The Start of a Good Day.

The end of a somewhat sleepless night came when the alarm sounded at 7:30 am. The University and a fairly trivial exam beckoned. It was not that the exam had no consequences, for it did, just that for a person of any intelligence it was nothing more than a formality. The restlessness endured during the night preceding was not the ill effect of any anxiety or stress that may have been induced by some brand of pressure that is commonly associated with examinations; I have the good fortune to be fairly resilient towards such discomforts, but was just one of those nights when the mind refuses to rest. So, lacking the ability to hold my eye lids open for any extended period of time I fought, I have to say, less than bravely against the onslaught of sleep. It is strange when consciously you know you must sleep in order to prepare the body for a day of inconvenience the mind itself decides on the contrary and feeds the body with stories to keep itself amused (or on some occasions fretted). Then in the morning it battles for sleep despite the more conscious desire of its host. So, Eyes stinging and half shut I made my way to the shower in an attempt to halt the advance of tiredness and sleep and, after half heartedly readying myself, wandered into the cold in the direction of the University.

The road was busy. Line after line of people, young and old, eyes to the pavement, brushed past at speed, presumably on their way to their respective occupations without time nor mind to comprehend the world around them. Only a certain few had an air of contentedness around them, many appeared disgruntled and inconvenienced, perhaps at the prospect of another day very much the same as the last. Some simply did not seem conscious at all, on auto-pilot; if they did not think on what they spent their time, their days, their months, their years, doing they would not feel obliged to burden the discomfort of change. Lorries, one after another bellowed past with an aggressive growl and forceful push of wind as if seeking some sort of confrontation, like a powerful creature of the wild in search of its prey, only far from as alive and further from as enchanting. On completing about half my journey the grey clouds began to shower us with their rain, as if to add a mocking touch to the already uneasy atmosphere of the morning ritual into which, this day, I had entered myself. The rain was not in quantity enough to cause discomfort as such, nor to saturate, nor to even affect the temperature. It merely succeeded in bringing a frown to the faces of those that started the day by entering it.
On arrival, ten minutes early, at the room in which I was to endure the formality, my fellow examinees and I were told to leave again in order for preparations for the exam to begin. I could only question (to myself), somewhat irritably, why such preparation had not taken place while time was ample enough to prepare. Not only this but when the room was ready for us to enter there were not enough seats for us all and a group, including myself, were filed off into another room. Eventually I was instructed to begin the test. Eighty multiple choice questions which were, it has to be said, not exactly challenging. So, with the consciousness of a machine I, at constant pace, mechanically worked my way through each question without much activity of thought. Due to this lack of activity the tiredness that I had struggled to repress earlier crept back into my body as slowly and as quietly as a thief to his prize.
With no more than half an hour consumed by the exam I had completed it and left the room. On contemplation with what to do with myself in the time following, while slowly making my way back down the stairs towards the building’s exit, I found myself in need of a good, hot coffee. Unusual to my person the nature of this requirement was more than compelling and so I found myself searching my pockets for the rarity (as is the case of many a student) of money. To both expectation and disappointment I found nothing but a few pence. I checked my wallet on the off chance there would be a note remaining from a past expenditure of which I no longer paid any mind but again, nothing. With no real intention, nor motivation to proceed on the usual post University visit course home I, rather unconsciously, began wandering the campus with no particular destination in mind except the vague notion of perhaps a cash machine some distance away (but with a desire not to break a note for the sake of one coffee this notion remained vague).
On passing my school within the University the idea came to me to have a read of the notice board for anything that could be important. The selection of courses for next year was one such issue that came into thought. The idea gave me purpose, however brief, and purpose felt good. It legitimised my being there and sped up my walking somewhat. However no notices at all were posted and as quickly as direction had filled my day it vacated it. So, a continuation of plan A persisted and I continued walking.
On a second inspection of my wallet, due to the fact I needed to preserve the value of my bank account and hoped that I might have missed some money on first inspection I discovered what, at that moment could have been compared to a gem. A Costa Coffee Reward Card: “buy 9 coffees and get the 10th free!” To my surprise it had nine stamps on it from nine coffees purchased. Quickly, and without thought, I doubled back on myself and quickened my pace towards the Costa Coffee stand, fearing somewhat that my voucher may have expired. When I reached the shop they assured me that the card was still valid and I could have what I chose. I chose a free large coffee and a smile to go, and began the walk home with a spring in my step.

The Start of a Good Day.

Jonathan Henderson

Newton Stewart, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

Observation of unconscious mind.

Artwork Comments

  • Roger Sampson
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