Well, don’t say I didn’t warn him.
Jonny and I planned to meet last night. That’s mainly why I was anxious. I’d put all that time aside to do nothing and then later I’d meet up with a lovely man who never had any time due to the constant good work he puts into life. What a bastard. He’s going to make me feel like shit. That’s not fair. I already make myself feel like shit. Oh, he’s got time for that, has he?
There I was, doing absolutely nothing yesterday morning. Important nothing. Nothing that HAD to be done. I had fuck all to do and, by God, I was doing it. And later he’d be telling me how sorry he was for being 5 minutes late because he was busy saving the world.
Yesterday afternoon, Jonny’s wife called to say he’d have to cancel. He’d got hit by a motorbike and broke his arm and cracked some ribs. He’d be in hospital at least until the next day.
All that running around…