There are many things that I’m sometimes too embarrassed to admit I haven’t done. I’ve never learned to cycle. I’ve never seem Bambi. Or The Matrix. Or any of the Godfather films. I’ve never been drunk in the company of my parents. I’ve never played Super Mario. I’ve never listened to a Nirvana album. My multi-faceted virginal naïveté in the face of these many basic experiences doesn’t really bother me.
However, there is one thing I’ve always wished to do. I love my physical comforts. I like to toast my bum at an open fire. I love slowly rotating my ankles at the end of a long day. I like cuddles. It’s great to stand under a power shower, to get a shoulder rub, to soak a pair of tired feet in hot, bubbly water, to luxuriate in a yawn and a stretch on a Thursday morning.
But there is one physical comfort that I’ve always felt was denied me. Skinny people do it all the time. When they’re sitting down, they perch their feet on the chair in front of their bum, draw their knees to their chest and embrace their legs. The size of my belly prevents me from doing this.
And it looks like the comfiest pose in the world. At the drop of a hat, the skinny can curl into this foetal position and give themselves a hug.
I desperately want to do that!
I know, life isn’t that bad if that’s all I have to complain about. And it isn’t.
Life has been going fine. Plenty of hiccups along the way, but mainly fine. I did have a day of being scorned in college on Tuesday.
Once a month, we have a “research coffee morning” in college. It’s as silly as its name suggests, but it is nice of the department to try and make sure that the research students have some human contact every so often. Now, I’m relatively unknown in the department, so I decided to make sure that I’d make my voice heard, especially seeing as the head of department was there and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know my name.
I waited cautiously. I had no intelligent views on data interpretation in qualitative research projects, so I kept my mouth shut. The conversation moved on to primary school research. I still had nothing to say.
Then the Head of Department started encouraging us to contribute to the Postgraduate Research Journal. He claimed that the cover was so beautiful it would be a shame not to be included. He said the cover was very artistic and featured, among other things, an upside-down cabbage. Score! He was on my territory now: nonsense. I finally contributed. I asked, “How do you know when a cabbage is the right way round?” Complete silence fell. The Head of Department gave me a look like I’d murdered his puppy. The meeting was drawn to a close with no further discussion. And I left. Crestfallen.
That afternoon, I made my way to college IT services. My internet access on campus has been disastrous and I was contemplating being the first person in the 21st century to complete a PhD without the internet.
I spent the next two hours being laughed at by nerds. They laughed at my screensaver, at my wallpaper, at the price of my computer, at my wireless card. They mocked my wireless card. Now, I’ve taken my fair share of teasing over the last 30 years, but never before have I been subjected to abuse because of my wireless card.
Anyway, amid their nerdy giggles, they fixed my problem. I am online. And it was worth the abuse.
I’ll update again soon. Less scorned at and skinnier.