Alex Farnham's Diary of a Young Professional

Alex Farnham’s Diary of a Young Professional


My flat smells of cat poo. Not just a hint of it either… I’m sad to say it’s fully permeated with the pungent pong of feline faecal matter. I thought kittens were supposed to be cute and dainty and little. How can they produce such large amounts of waste in one sitting? 

Honestly, I’m not even mad – mainly just impressed. You know when fishermen catch massive fish and get a photo standing next to it to boast about the size and weight? That’s what I feel like doing every time I clean out the litter tray. I don’t do that though, because that’s borderline psychotic. The reason I’m even mentioning it is that one of the many things I’ve done in the last month is get kittens, two of them no less! They’ve settled in nicely, they’re adorable, and my hands are covered in scratches.

My other big news is that I got a job! Like, an actual, proper, real job! The temp role I was in lasted two weeks… it was meant to be three, but I got offered a permanent position somewhere else and they wanted me to start ASAP – which I was, and still am, very excited about. I’m on the editorial team in this new place and I’m even doing a bit of writing and amateur reporting. I’m not a journalist, but what’s cool is that they’ve got me jet setting all over the place to meet people and go to events and all that jazz. Already, in the space of one month I’ve been to London twice, Chichester and even ventured as far north as Birmingham! Maybe jet setting is a bit strong… Let’s just call it train trundling.

I do enjoy a bit of train trundling, and I’m a fairly frequent rail-user. One might even say I’m a train enthusiast… actually, one had better not… they don’t call me ‘Cool-Guy Farnham’ for nothing – I’ve got a reputation to maintain. Anyway, in the first few weeks of my new job I’ve been doing it even more than usual. These trips, it seems, are going to be an on-going occurrence, which is great because the more I do it, the more I get to witness strange happenings and overhear surreal conversations. Off the top of my head, the two occasions that stand out are the old man explaining to the young boy why he wasn’t allowed to go back in time. (He actually said ‘you’re not allowed to’, rather than ‘it’s not physically possible’.) It was beautiful and poetic and I spent the whole journey eavesdropping into their conversation, which developed into the young boy asking if the speed of light was quicker than the speed of putting food in your mouth and then tasting it. What a little weirdo. The other odd incident that springs to mind is when I saw a woman get her phone out of her bag and snap a sneaky pic of the old man sitting next to me. The worst part was that she saw me see her doing it! We shared eye contact for long enough – at least a second – but she didn’t acknowledged the awkwardness of the whole thing! We just had to silently agree to never speak of her strange moment of candid photography and pretend it hadn’t even happened.  Unfortunately I doubt I’ll ever see this woman again, which makes me sad because I really want to know why she was taking a photo of an old man.

“It was beautiful and poetic and I spent the whole journey eavesdropping into their conversation, which developed into the young boy asking if the speed of light was quicker than the speed of putting food in your mouth and then tasting it.”

 I wasn’t happy with just a temp job, and I knew I never would be – hence why I was immediately looking for more substantial work straight away. The place was great and the people were lovely, but I wanted something else, something like this – where I can travel round the country and judge people on trains for wanting to know about time travel, or indulging in their old man fetishes, apparently. I’m extremely lucky I found something so perfect so quickly.

I remember saying in my last Diary of a Young Professional that I was missing Bath and university and all that sad stuff that nobody else cares about. I still do miss all of that, but now I’m spending more time looking ahead instead of behind me.

It’s refreshing, looking forward to waking up in the morning, rather than wishing it was the night before. Last time we were talking about the meaning of the phrase ‘young professional’, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I suppose (even though I still don’t know what it means) I feel closer to knowing than I did last month, which is a big weight off my mind because I was starting to get worried about running out of things to talk about. I can feel the beginnings of an optimistic itch, and I think this feature may well start to reveal itself to be more focussed and meaningful, developing along with my new and exciting career.

With any luck, maybe soon I won’t have to write about the size and smell of my cat’s poo. Is this too ambitious? Maybe. A man can dream though, can’t he?

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