I am in Oman. Oman is a hot and sunny country. It is day time, and it must be thirty Celsius in the shade. But I am shivering. You see, I am inside. I am sat in an office. I am sat at a desk that looks like pretty much any other desk in any other office any where in the world. It is the top floor of this building, but because the windows are small, I, like everybody else on this floor, depends on fluorescent strip lighting, like you might find anywhere in the world, in order to see what I am working on. The fluorescent strips are a lot less bright than the sunshine outside. And I am shivering. The air conditioning is on, and for whatever reason it must be aimed at my seat, so I am shivering. I could walk over to the wall and turn the air conditioning down, but you can guarantee that within ten minutes somebody from the other side of the floor will come along and turn it up again. So I just go outside now and then to warm up. I am in a hot sunny country and I have to go outside to warm up and get some natural light. And they say the world is running out of energy. Work that one out.
By all rights, I should be the last person on this floor that feels the cold. One way you can tell this office is in Muscat, the capital of Oman, and not Brisbane or Grimsby, is by looking at what people are wearing. Omani outfits have, over hundreds of years, been perfected to keep people cool. They are long and airy. I, in contrast, am wearing the usual boring Western long-sleeved shirt and trousers combo. So my clothing should be warmer than the local outfits. Perhaps, though, they have a critical edge on me, what with wearing hats. The Omanis all wear hats or scarves, so perhaps they are saving a lot of the heat from their heads in their hats, whilst all the heat from my head does is try to defeat the air conditioning’s thermostat in a futile battle. My head, hot as it may be will never win in a straight contest with the air conditioning, unless they run out of oil in Oman, which will not be for a while yet.
I often think the world is just wrong. Not “wrong, but we can understand why”. Not “wrong, but there is a reason why we do things like that”. Not “wrong, but there are mitigating circumstances”. Just wrong. Take, as an example, when Brits go on holidays abroad. Britain is nice in summer, or at least nicer. It is awful the rest of the time. British people go to other countries at exactly the time of year when Britain is the nicest it will be. One of the disadvantages of living in Britain is that you cannot enjoy outdoor activities in Britain all that much. There is nothing better than a bit of fun with friends when the weather is nice, having a picnic or enjoying a kickabout in the park. If only your friends were not on holiday. So instead of Brits going out, enjoying the summer, and being sociable with friends, we hang out with strangers in a foreign country.
Why do we all have to work during the day? A lot of jobs are better done during the day, when you can see what you are doing. Why do all the jobs where people sit in offices, bathed in artificial light, have to happen during the day? Today, I will be going home at the same time as everybody else in this office. Taking the traffic jam home, I will see the sun set. I will have spent the whole day in artificial light, and then, in my private time, rely upon artificial light. If I enjoyed myself during the day, and worked only at night, then I could get natural light for half of the time, instead of none of it. That would save energy, as well as making me happy. It would not make any difference to my work, except that there would be nobody else around to work with (unless people start thinking like me).
If people did not go to work at the same time, there would be less traffic congestion, less time wasted, and less fuel burned whilst going nowhere. We would need fewer roads and fewer ugly car parks. If people took their holidays at different times, the airlines could make a more reliable profit all the year around, instead of needing to charge a fortune in summer in order to cover their losses during the rest of the year. Beautiful countries would not need to be scarred by so many concrete hotels, and people working in tourism would have a more consistent source of income the whole year around. When I was young, my teachers said everybody is a unique individual. It does not seem to be working out like that.
Thinking the way I do, I thought I might set up yet another website, just dedicated to observations, called ‘What Is Wrong With The World’. It would basically be a list of what is wrong with the world, but perhaps you guessed at that already. It does not matter if anyone takes notice. I am not pretending to be Martin Luther, pinning my theses somewhere everybody can read them. It would just be nice to know if there is anyone who thinks like me, or whether I really do live in a world where everyone else thinks there is no way to improve on working during the day or taking your holidays during summer.
There is a Harry Hill joke which I often think about but find hard to tell in a funny way. I was in hysterics when I heard it, but I think you had to be there when Harry told it. The joke involves Harry’s father opening up a bed shop, called ‘Beds Beds Beds’. There is a guy with a shop around the corner already called ‘Beds Beds Beds’ so Harry’s dad changes the name to ‘Beds Beds Beds Beds’ instead. The guy around the corner sees his dad’s shop, and did not like his competitor getting one up on him, so he changes the name of his shop to ‘Beds Beds Beds Beds Beds’. Harry’s dad then changes his shop to ‘Beds Beds Beds Beds Beds Beds’. That is pretty much the gag except it goes on a lot longer – to the point where you either holding your aching sides and the tears rolling down your cheeks, or you left a half hour ago, wondering why anyone thinks Harry Hill is funny. I think I like it because it makes a point about people being the same no matter how silly the consequences are.
I thought ‘What Is Wrong With The World’ lends itself to quite a snappy URL, so I looked to see if www.www.com or www.wwww.com had been taken. They had. So has www.wwwww.com. So has www.wwwwww.com. So has www.wwwwwww.com. So has www.wwwwwwww.com. So has www.wwwwwwwww.com. By this point, I was thinking it was getting ridiculous. I mean, who wants a website where the URL is nine consecutive w’s? Like nobody is ever going to mistype it and end up at www.wwwwwwww.com instead, and you nobody is going to get confused when hearing it over the telephone…
“The phone crackled. I missed that last bit.”
“And what was before that?”
“Instead of just reading out a lot of w’s, why didn’t you just tell me it was nine w’s?”
“Because I thought you might type www.9doubleyous.com by mistake”
“That’s what I said, nine w’s”
“No, I meant 9 double yous”
“That’s what I said”
Of course, nobody does want a website called www.wwwwwwwww.com or www.wwwwwwww.com or even plain www.www.com. They all got bought by people who want to make money from spam links or by selling the domain to somebody else who really wants the name. Yup, the ticket touts of the internet world, who register a domain just so they can sell it on to somebody else, had the creative juices flowing on that day…
“You know what, we should register the sequence from three w’s dot com to nine w’s dot com.”
“Why would anyone want a URL like 9doubleyous.com? Is it supposed to be some kind of gambling site?”
“I meant www.wwwwwwwww.com”
“Why didn’t you just say so?”
These internet tout parasites think the world owes them a living because they have the time and resources to mindlessly drive up the price for anyone who wants to do something useful before they die. There are so many parasites in the world today, sucking blood out of anyone they can find, that it is hard to find anyone who just does a hard and honest day’s work. It sure is not me. Remember, I am the guy who wandered around outside to warm up. Arguably I should warm up by typing faster. Wandering outside, instead of working, I was thinking of this blog, and not what I was paid to think about. But it worked out even as I inadvertently thought about work the previous evening. As I was wandering outside, enjoying the Omani sunshine (note to self: bring sunglasses to work tomorrow) I started wondering why did the domain touts stopped at nine. Why not ten w’s? Perhaps they missed a trick. Perhaps I had better buy it before someone else does. Or maybe I will get 3doubleyous.com instead.