Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pros and Constantinople

Sorry about not doing the promised memory-writing last night. I was so tired that I went to bed at half past seven, and then woke up at half past three this morning (possibly posessed by the spirit of my late father, who always slept those kinds of hours, probably as some kind of revenge for writing yesterday about wearing my old coat instead of the leather jacket that he bought me). I got up, had a bath, had breakfast, checked my emails, went back to bed and slept again for another few hours. And I've spent most of the day lounging around doing nothing, which was great.

You've probably noticed I'm not in Istanbul. I spent quite some time weighing up the good and bad points of going or not going, and ultimately the option that involved not getting out of bed won. And so then I did get out of bed and went to Nottingham, just so that the world wouldn't think I'm lazy. But I only spent a couple of hours there, before coming home and changing into my pyjamas again - it sounds weird, I know, but I really DO need to spend a day in bed after a memory championship (which I didn't do yesterday, because I went out to do an interview with Radio Derby and spent most of the day hanging around in the city). Sitting around for three days remembering numbers physically exhausts me.

I might still find the best last-minute price and fly out there tomorrow - tomorrow is just the optional sight-seeing tour of Istanbul, the competition's on Saturday and Sunday - but I think it's more likely that I won't. Haven't completely decided yet, but here's my thinking behind it at the moment:

It occurred to me today that my number one reason for going there is because there's a pretty good chance that I would win $4,500. And if I'm doing something mainly because it would involve getting money... it just offends my sensibilities somehow. I got lots of money from the World Championship, enough to pay off those credit cards that keep sending me rude letters and have a bit to spare for future credit card splurges, so I don't need an extra two or three grand. And I'm very much not a professional memory man. Sure, there's also the hanging out with people aspect, but it's only Gunther, Andi and Boris from the memory world, and I saw them last weekend, plus the mental calculation people, who I mostly don't know all that well. And there are people right here (okay, mostly on the internet), who I haven't hung out enough with over the last couple of months. And then there's the wanting-the-Memoriad-to-be-a-big-success aspect, but I don't really think my presence or otherwise is going to make an impact. It's always going to get a lot more coverage in Germany than over here, so it'd probably be a good thing if Gunther or Boris win gold medals. Besides, I took too much of the prize fund at the WMC, it'd be greedy not to let them have a share.

And there's the rather embarrassing reason not to go - I find that I genuinely care about my job. And if I fly back from Istanbul on Monday and go into the office on Tuesday, I will be rubbish for the rest of the week. I will make a horrible mess of the monthly wastage analysis, which I care about even if nobody else does, and I'll be falling asleep at my desk and wishing I was at home. Whereas if I spend the next four days lounging around, I'll be fed up with being at home and positively delighted to be at the office!

So, it's about 75% probable that I won't go to the Memoriad after all. We'll see how I feel tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I really, really will write about the World Memory Championship! At great length! Tonight, or tomorrow, or both!

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