Everyone has those days that they plan out in their head to be the most productive day in the history of productive days, right?
Like when you take a two-week holiday from work, and you decide that the first day off is going to be the one where you just forget about life and fun and use it to catch up on everything: housework, bill payments, diary entries, Game of Thrones, you name it! Or when you have a random day off in the middle of a super busy period in your life, like when you’re planning a wedding or something, and so you think “this is going to be my day just to relax and let it all go”, and in successfully spending the whole day doing nothing but reading and drinking hot chocolate in your pyjamas, you feel like you did actually accomplish something. Even though, you know, you didn’t really. But everything went according to plan, exactly how you intended and so yeah, mission accomplished.
Then there are those days which you have meticulously planned in your head down to the very last second. Those days that you are sure by the end of, you’ll be deserving your own medal and TV show on Home & Health about how to be a badass productive thing-doer. Those days that you have such high hopes for, but in the end it all goes to pot.
Today was one of those days for me.
I had a 9-hour stopover at Taiwan en route to Beijing from LA.
The plane landed at 6am and the next one wasn’t due to leave until 15:45, so it wasn’t exactly the right kind of timeframe for me to take a nap on the airport windowsill and not get judged. It’s a daytime stopover, which is the ideal time to actually do something.
I could have left the airport.
It wouldn’t have been too much bother – no visa required for British citizens so it would have been a simple case of filling out one of those Landing Cards and toddling off out of there.
But I chose not to leave, and resigned myself to 9-and-a-bit hours of pacing the airport corridors.
This is partly to do with the fact that I’m pinching pennies at the moment due to being a teensy bit too cash-happy in LA, and partly because I was in a strop with the China Airlines representative because she basically accused me of trying to illegally enter China, and so when she asked if I planned to leave the airport so she could give me one of those Landing Cards, I snapped “no, I’m staying here” without really thinking.
Fast forward about two minutes and I kind of regretted my hastiness, although it didn’t work out too bad in the end.
Taoyuan International Airport is a nice airport. It has comfortable seats, plenty of places to charge things and the BEST super free WiFi ever! Super free meaning that you don’t have to do that annoying put your email address in this box every thirty minutes thing that most airports make you do. It just works – no signing in, no paying, just connect and voila.
So yeah. Nine hours of waiting around.
You can do a lot in nine hours.
Most working days aren’t even that long, a school day falls short of that, and it’s (unfortunately) more than I sleep in one night.
So knowing in advance that I’d have this time, I was mentally prepared to GET %$!# DONE!
The plan was to find a nice quiet corner tucked away somewhere with a comfy seat and a plug point at arm’s reach, maybe buy a hot chocolate and hide away for the whole nine-and-a-bit hours.
I was going to finally back up all of my photos from Latin America and LA to my Dropbox account. I was going to get some translation assignments done. I was going to write a heap of witty, informative blog posts full of awesome pictures that everybody would want to read because they want to and not because I told them to. I was going to finally sit down and sort out my SEO. I was going to watch YouTube videos on how to say please and thank you in both forms of Chinese just so I don’t seem like a completely unappreciative tool when I get to China. I was going to download a decent VPN thingamajig so I can at least blog when in China. I was going to cancel a bunch of Direct Debits that have no use to my life anymore. I was going to read a hundred Buzzfeed articles to catch up on current affairs because that’s the only newsource I read these days (don’t judge!). I was going to fill in the fancy diary I bought at Staples in LA, using it to devise a whole schedule for blog posts and a budget plan for, well, my life.
Do you think I did any of the above?
Did I heck?!
I did find myself a nice quiet corner and it was lovely! It was in random room hidden away up some stairs in Terminal 1; it had a burnt orange couch, a breakfast bar and stools, a few iPads screwed down to the table and 2 conveniently located plug points. There was just me and one other man, both of us charging up our phones, me on my laptop and him using one of the iPads to search for a new fridge.
It was absolute bliss until people began traipsing in one by one to stare out of the window oohing and aahing at the view. A below-average view, I must add.
But the rest of it?
Not. A. Chance.
In all fairness to myself, I did start to upload all of my pictures but then my wire started being all temperamental and I got distracted admiring my Simpsons family portraits anyway.
I didn’t actually get offered any translation assignments, so not checking that one off of the list is not my fault.
I signed into WordPress, replied to a few comments, started to type up a new post and swiftly got distracted reading other blogs. They were all so amazing and fancy and swish that I got the biggest case of blog envy and started looking up all the different self-hosting options so I can get a fresh and crisp custom template like all the self-hosted big kids have. You know, the ones with the huuuuuuge Instagram bar at the bottom of the screen. I want that. Me and my Instagram obsession would definitely have a little hyperventilate-with-happiness skit if that became reality.
So I was a few clicks away from signing my soul away to the devil and paying $100,000,000,000 a month for the privilege of abandoning WordPress before I remembered that I can barely afford anything from the McSavers menu at the moment and so it would probably be a VERY bad idea.
What else did I do?
I bought a chicken burger at Burger King because they didn’t have a vegetarian option and I couldn’t understand any of the menus from any of the other places. I don’t know how much I paid for said chicken burger though, because exchange rates confuse me. And exchange rates in a language that use a whole different alphabet confuse me even more.
I smiled at a Taiwanese kid and in return he tipped his hat to me like a train conductor from an old-style black-and-white movie, I walked up and down the airport repeatedly on those moving floor travelator things like they had on Gladiator and I also ate almost a whole share-size bag of Starburst jelly beans (otherwise known as Starburst joosters – remember those bad boys!?). I got them in LA, so where I say share-size I actually mean house-size. I could feel my teeth decaying a little more with every little bean of juicy goodness, and it was marvellous.
Finally, I spent about 2 hours trying to persuade my friend in the UK to fly over to India for a week or so to visit me. I don’t know why I keep inviting people to India as if it’s mine to offer. Lol, it’s not. But I really hope the Kerala Tourism Board takes note of my efforts and hires me soon.
Oh, and I downloaded the VPN thing-a-ma-jig too.
So yeah, to conclude, there is no actual point to this post other than to make me feel like I actually accomplished something today. I’m still at Taiwan airport, and my flight isn’t for another 45 minutes, so the lack of productivity in my day could change yet!
In my head I’m going to save it. I’m going to get to Beijing on time, find my hotel with ease (lol, yeah right) and spend a good few hours before bed blogging and editing photos and translating words and being the super productive freelance person I aspire to be.
But in reality I know what will actually happen is I will buy Pringles (or their Chinese brother) from the nearest shop, eat the whole tube and then fall asleep watching Chinese soap operas because no doubt the VPN will fail on me.