So, this morning, the alarm doesn't go off and I'm woken up by 'wake up, the alarm didn't go off!' Jolted from sleep, I look around and see 7.12am on the face of the clock radio. Past the time I should be leaving the house. I drag myself out of bed and feel shattered, suffering the consequences of finishing the last thirty or so pages of Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things before going to sleep.
I rush to get ready and am ready to leave the house by 8pm but end up still there at 8.12 because my son's not ready and somehow I get roped into taking him to school. It's on the way to the railway station. I'm in panic mode by the time I leave and the traffic is SLOWer than a snail and of course, all the traffic lights are red. My heart is thumping inside my chest and I cuss every slow driver who won't get a move on because I need to get through the lights before they change to red again. I don't make it through. Sunday drivers on a Monday morning. Not good news.
As I go to the ticket machine, a young woman approaches me asking if I've got change for a fiver. I know the feeling of turning up somewhere and realising that I don't have the right change or coin denominations, so I don't want to walk away and disappoint her. I'm not sure, I tell her, but if I have, she can have it. She looks on with anticipation as the coins drop into the machine. With it happily fed and about to burp out the ticket, I discover I do have change after all and drop it into the woman's hand. She smiles and thanks me. I've saved her from hanging around waiting for someone else to turn up who might have some change to share.
The watch is not my friend. It's far later than I want it to be, and I race uphill to the station. There's work going on the tracks so coaches have been organised for some of the journeys. You'd think drivers didn't ever have to use a diversion before the way some lunatics are driving - or not, as the case might be. Thankfully, they're out of my way. I race through the entrance and then use all my remaining energy to get up one flight of stairs, across a bridge and then down another flight of stairs. It uses up all my energy and I think my heart is thumping its way out of my chest Alien style. Perhaps the God of Plenty will see my good deed this morning and delay the train for a bit, I think to myself. I make it onto the train with about thirty seconds to spare before it sets off. Maybe my good deed paid off.
As the train sets off I feel sick, my heart is pounding so much and I can't breathe through my nose. I take huge gulps of air but suffer for it because as cold air hits my throat it chills my larynx and triggers a cough. I drink water and it takes me about five minutes for the heart to calm down, but the cough splutters on, shunning my efforts to make it stop. The cold water doesn't help, nor does the lozenge I suck on. The menthol in it makes my cough worse. The girl in the next seat has shuffled away from me as far as she can go. I want to turn around and tell her I haven't got a cough or a cold, it's allergies and a sensitive throat, but she doesn't look like she wants to be anywhere near me, never mind talk to me.
A bag search discovers a different kind of lozenge. No menthol. It does the trick after a few minutes. I settle down to read the last piece of writing to be workshopped later in the morning. I finish just as I reach Coventry.
Then it's a race for the number 12 bus to uni.