Officer Happy: A Chicken

It’s been a boring weekend. I’m on duty and more or less stuck in Hall, which has been deserted for two days while all the freshers go home to have their washing done. There were still two parties to quieten down and one to disband last night, but nothing particularly entertaining.

When I’m on duty, I have a walkie-talkie and I do like walking around with it clipped to my hip. I have to admit it gives me a bit of swag.

I get called different things in the course of my work. I am an Assistant Warden, but as often as not, drunk students call me a member of the JCR, the student committee who organise parties, and don’t shut them down like I do. One night, a student gave me a dramatic promotion referring to me as a Vice Provost (the person who is second in charge of the university, rather than what I am, which is a vaguely-defined helper in the student accommodation). There’s a second year who called me a n00b on Thursday evening.  I’m one of five newbies. I bet the other new Assistant Wardens don’t get called n00b. I’m clearly going to have to unleash more assholery on their undergraduate asses. That sounds dirty. I didn’t mean it to.

But my favourite name so far was two weeks ago when a drunk first year called me Officer Happy. I’m OK with that. In fact, I might get a badge made.

I don’t have to patrol during the days on weekends when I’m on duty – I just have to be on-site, poised by my walkie-talkie. I was slumped in my flat today, not doing much, but most definitely being on-site, when my brother rang. He was on his way home from a religious conference-retreat-type-thingy in Dundalk and would be passing through Dublin in an hour. He was going to visit, with his wife and youngest child and a Hispanic seminarian.

Mention of a seminarian didn’t make my bat an eyelid. My house often had foreign seminarians in it while I was growing up. They were mainly from the Philippines, from Central and South America, and from Spain and Italy, but we had Africans, Dutch and Polish seminarians as well. As cousins are in other families, seminarians are in mine.

Anyway, my brother was on his way. He was going to see my flat. Fine. Right? No.

I flipped out a bit.  I couldn’t cope with the idea of a showdown, and I got scared. I know it’s been five months since I came out, but it’s not really a completed process. I’ve shared my fear before that if I’m “too gay”my brother and/or his wife might not let me be around their kids. I hate that idea, but I understand that I have the potential to be terrible example. And I might want to keep my family at arm’s length, but I still want my Christmases in Cork, and I still want to be one of them, at least sometimes.

Right. Time to de-gay the flat. I left the colourful throws, the flower-shaped cushion, the mini-disco-balls and the silly knick-knacks. But I hid the pair of rainbow glasses that I’d got at my first gay pride. I took down the pink feather boa that hangs above my couch. I shoved my entire collection of One Direction bracelets and the necklaces that I’ve never had the balls to wear in a drawer. I took down my posters in my bedroom – one of One Direction, one of Zac Efron showing off his abs and one of McFly with their tops off. I hid some of the books I have for my thesis and the copy of the chapters of my thesis I’ve already written, because there’s quite a bit of gay stuff in there. I took down the pink fluffy “I’m Fabulous” mirror that my first ever group of CELTA students gave me. And most heart-breakingly, I took my One Direction duvet cover off the bed and replaced it with my old plain blue one.

On a side note, it’s hilarious how much my flat is actually a shrine to One Direction.

I hated myself while I was doing this. But I just didn’t want to have the conversation again.

They arrived. It was fine. They were only staying for a very quick visit. After all my panic, they didn’t even see my bedroom.

My brother and I had a chat on the balcony, and fair play to him, he brought up what he called my “revelation”.  It was very civilised, but we didn’t talk about anything real. He did say that he’s stopped reading the blog since I came out, which I’d suspected but hadn’t been brave enough to ask.

Anyway, I’m drained. I’m not sure if I’ll re-gay the flat tonight. I’m quite upset with myself.

But I won’t be a chicken forever.

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