If you read a business publication from ten to fifteen years ago the chances are you'd have encountered the phrase "paperless office". The idea was that with the internet and electronic documents, the Office of the Future would be a sterile environment free of the clutter of documents. Imaging companies like Canon and HP produced document management peripherals which ate incoming paper from big sheetfeeders and squirted their electronic images across a network connection for storage. The more out-there companies would attach them to shredders so a document scanned would disappear and exist only in electronic form.
Of course, it hasn't quite come to pass. Those imaging companies are still making a lot of cash selling printers to add to the never-ending pile and most offices are just as awash with paper as they were in the nineties. Except mine, that is. I own a very nice printer, a HP Business Inkjet, but I've barely used it for ages.
Today I had a large document to print: a couple of copies of the NHS guidance for GPs on the care of gender variant people, I am going to present my GP with a copy on Wednesday. Trouble is, my HP wasn't playing ball. All its colours came out with stripes in them, it needs new printheads because I've not used it enough. My only other option, off to my parents' house to borrow their Samsung laser. Which turns out to be full of cat hair and have a creaky sheetfeeder. So I spent my afternoon coaxing it into printing something that should have been done in twenty minutes.
Today wasn't all bad though. It's a British thing, we're very proud of the BBC. As I drove to my parents' place I was listening to the Food Programme on Radio 4, a report from the Slow Food Festival. Featured was a Polish salted and smoked sheeps cheese, Oscypek. Damn that stuff sounded good, I want some! Not available in the UK though. Shame I no longer have the British Polish ex-colleague who brought me back some cheap wodka a few years ago in my contacts book.
In a moment of role reversal tonight my wife's on the carpet in front of the TV wearing trousers and drinking beer, suddenly a hockey pundit, while I'm wearing a skirt, curled up on the sofa and only half listening to the Olympic commentary.