I’ve often seen my flatmates looking pale and sickly. They are, after all, nineteen years old, and in Ireland that is just another way of saying “They are, after all, raging alcoholics”. They regularly look like last night was a good night, a very good night.
These days, they look even more chalk-white and even less healthy than usual. And they haven’t touched any alcohol in weeks. It’s exam time. They have locked themselves away from the world. They’re staying up all night with their books. And they look so, so very sad. All the time. I feel guilty for not having exams too. I feel guilty for not helping them study.
They seem to be living on something called Monster. From what I can gather, it does what Red Bull did when I was an undergrad. And to be honest, I kind of think a night of Dutch Gold and tequila would be better for them.
Half the boys are, or have been, sick, and I know more about one particular boy’s gastro-intestinal issues than I ever needed to.
The air in Hall is tense, and I half-dread coming home in the evenings, for fear someone will finally have lost it and smashed up the kitchen and/or one of the other boys in a fit of Monster-fuelled-exam-rage.
I do have one exam, of sorts. An oral exam on the 30th May, after all the boys have gone (sniff). In advance of that I have to hand in two chapters. In theory, I’m handing them in next Wednesday. I haven’t written a word this week. Not a single word. I have been struck immobile by an academic deadline, not for the first time in my life. I’ll do something. And get an extension. And possibly cry at some administrators.
Unlike my boys, I’ve been drinking every day (except Monday) for the past week. Not necessarily drinking a lot, but I don’t know when my life got so social. Only one of those nights deserves a mention here. Friday last.
A friend of mine invited me for drinks. He texted me telling me he would be inviting a gay friend of his, who was lovely. I thought what any normal single gay would think when on getting a text like that. I’m being set up. I fretted. And stressed. And got a little bit excited.
I arrived at the pub. I met the friend, who was indeed both gay and lovely. About the third sentence he uttered included the phrase “my boyfriend”. My heart soared with relief and plummeted with disappointment. Thank God I wouldn’t have to perform. But I knew I would, once again, be going home alone.
I got very drunk very, very fast.
We were joined by four of my friend’s friends. Including three gay Chinese men. Possibly Ireland’s entire gay Chinese community, but what would I know? For all I know there is a thriving Asian gay scene in Urlingford.
Then a fuse blew. Not a metaphorical one – an actual fuse. We were sitting in the dark – for the next hour or more. We still had our beer. And the pub supplied a Jenga set. In my drunken state, I played Jenga in the dark with gay Chinese men.
There’s no punchline to that story, but it sounds fabulous. Boring people don’t play Jenga in the dark with Chinese gays, only people with wonderful, interesting lives like me.
I had work the morning after. I held it together – just.
In other news, I ran a second 5K on Tuesday morning and am doing another this evening. I somehow have to get up to 8K in four weeks.
I also, four months after applying for the job, had an interview to be an Assistant Warden in Hall. I really enjoyed the interview, and am almost sure I kicked serious ass. I’ll hear how I did next week.