Counting Down the Hours

I have a little over seven hours left in the office tomorrow before two weeks vacation. To say I’m looking forward to it would be a colossal understatement. We are not going anywhere – we can’t afford it this year – so we’re doing a “staycation”. That’s code for “fight to keep the house tidy for two weeks”, along with “do gardening non stop”, and “go to the rubbish tip every other day”.

Anything feels preferrable to work at the moment. I’m usually pretty resilient, but  recent projects have chipped away at me – I need a break. I could write at length about my frustrations, but am choosing not to.

I have found myself wondering about moving on in recent months – I’ve been working as a consultant software and web developer for the last sixteen years. I’m something of a unicorn among my peers, because I didn’t always do this – I was once the lead developer at a manufacturing company – building and evolving systems without a budget, or a project plan. I miss working on a small number of projects, and improving them over time.

I’ve also been involved in a number of open source projects in the past – some of which are available at GitHub. I suppose the most significant were a blogging platform, a content management system, and a Tumblr-like social writing platform. I always found it amusing when people realised I designed and built them single-handed. Yes, developers like me do exist. There are lots of us out here.

I guess in some ways I’m stuck. I need to provide for my family, I don’t particulary enjoy what I do any more (even though I’m good at it), and I have no idea what I might do instead. Why can some wealthy benefactor not fall in love with my writing and fund me to sit in boutique coffee shops recording the world going by? Isn’t that what the niche blog hipsters do (when not buying clothes and photographing their try-on sessions).

I’m SO not a hipster, or a “millenial”. I’m not even a Generation X-er. Most of my year at college studied law, and yet nobody I recall went on to jobs in the legal profession. I had no clue what I wanted to do for years, and drifted into being a software developer completely by accident. I started writing up my story for “National Novel Writing Month” a couple of years ago. Perhaps one day I’ll carry it on.

Maybe during the time off I’ll coerce the children into some damn-fool adventures with me – adventures worth writing about. Maybe a trip to the museums in London, or a bike ride or two. Miss 16 loves coffee shops, so maybe I’ll talk her into setting up camp with me in town – sipping cappuccino while live-blogging the clientelle. If you see a long rambling post about strangers sitting near me, you’ll know why and how it came about.

Before any of that I need to survive tomorrow without jumping from any windows, headbutting any walls, or smashing any keyboards through monitors. Perhaps I could fall off my bicycle on purpose on the way to work, and feign injury? Actually, that’s too much like tempting fate – some trophy mum en-route for a yoga class or coffee morning will probably run me over now.


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