We are so used to reading texts about one's routines: "I get up, I take my shower, have breakfast, and go to school/work..." I have always wondered if one could find a more authentic text about one's daily routines, very different, yet very human. This weekend I have been reading an autobiography by Rebecca Walker "Black, White and Jewish," and have come across an excerpt where she writes about her daily routines in a very unusual way. Please, read it, complete the assignments below, and practice reading with the audio. Note the use of the Present Simple tense. [The extract is published with the permission of the author].
"I don't have a daily routine, some set of rituals I perform without fail that give shape and body to my days and, by extension, my life. I don't wake up to an alarm, make coffee or squeeze juice, read the paper, watch the Weather Channel, climb into my car and go to work. There's no unchanging workplace, the desk with the phone, the coworkers going in and out of the mailroom, polite conversations breaking up the monotony, concentration broken by glances at the clock. When the clock strikes or the sun goes down, I don't get back in my car or onto the subway. I don't arrive home, leaf through my mail, start supper, watch a little telly, and make a few calls. I don't climb into my bed, thumb some magazines, and drift off to my slumber, only to get up in eight to ten and start the whole thing again. I don't relax into a routine, I don't embrace a schedule. That is not my life". (Rebecca Walker, Black, White and Jewish: Autobiography of Shifting Self. NY: Riverhead Books, p. 166).Assignment 1: Observation - general information while reading. Answer the following questions about this extract:
- How is this description of one's daily routines different from others you have read?
- Based on the extract, talk about a daily list of the things that Rebecca does NOT do?
- What do you think about a life without a schedule or daily routines? (You can leave your answers to this question in the comments line).
Assignment 2: Digging deeper. Look at the following words and expressions and translate them into Russian.
- perform without fail
- by extension
- to break up the monotony
- concentration broken by glances
- to leaf mail
- to watch a little telly
- to thumb some magazines
- to drift off to one's slumber
- to embrace a schedule
Assignment 3: Find expressions in the Present Simple tense. Mark the negative and the positive ones, write them out in your notebook.
Assignment 4: Practice reading the extract with the audio below.