Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Diary of a worker (1980)

From the November 1980 issue of the Socialist Standard

Woke up. Went to work. Came home, had tea. Switched on box, sat down, fell asleep. Woke up, switched off box, went to bed. Couldn't sleep, finally dropped off at 1 o'clock.

Six o'clock alarm went off. Dragged myself out of bed. Missed bus, late for work. Came home, had tea, switched on box, load of rubbish on a Tuesday. Watched a programme called The Voyage of the Beagle which I thought was a Walt Disney adventure story. Turned out to be about someone called Darwin collecting bugs. Fell asleep in the armchair. Woke up, switched off telly and went to bed. Couldn't sleep, so read Penthouse instead.

Prayed for alarm not to go off. Alarm went off. Pulled myself out of bed. Quick cup of tea and some toast. Switched on tranny for time check. Disc jockey gibbering away. Switched off quickly. Dashed out to bus stop, missed bus, late for work. Bit of excitement in work today. The management was holding a presentation for old Dobbs, who was retiring after fifty years service with the firm; gave us a break from the usual boring routine. They presented him with a digital alarm clock, guaranteed for ten years, which means it will probably last longer than he will. Came home, had tea, switched on the television. Catastrophe! Telly wasn't working. Slumped in chair completely stunned. Too numb to gave a catnap, so I decided to read the Sun which I didn't have time to do in the tea break. Finally decided to have an early night. Couldn't sleep, so I decided to try counting sheep, only trouble was that they all seemed to have old Dobb's face.

Hoped the alarm was broken. Alarm not broken. Crawled out of bed, had breakfast. Jones next door offered to give me a lift into work every morning in exchange for my giving him petrol money, which meant that I could have an extra half-hour in bed every morning. Sauntered out of house and climbed into car. Car wouldn't start. Climbed back out again. Missed bus, late for work. Got a red-hot tip from a man at work whose cousin drinks in the same pub as a man who works in a stable, so at dinner time I nipped out to the bookie's and stuck a pound each way on Dangling Carrot running in the three-fifteen at Doncaster. Horse got beaten by a nose. Came home, had tea. Television fixed. Switched on, sat down. Good night for television. Fred and Ginger tripping the light fantastic. Fell asleep. Woke up, switched off box, went to bed. Finally dropped off at two.

Hoped alarm would fail to go off. Alarm failed to go off. Panic. Jumped out of bed, threw on clothes and rushed out. Quick "Good morning" to Jones's bum sticking out of from under bonnet. Missed bus, late for work. Read in the paper today about a chap who had just won three quarters of a million pounds on the football pools. Too much money for one person. They should divide it up into lots of smaller prizes so that more people would have a better chance of winning. Besides, you couldn't be happy with all that money. Look at all those stories you read about how unhappy rich people are.

Got another sure-fire tip today, this time from the canteen lady whose granny plays the ouija board; Pie In the Sky running in the two-thirty at Lingfield. Since I got paid I could afford two pounds each way. Unfortunately, it didn't have a prayer. Came home, had tea. No telly tonight, instead went up the pub. Had a few pints, played darts, had another few points . . . staggered home, went to bed, no problem falling asleep.

Fell out of bed before alarm went off. Too ill to have breakfast. Actually managed to catch the bus and was congratulating myself when I remembered that I don't work on a Saturday. Back up the pub tonight. Lively and interesting discussion about whether that last goal was offside at today's match, and then down to the serious business of playing our darts league match. Out of the pub and into the Chinese take-away, then home in time for the late-night double movie bill: Carry on Wage-Slave followed by: The Night of the Blood Sucking Parasite.

Best day of the week. Walked round to the pub for a couple of pints before dinner. Afterwards it was such a nice day, I decided to stroll home through the park so that I could work up an appetite for my favourite meal, that traditional English dinner of roast soya beef, and instant Yorkshire pudding. I was crossing the square when I spotted this guy up on a soap-box, so I stopped for a laugh. He was talking about a world without money! What a load of rubbish. I was going to stay and shoot down all his commie arguments but then I realised that it was almost time for Match of the Day so I decided instead to leave with one really witty parting shot, I shouted: "Why don't you go back to Russia?!" Nobody laughed. They were probably all Commies too. Imagine, a world without money! No money to buy all the things you want. Doesn't bear thinking about. Arrive home to see Jones's feet sticking out from beneath his car. He asked me if I was going back round for a few pints later on. Mumbled an excuse about having to something in the house. Actually, I didn't want to admit that I'd spent the last of my pocket money, so I stayed in and watched the telly instead. Some good films showing on a Sunday night, only trouble is that they are on too late. Went to bed. Couldn't sleep. Very restless tonight, kept thinking about that guy and his world without money. Told me that I was a slave! Crazy. I'm free to do what I like. Eventually dropped off to sleep at three . . . at six the alarm went off . . .

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