My new job has lots of nice elements, one of these is that you’re strongly encouraged to take your whole lunch hour. I’ve fallen into the habit of spending a good proportion of it outside, my office is located in Central London so there are plenty of places to go and browse. Today however I moved from my desk to the student common room and spent the hour sitting at a computer doing some work of my own that needed to be done. It was as I was on the train home that I realised how tired I was feeling, the same sort of tired I’ve felt in other jobs when I’ve ended up not getting away from my computer for any time during the day.
I decided this evening to do something about it. My Fitbit was showing I was a bit short of my new personal target, the weather was dry and mild, so I pulled on my jacket and boots and got walking. I turned left out of my building, I turn right every day to go to work and so there’s a whole half of the area I live in that I haven’t really seen yet. I started walking, and my thoughts turned to the day.
Social media’s been abuzz with election chatter for weeks now. I’ve observed it but haven’t really engaged, a combination of barely being able to keep up with any social media as I adjust to my new life, and a feeling of not having a lot to add to what’s already being said. Yes, today I’ve tweeted about voting, and hit the I voted button on Facebook, but that’s as much. I’ve been thinking a lot about it though, plenty about who to vote for and plenty about voting as a whole.
While I walked I passed 3 polling stations. Each of them had people on their way in to cast their vote and people leaving having done so. None of them had obvious queues though when my flatmate went to ours earlier on this evening she said there were two fairly significant queues for the two wards based there. Every group of people I passed were talking about the election, from groups of friends on their way out of the local sports fields to a group I spotted of strangers who’d stopped to chat – inspired I assume from the elderly vicar’s visible sticker proclaiming that he’d voted Labour.
My thoughts turned to my grandad after seeing this particular group. This is the first general election since he died, and whilst I always feel his absence it’s obviously on significant days that I feel it the most. My grandad, you see, is responsible for much of my interest in politics, he was active in local politics for years, and the older I got the more politics entered our discussions. He was always a patient and interested conversational partner, and even when I was pretty young and naive never dismissed what I had to say instead choosing to take the opportunity to encourage me to learn and grow. I found myself imagining the discussions we’d have had over the last few months if he’d still been here. I can imagine all too well what his reactions would have been to many of the goings on, and I know like me he’d have felt a real sense of concern about what the count will bring.
This general election is going to be the first in a while that sees me not watching any of the count. I was actually involved in the 1997 count, and then watched many hours of the coverage for the next three. My job is particularly busy at the moment so there’s no annual leave allowed. It’s a shame, if I could I would have booked tomorrow off and sat up for as long as I could stay awake. Instead I will simply have to go to sleep and wake up to see where things will stand.
*The title of this was almost entirely influenced by the song I Wonder as I Wander – one of the male voice choirs my school choir used to regular share concert bills with sang this song and I could never work out if they were thinking whilst walking or vice versa, the two words sound exactly the same in my accent.