Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Dedicated Follower of Slacking

Dossing is an art. And I am a Grand Wizard of the Doss.

Most people (mistakenly) believe that dossing is just pissing away hour after hour on nothing at all. You know, shirking work.

I disagree. I think dossing is useful, practical and, occasionally, essential. Because, to me, dossing is using time for yourself, catering to your own desires, satiating your own curiosity, feeding your own mind, and neglecting everyone else’s bullshit.

Follow me down this cul-de-sac of rationalisation: I’m a writer. But…I don’t know what it’s like to get shot. I don’t know what it feels like falling out of an aeroplane. I haven’t experienced extreme poverty or extreme wealth. I have never been a butler, or a fireman, or an alcoholic, or a circus acrobat, or a rent boy. I don’t know what it’s like living in Arkansas, or Nepal, or in another century, or on another planet. Imagination will take me part of the way there. And the Internet will carry me the rest of the way, in its designated role as my personal database of misinformation, outright lies, shocking facts and amusing nonsense. Its fleshy truths yield and widen to the masterful probing of my fingers, unlocking its secrets with incantations framed as urls.

I am the only one working in my corner of the office this week. Which gives me a five-day window of opportunity to play with my electronic friend. I’ve “acquired” a laptop from a stash in the Server Room, I’ve tricked it out with all the trimmings I need to ply my solitary fun, I’ve hooked it up to a phone line away from the All-Seeing Evil Eye of the corporate firewall, and I let the games begin.

I’m deep into Day Three of my aimless ramble round the Internet, and I feel energised by it. I’ve finally caught up on a teetering slush-pile of unanswered e-mails. I’ve had the world’s news outlets at my disposal (despite the fact that I have no interest in Ozzy Osbourne’s stolen jewellery or Virgin Mary cheese sandwiches). I’ve hit all my favourite websites many times over. I’ve pinballed around the ‘Net from Neil Gaiman’s blog to a James Ellroy interview to a mother who cut off her baby’s arms to a story about a fraudulent film journalist who pretended to interview Stanley Kubrick. And much, much more besides.

My head is buzzing with ideas and inspiration. And I’m still managing to do my job, too.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some surfing to attend to.

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