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Sick 6

20 January 2012

As I write this, on Friday morning, the world is a beautiful place. The view from my office window may be a symphony in grey and beige, but there is a technicolour wonderland inside my head. I can breathe, I can taste, I can even smell (a bit). My cold has gone!

At least, I think it has.

Last night, however, it had not. I brought my kit to work in order to force myself to run home, knowing in advance that this was the only way I would do it. It is a good trick, particularly if you place said kit by your desk where people will trip over it, then tell all of them that you are running home tonight (for peer pressure). Then eat a large lunch and several biscuits (for guilt pressure).

At 6pm I headed home on foot with just a packet of tissues and a grimace. I had mapped out a 6 mile route winding through the depths of Clerkenwell and Old Street. After a day’s rain, night had descended cold and clear, clamping down on puddles with a black hand.

Grim faces hid behind collars and brims. Crouching lanes of traffic crept up behind me, bicycle brakes screeched and bus queue backs blocked my way. Every step seemed to be uphill, my neck craning to stay upright. At Sainsbury’s on Stroud Green Road, I finally stopped and stepped out of the dark into six feet walls of shiny packaged propaganda. I was trapped in a video game, a virtual world of consumerism, collecting points and scanning items. When I had inserted my card into the chip and pin device, I was deposited, shivering, back on the stiff concrete to walk home with the spoils.

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