To pull the curtain back a bit, I always end up doing this last – not because they’re hard (they’re not), not because I don’t like doing them (I do) but because that’s just always how it ends up. I have to pour through around 50,000 words of mostly other people’s writing every fortnight, in a two/three day period, so when a break comes along I, surprisingly, typically opt to eat or sleep rather than write some of my own. To really pull the curtain back, I usually don’t even know what I’m going to write about until I start; this is where this issue is different.
To fully describe the weekends where the Express “goes to print,” I really have to start on Thursday. By Thursday evening I get whatever’s in Byline ‘across my desk’. I give each page, each line, each word (okay, maybe not that far) a detailed look, then send it off to Beth, our wonderful designer. Between then & Saturday night I herd the veritable ‘mass of cats’ that are the rest of the Express staff towards their deadline of around 6pm on Saturday. And after pouring through all that was written, those pages too are sent off to design on Sunday, and I rest. Joke, I spend the next few days stressing until I know the paper has been printed. Bundles arrive safely in UCC on a Tuesday, typically, to be sent out (or stolen) around campus.
Now the other weekend, my “weekend off,” is the one I really want to talk about. Last Saturday I spent the day in bed. Not sleeping or doing anything fun, mind you, but lying down: unable to sleep, and in tremendous pain. I won’t go into specific details, but basically I suffer from a few disabilities: some physical, some mental, but all cause or are caused by constant fatigue and chronic pain. While the ‘1-10 pain scale’ is an arbitrary, subjective scale, I have to use it to get across how my life goes: while walking around, day-to-day, I generally have a ‘background hum’ of about 3 at all times, I’m never not in pain. That Saturday spent in bed it was a solid 9; I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t talk. The most I could do is roll around in my bed, gritting my teeth. And I’m not the only one.
Just going from one side of UCC to the other can make a massive difference, like taking the stairs to the Radio Station as opposed to getting the lift, or by going to seemingly anything ran by the SU if the Old Bar is to be used as much as it has been; these things could be the difference between ‘a normal Saturday afternoon’ and my Saturday afternoon. And I’m not the only one.