Tag Archives: coffee

In which I found the one thing scarier than interviews

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Filling out forms. Have you ever noticed how scary these things are? Passive aggressive language, legal jargon, pretty big consequences if you make a mistake, (in my case) tight submission deadlines….-shudder- It’s an anxiety attack waiting to happen. Of course all this not-so-internalised drama could be just me craving chips and being too busy to pop by the kitchen and heat some on the microwave… Or me being new to the whole “adult” scene (which is rather sad coming from a freshly-minted 23-year old…).

Regardless! Remember how I used to moan and gripe about my dissertation? I’d like to humbly apologise for that. Compare to my day today, the dissertation is more than relaxing, it’s soothing! And I am at the re-drafting stage! Also affectionately called the bizarro stage where I need to be my own hardest critic if I’m to get any editing done BUT I also need to be my number one fan in order to not convince myself that my baby isn’t going anywhere. Still! With this fine gentleman as my main topic it’s so worth it!

Alright, hold your horses, I’m not just doing Marvel Comics, I do have a degree in Viking (and other stuff) studies to prove my competence on. But modern adaptations play an important role to the overall result.

I’ve also discovered that I can make some damn fine connections and arguments between midnight and 4, dosed up on coffee and chewing dried prunes. If your stomach just rolled a little at the prospect, good! Your lifestyle is probably much healthier than mine. I don’t get it. I’m not a night owl, not by choice. There was this one very memorable instance when I was awake for close to 48 hours, but it was a special case. Maybe my mind goes to sleep and I write whatever my subconscious fancies? It would certainly explain some of my more bizarre grammar choices. Apparently I don’t like the definite article when I’m sleepy. Go figure.

Anyway, I am seriously getting hungry for those cheeps now, so I’ll leave y’all to your own devices.

Peace out-

Veni, Vidi, Trepidati (I came, I saw, I panicked)

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A bit of context please! The following story is based on an “adventure” of sorts I had last year. I might sound unlikely but, yes, it did indeed happen!

Saturday, 26th of October, 4:30

Espresso shots so far: 1, mental awareness: 35% (zombie), panic attacks: 1 (minor)

The special tune in the alarm clock and the obligatory pre-trip nerves appear to be the only reasons I am functioning at this infernal hour. It also appears that caffeine and sugar do not have their fabled WAKE-UP effect on me. Note to self: Do not trust advertisements again.

 

Stumbled over my backpack twice while looking for my hairbrush. Found it under a pile of clothes awaiting ironing. Dread to think how it ended up there. Was under the impression last night that all I would need in the morning was ready to be packed. I stand corrected.

 

6:30

Mental awareness: 45% (systems booting)

Taxi arrived the moment I opened the door. Thank heavens for good timing, or flat mate would have had my head for making noise so early in the morning. Will probably still do when I return… Had to kick the door close. Coffee still in hand, I had to wrestle a backpack and a drawstring bag onto the backseat and then proceed to make pleasant conversation with driver. Now, why do I have a bad feeling I am missing something important?

 

6:45

Mental awareness: 60% (systems loading)

Arrived at the rail station. First thing I noticed was the train on platform, preparing to leave. Yet, it appears I am about an hour early. That can’t be right. Better check with the nice gentleman by the platform doors after I finish my breakfast.

 

6:46

Mental awareness: 115% (panic attack imminent)

A MISPRINT! THERE WAS A MISPRINT AT THE TICKET OFFICE! I had specifically asked for the train leaving at 7:30, so that I would not have to pull an all-nighter just to be at the train station on time. Now I realize that the printed time on the ticket is 6:30. How could I have possibly missed that? Still, deep breaths, deep breaths now, no reason to freak out just yet. I can change the ticket for one on the very next train to London, no harm done, just a slight delay, right? Right? Oh, who am I kidding? THIS IS TERRIBLE! WHY ME?

 

7:00

Mental awareness: 95% (systems operational), mood: bad

Apparently printing error was my fault. Had to buy whole new set of tickets for part of the journey. Think that I hate the railway system a little more than I used to. Had to waste ten minutes waiting on a queue just to talk to someone. Conversation at the ticket office proceeded as such:

Me: There was a misprint in my ticket. Can I change it for a later one? Preferably one for the very next train to London.

Unsympathetic employer: I am afraid we cannot change your ticket. You will have to buy a new one.

Me (beginning to panic and not really caring about my account balance at this point): Fine! I need to get to Cardiff. It’s an emergency.

Unsymp…You know what? Let’s call him Joe: Well, the next cheapest fare leaves at four in the afternoon.

Me (hyperventilating as next train to London arrives at the platform): No, no! You don’t understand! I need to get to Cardiff as soon as possible! Just give me a ticket for the next train.

Joe: Very well Miss. That’ll be *** pounds.

Me: Gah!

 

Now sitting on the train on my way to London, I find myself unable to focus on anything other than homicidal thoughts involving printers, credit cards,Ticket office employees and  P. “I can’t access my bank account,” he said! “Can you come give me a hand sis?” he said. “It’s not that far!” he said. Ugh! Deep breaths now! Perhaps some calming music will help.

 

8:30

Mental awareness: 65% (still sleepy), mood: annoyed

Almost in London and struggling to keep myself awake. The effect of the music might have been too calming. Opposite seat has been taken over by someone who can’t possibly be anyone other than a retired Inspector Gadget. He has spread more electronical devices on the table between us than I thought possible and his legs have expanded to the point where I have to practically climb ON my seat to avoid being stepped on. Too tired to do anything more than the occasional glare, to which he is impervious, as he is hidden behind his newspaper. I hope Dr. Claw gets you sometime soon, you leg-space invader!

 

9:15

Mental awareness: 85% (not bad…), mood: cautiously optimistic

Unbelievably made it to London Liverpool Station with time to spare. Was not sad to part with Inspector Gadget. Had brief moment of confusion as I tried to find my way from Liverpool Street to Euston Station. Decided to play it safe and run the distance. In retrospect not a good idea since I was carrying two very awkwardly shaped bags. My mother was right. I need to exercise more… Must have been quite the show, bursting to the platform out of breath, bags nearly flying out of my hands and asking panicked about the train to Cardiff. Somebody must have been having a good laugh at my expense since I had barely caught my breath before the train rolled on the platform….

 

11:00

Mental awareness: @#$%*blue screen of death! @#%$!&*

Birmingham has more than one train stations. BIRMINGHAM HAS FIVE BLOODY TRAIN STATIONS! WHY, UNIVERSE, WHY? Ticket said change trains in Birmingham, so when I picked up the word “Birmingham” over the frustratingly quiet intercom I –of course!- hurried out of the train. Seeing no trains bound to Cardiff, I started worrying but figured two ticket-related mistakes in one day are too much even for me. So I did what every mature person would do in my situation and popped to the closest information desk to ask directions. Turns out I was one stop early and that Birmingham has what appears to be an “international train station” in addition to the one where I was supposed to be at. It’s been a while since I wanted to punch something so much…. Nearly out of options, there is only one thing left to do: hitch a ride to the proper station. I will take it as a sign of mercy that the next train arriving on the platform was going the right way and was full enough for no conductor (no matter how dedicated) to attempt to check for tickets. It took fifteen minutes of doing a sardine impression and nearly twisting my ankle when the driver hit the brakes and I had nothing to hold on to, but I made it. Finally, finally the right station, the right train, the right time and minimal running involved! It’s nearly over! I am almost there! Dare I say it? What could possibly go wrong now?

 

11:05

Mental awareness: 35% (secondary system rebooting)

I…I think I might be lost. There should be a staircase leading to the platform right about here. Instead there is a solid wall. Harry Potter reference? Or did I just breeze by the stairs without seeing them? Whilst looking for them?

 

12:00

Mental awareness: 90% (secondary system reboot successful), mood: pleasantly surprised

What are the chances of sitting next to a friendly guy just because you launched yourself to the first free seat you found? Yes, there are still gleams of sun (figuratively) shining down on me. Fully intended on spending the rest of the journey reading and/or listening to music. Does not seem to be the case now. Guy sitting next to me not only talkative but actually interesting.

 

1:00

Mental awareness: 95% (really good), mood: best so far

Talked through the entire trip to Cardiff with cute guy next to me. Good mood appears to equal good luck since we appeared to be invisible to any and all conductors that passed by us, and I might have my ticket but he apparently lost his somewhere along the way. Topics ranged from travelling to babysitting (the inevitable subject between two people with too many younger cousins, nieces and nephews). Only half an hour left before this journey from hell is over and I must say it looks like it will end on a high note. Now, if only P. would pick up his phone…

 

1:45

Mental awareness: 100% (navigation system at full capacity), mood: stormy

Don’t worry, he said. I’ll pick you up from the station he said. Moral of the story? Never trust your little brother. Having toured the entire station and found P. waiting… nowhere, I finally managed to get him to answer the phone. It appears that it was LoL night, last night and every night, and he had only just woken up. Due to his phone ringing. Never mind. I am a grown woman, fully capable of navigating this city. To which I have never been before. Saddled with bags. With no map. In the pouring rain. I better get same damn good brownie points from the universe out of all this.

 

2:20

Mental awareness 80% (energy levels falling), mood: confused

Men come from the same planet as women, right? And dust is dust no matter how busy you are, right? Right? Took me nearly half an hour to found P.’s accommodation building, no thanks to this country’s inability to signpost the roads properly…. Had to face my immortal enemy: electronically locked doors. Tried to call brother and was promptly informed that I did not “have enough credit to make this call.” Tried following the instructions by the door and put the room’s code (which should have opened the door). Failed spectacularly. Tried again. And again. At this point a security guard came to see what’s the fuss. Explained the situation and was escorted to the reception, while (very understanding) guard went to knock on P.’s door to inform him of my arrival (and most likely wake him up). Popped in thirty seconds later to tell me that there was someone coming. Was that my brother? Lo and behold here was his Royal Lateness in his pajamas and flip-flops, coming to pick me up. Yes, he had only just rolled out of bed.

 

Walked up the stairs, through a maze of corridors, to his room. Paused nervously at the door.

“You weren’t joking about giving me a hand with cleaning, were you?” he asks. Would have cheerfully slapped him if it weren’t for the fact that I was so tired. As it were I limited myself to a frustrated “Just open the damn door!”

 

At this point I think a description of what I’m surrounded with is necessary. I will start with the premise that the expression “bombed” is no longer a cliché but very much a feasible reality. The drawers under the bed are hanging half-open and half-empty. The bed itself unmade (of course) and half-covered in posters. The desk practically invisible under the module handouts, empty bags of crisps, laptop gadgets and the occasional bundle of pennies. The kitchenette a qualified hazard zone. Nearly all the clothes stuffed in the laundry bag. Three bags of garbage by the door. Clusters of dust and fluff at the corners. I’m afraid to leave my perch on the bed to check on the bathroom.

 

Moral of the story? Never, under any circumstances, visit a first-year in university accommodation. The trauma is not worth it.

In which I consider portraits

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I’ve been told by several people that I am a relatively calm, organised person and to a certain extent they are right. I try to remain calm and I certainly try to make my life easier by being organised. Unfortunately this means to any time I allow my inner panic to show, it’s not taken seriously. Truth is… I am not a calm person. I just internalise a lot, partly because I don’t like people asking me too many questions, partly because I feel the people around me have enough problems on their own, without me adding to them. Frankly, if people could hear my internal monologue (dialogue/full scale argument) at times, they’d be sure to back away…real fast. I like to blame the fact that I was born slap-bang in the heart of summer for my temper. Everything comes to boil faster when it’s hot.

It used not to bother me that people would assume I’m the accommodating one, the “mother” of any group I find myself in. I mean, I don’t mind taking care of people and I certainly enjoy the adrenalin rush of trying to coordinate multiple things at the same time. (Pre-performance and backstage work were the parts I enjoyed most when I was on my school’s theatre group.) Lately, however, I find my goodwill rapidly diminishing and what little patience I had is following swiftly. I’m so tired all the time. It’s not physical tiredness, it’s more of that soul-crashing sensation of knowing you can’t expect more from someone and yet hoping to be pleasantly surprised. And the worst part is that I know it’s all in my head.

I’ve always had trouble reading people in real life (not in stories, which is why I tend to prefer the company of a book). I make assumptions about motives and opinions and I struggle to combine my perception of a person (and the inevitable expectations that come along) with who they actually are, or at least who they perceive themselves to be. For a very long time I simply did not make the effort, after all what’s the point of getting to know people when you know for a fact that after a few years you will not see them again. (Schoolyard friendships, my left foot…) Sadly as I grew older I discovered that people can be as intriguing as books (and that came as quite the shock, let me tell you). I tried and still try to figure them out. The results are mixed at best. I’m stubborn though, so I hope eventually I’ll manage it.

So what do I do in the meantime? Especially on the days when the effort is just too much? I’ve tried different things, from long (loooooong) solitary walks to forcing myself to stay around people in a social setting and I think I may have managed to find a middle ground: I take whichever book I’m reading at the time, walk to town and sit in a cafe. That way I can be around people and get the human contact I need and at the same time I don’t actually have to pretend anything. I’ll just get a tea or a mocha or whatever tickles my fancy (which requires a mercifully small amount of words being spoken), sit back and read/people watch for a few hours. You should try it. It’s amazing how much it clears the head to take a step back and look at any given situation from the outside.

F is for Flight

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Deck the bags with Christmas jumpers,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Tis’ the time to book our tickets,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Troll the couple on the coach,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.,
Run we now to the gate,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

See the city down below us,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Strike your hands and join the queue,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Baggage claim takes oh-too-long
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
While I wait I’ll drink some coffee,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Fast away the sleepiness caught me,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Hail the plane, ye lads and lasses,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Only an hour of delay,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
And then to bed we’ll go and stay,
Fa la la la la, la la la la la la la la

 

Week 12 commandments

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  1. Thou shalt not keep overdue book loans.
  2. Thou shalt share thy chocolate and thy alcohol with thy fellow students.
  3. Thou shalt not hog a computer desk if thou hast a laptop.
  4. Thou shalt not flaunt thy essay-free status on Facebook.
  5. Thou shalt refrain from bribing thy tutor with food.
  6. Thou shalt not hold house parties while thy flatmate is studying.
  7. Respect the third-years for they have trodden the wilderness thou hast yet to cross.
  8. Thou shalt type an honest word count.
  9. Thou shalt not bemoan thy fate. Everyone is facing the same plight.
  10. Thou shalt reference thy quotes.
  11. Thou shalt honour the university coffee-shops for their fare is thy sustenance.
  12. Thou shalt limit thy procrastination for thy actually need a good grade.

In the name of the HUB, and the MLA, and the Holly Rubric, amen.

Automatic writing exercise (aka why I must not stay up late)

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It was cold, it was wet, and I wanted to punch someone. So….a typical Monday morning. The mist curled around my ankles as I leaned tiredly against the bus stop, like wet fingers crawling up my spine. Yawn after half-formed yawn I shook myself. Staying up late last night had not been a good idea but the alternative -an eight-hour roller coaster of nightmares- didn’t sound very inviting either. A shiver ran through my spine as it started to actually rain and the shadows of the nearby trees lengthened sinisterly. Great! Just what I needed! I’m running late for my class and now I’m to have an encounter with a semi-immortal being with a shtick for showy entrances before my first cup of coffee.

“I swear, whoever-you-are, if you so much as materialise a finger, I will bind you in a circle and hit you with my bag.”

I let said bag fall to the ground with an impressive THUD. The shadows shrink back to their proper place hastily and I smirk. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Nothing like the comforting wight of Shakespeare’s Complete Works to make a girl feel safe…