The cursor blinks. With my head bent, I stare at a screen of almost uninterrupted white. My eyes roam over summarily described research results. I type hesitantly, adding a few more words. I know roughly what I want to say, but not quite clearly enough to actually get it down in writing.
My bladder is complaining. I have to go to the toilet; it’s impossible to write with a full bladder. I flush and return to my chair. Let me see, how shall I continue? An email lands in my inbox, a very important one. It needs an answer right away. The cursor blinks. That’s good, that sentence is almost the way I want it. I’ll just read an article on this subject then I’ll know exactly what I want to write. Huh? I already need to go to the toilet again. And I can’t write with a full bladder. I look at the screen. Wait, I still have a seminar to organize. The hotel for the speaker hasn’t yet been booked. I must do that first. I stare at my words. And the restaurant, I might as well reserve that right away.
I look up the number of the Thai and press a couple of buttons on my telephone. No, better not, perhaps the speaker prefers another restaurant. It is dark outside. I look at the words I have written today. I sigh. No, that isn’t it either. I select them all and press ‘Delete’. Done. And I do need to go to the toilet.
My colleagues are going home. I get a chocolate milk because I’m hungry. Besides, it is too late for coffee. I wouldn’t be able to sleep and tomorrow I’d achieve nothing. The cursor blinks. The cleaning lady comes in, ‘You here again? It’s late, you know.’ ‘Yes,’ I say, ‘I’m really busy’. She nods understandingly. I stare at my screen. The cursor blinks.
Stijn van Gils (27) is doing doctoral research on ecosystem services in agriculture. Every month he describes his struggles with the scientific system.