For the last three days I’ve been running an experiment in caffeine deprivation. All I got in return were mild headaches, and no noticeable benefits, so I’m about to jump off this particular wagon. My first cup is wafting vapours at me as I type this, so here goes…
(1 hour later) Well, the effect that caffeine seems to have on me is quite subtle, and a good one for the cyclical nature of the work I am doing. I need to be at my best during office hours, and if I slack off after hours, it’s not a problem. The effect to me was a general “perking up” without any “mania”. I am quite a fast talker, but even after a cola at lunchtime and coffee afterwards, I was able to discuss various technical issues with a visitor from the Netherlands without any communication breakdowns. Speaking of Led Zeppelin references, today I managed to send a group-wide email, about supported procedures on one of our products, with the subject “<Product>: What Is And What Should Never Be”.
I forgot to describe what happened last Friday, which I should, because it’s symptomatic of my current state of mind. Near the end of office hours, several colleagues were discussing going to the pub, right next to where I was sat, but I was not involved in the conversation. When the guy sat next to me was leaving, the conversation went something like this:
“Going to the pub?”
“Yeah. You coming?”
“I wasn’t invited.”
“You don’t need to be invited to the pub, silly.”
Well, as far as I am concerned, I do need to be invited. I’ve spent too much time in pubs among people who hardly notice I’m there, and wouldn’t care if I wasn’t. Since I find pubs unpleasant places (smoke, noise, drunk people), I need a positive reason to go, or at least an indication that my presence is of benefit to the others. If I’m not actively wanted there, I just won’t go.
And that’s it for socializing here in Ireland, since work, pubs and churches are the sole situations where it is possible to meet people. (In case you haven’t read earlier blogs, I’m an atheist, so that rules out religious ceremonies and all who attend them devoutly.) The one book I have read on the topic of dating talks about cookery classes and the like, but that just doesn’t happen in an accessible way here. I have seen reports of speed-dating starting here soon, and I might just go for that, but not at first, because it will be all over the 6 o’clock News.