Enraged Malingering

Nicholas Quirke was in the mood for malingering on 28 July 2021 after the disturbed night he had been through. Pausing to take breath was something he had almost forgotten how to do, always thinking about what he could should write and now that he had a specified date to depart it was starting to feel like a chore to record his day in a memorable fashion for himself. It did not help that he was feeling listless after his wakeful night and to allow some recovery he chose not to eat that day. Adding to the mood were a number of administration issues that were raising their head the first being that British Airways had shifted the time of his flight to an earlier departure that coincided with him being in the air and on his way to Hong Kong. This meant he had to cancel the booking and make a new one which, was more expensive and as always when he felt he had been dealt an injustice he was enraged. His levelheaded partner rescued him from the logistical nightmare his mind plunged him into and managed to get a rebooking but that still hadn’t solved booking Covid tests on his return to England and exploring the possibilities enraged him further as he discovered astronomical prices were being asked for tests he had no choice but to take. He had been vaccinated in China with a recognised World Health Organisation vaccine but the UK government would not recognise Sinovac and he faced additional charges as he was not UK immunised. It seemed petty and it seemed like profiteering. To escape the pressure he was putting his mind through he decided to spend the afternoon at 1920 cafe. It would probably be his last time visiting the cafe which had become a regular, happy haunt since he had discovered it on his arrival in Beijing in 2020. On the day 2 February he had first ventured inside it had been virtually empty of customers due to the pandemic and looked relatively uninviting. But he had happily spent the afternoon working and writing and he enjoyed the nostalgia of an afternoon that echoed his first and subsequent visits. After their relative inertia of the day he had experienced he suspected that watching a film, ‘Meander’, set in a pipe might bore him and add to the ennui of the day but there were enough thrills throughout and the sense of claustrophobia that was created really made him feel uncomfortable and he was not a claustrophobic. There was no way out for the heroine and he hoped she was happy in the end with the outcome. He could always rely on a sleepless night to prepare him for a marathon slumber the next day and he certainly had no problem losing consciousness that night. An early night though always made for an early rise and he woke feeling hungry after his enforced fast. He started the day with a smoothie, some sesame cake and a flogurt and eating was truly on his mind. When Peng suggested visiting ‘The Cheesecake Factory’ at Wangfujing to benefit from their half price offer he happily acceded. He was happy to cycle but by the time they left the rain had started again and they walked to the subway. It was the plan to eat first but when they arrived at the restaurant it was full and to save time they went oriental Plaza Mall to get the cake. By the time they reached the 3third level they could see the queue for the store stretching along the building and it looked like it was going nowhere fast. The plan to buy the ridiculously overpriced cakes was aborted and they walked back to the restaurant avoiding the excessive puddles that had accumulated in the road. They found a couple of seats and ordered noodles, some stinky tofu, a spring onion bing and a glutinous rice desert. With the exception of a long walk along the plaza to Peets for afternoon tea the remainder of the day was relatively inactive and only the film title ‘Jolt’ separated it from countless other evenings he spent on the sofa indulging in his favourite pastime. The film was a lot less nasty than he expected it to be and he found himself against his desire to be emotionally involved in the fairly predictable story even though it’s premise of self immolation was distasteful to watch. He felt a little sad that Kate Beckinsale seemed to have transformed her looks into those of a Barbie doll and he spent much of the film wondering how small a role Susan Sarandon must have had as her appearance as a character with no name had passed without him noticing till she hit the screen and he realised that there would definitely be a sequel to look forward to. Pondering on her career and why she seemed to have been out of the limelight for a number of years seemed to be a suitable subject for sleep.

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