What a fabulous few days! On Thursday and Friday, we had the conference I’ve been wittering on about for the last few weeks. It was magnificent, and if I may say so, I kicked ass. Everything went off smoothly and seamlessly, and my general ass-kicking was widely acknowledged.
I have often moaned about the fact that when I come to Trinity, I spend a lot of my time alone, that no-one (students or staff) knows me and that I’m the only member of my department in an off-campus building where I sit surrounded by judgemental philosophers. That is no longer the case. Over the last week, I’ve been introduced to most of the staff and research students in the School of Education. And they haven’t been at all mean to me! Ladies and gentlemen, your Ugly Duckling has become a beautiful swan!
I have half-a-promise of a desk in the department in September. And one of my fellow students told me that it had been decided that I was liked.
The conference itself was totally awesome. Clever people fighting with each other about ideas. Ideas! I so want to be a clever person who argues about ideas. On Thursday night, as I walked home after 18 hours of conference, I was burbling to myself happily. This life is what I want.
I thought I couldn’t get any happier. I was wrong. To cap off the conference, I went to see Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. It is one of the musicals I know better, having once played the part of the Pharoah’s butler. Every song is a gem, as the show descends from ludicrous to farcical. I hummed and swayed along, happily tapping my feet. It’s a short show, so (joy of joys) it ended with a reprise of every song. It’s like two musicals for the price of one.
And few lines ever written are as capable as making me as happy as when the brothers sing, ” No ifs! No buts! Benjamin is honest as coconuts!”
On Saturday, I didn’t have a chance to come down from the highs I’d just experienced. A good friend was visiting from England and we were throwing a housewarming party.
I got my testosterone out and built a barbecue. With my toolkit.
People started arriving for the party around 9:00. This shouldn’t have been a problem. I’d started putting on the charcoal to burn at 7:30. I’d used the 3 firelighters suggested in the instructions. Nothing much happened. I put in another three. When people started arriving they helped. We used the entire pack of 24 firelighters. We pushed in papers. We blew the flames. We fanned them. We made a pyramid of the coals. We smoothed them out. We put some more on. And we took some out. We moved them around and we left them perfectly still. The barbecue had been on for well over two hours when a very practical friend arrived, saw what was happening, went to a shop, and came back with an instant barbecue-in-a-bag. By 10:00, we were cooking.
Now, I have a feeling a number of people at the party had read my previous blogpost about having a blue-soup-and-marmalade/ lesbian-catering-stress-meltdown. I made burgers on the barbecue. It’s not a particularly complex operation. You put the burger on the barbecue. You leave it there. You turn it over. You leave it there. You take it off when it’s cooked. It’s not an operation likely to produce either blue soup or a catering stress meltdown, lesbian or otherwise. And yet, I have never got more praise for cooking in my life. The blog is no longer just about my life. It’s now affecting my life too.
It was a lovely party. Old friends who could talk the hind legs of donkeys, mojitos, rum and cokes, 2 types of bubbly, wine and 2 types of beer. Burgers and sausages. Jokes and stories. But I had a mission. I was getting up the following morning for a run. By 3:30, I was considering bed. By 4:30, I was alright and having fun again. But at 6:00, we still had company and I went to bed anyway.
I was far too buzzy to get to sleep immediately. I managed eventually, and after about three hours of alcohol-sodden sleep, I got up at 10:00.
I clattered about the house, waking those who’d gone to bed even later than me and found my way to the kitchen. It resembled the Somme. If there had been a houseparty in the Somme the night before.
I decided that I should get some carbs into me before the run. I was faced with a choice between chocolate cake and beer. Chocolate cake it was!
Appropriately carbed-up, I set off for my run. It was pouring rain. Lashing. Bucketing. Spitting. Pissing. I had a simple white t-shirt, and within minutes my nipples were on display to the world at large. The run was very, very good. It may have been the alcohol, or the chocolate cake, but I felt more energetic both during and after it and we ran more than in previous weeks And I felt virtuous. Oh-so-very virtuous.
Some time later I arrived home to a kitchen full of empty bottles. I was dripping with rain and sweat. My flatmate was curled up on the couch in her pyjamas. Our visitor was sitting at the kitchen table eating chocolate cake, also in her pyjamas. The day started very, very slowly.
We had fully woken up by 9:00 pm, when some more visitors arrived. We had a great chat. These are friends I made through teaching English. As the evening wore on, I forgot all that I’d said to myself on Thursday and Friday during the conference, when I’d sworn I’d never return to TEFL and I would dedicate myself to the academic life. Last night I felt like ditching the PhD and doing CELTA courses for the rest of my life. Someday, I’ll manage to be balanced and proportionate. But not yet.
Speaking of balance, my nutrition certainly hasn’t been. The conference and the excitement of the weekend put paid to any semblance of a diet I was on. I weighed myself this morning and am 21 stone 12 lbs. That’s over seven pounds more than the last weigh-in. I’ll be cleansing my digestive system today and back on beans tomorrow. In better news, I haven’t had a cigarette in four weeks and a day.
A lot done. More to do.