Power, Disempowerment, and Empowerment

Power in Hall

Hall is fabulously mad this week. This is S.H.A.G. Week (sexual health, awareness and guidance) and it’s the time of year when eighteen-year-olds learn how to put on a condom and the lube flows freely. Yesterday, two different first years offered me free condoms as I walked through the Arts Block. As part of SHAG Week, there will be various events in Hall, including a “sexy table quiz” and a visit from “Dr. Sex”. Most bonkers of all is tonight, when Hall will play host to, wait for it, a “sex magician”. I can’t for the life of me think why they didn’t ask me to do it. I am, after all, noted for my “magic sex”. (I’m lying. Nobody talks about my magic sex.) (Now you see it, now you don’t! That’s magic sex for you) (Shut up, Connor)

The other main event in Hall this week is the election of a first-year rep onto the JCR (Hall’s student committee). There are three candidates. Obviously, as an Assistant Warden, it wouldn’t be proper for me to comment publicly on the election. It’s lucky I’m writing this in my super-secret diary and no one will ever read it. The only female candidate is, depressingly, running under the slogan “Breast is Best.” To heap insult on injury, she’s written this slogan in Comic Sans, a font that really should be banned from universities. My favourite is a guy from the house I’m responsible for. He’s running a campaign that makes me laugh so hard I’m in danger of peeing. The entire campaign appears to be based around a dead goldfish called Pablo, and his campaign slogan is the ingenious “So reasonable, it hurts”. I’m obviously far too mature to get emotionally involved in an undergraduate election campaign, so that’s the last I’ll say about that.

I’m exercising power in Hall in my own way. I’m organising a Bingo night for students in Hall in a few weeks. I’m calling it Crazy Bingo, because the numbers will be on laminated cards in the bin from my kitchen and I’m going to submerge all these numbers in a goo, in a gunge, made of a mixture of custard, yogurt and washing-up liquid. Students are going to have to put their hands into the gunge to draw out numbers. And they mightn’t even get a number. I’m planning on putting in a few forfeits too, like getting the student to do a dance or smooch a member of the JCR. I am a genius. And my favourite bit about organising this is that the JCR have offered to help. In fact, the president of the JCR told me to just send him a list of jobs and he’d delegate them. THE POWER! I am truly the Voldemort of Hall. If Voldemort were cuddly and largely ineffectual, that is.

Power in College

This week, I am marking a Masters thesis. That’s right. The School of Education were insane enough to trust me to decide on the grade for somebody’s Masters. What were they thinking? As well as that, I have been elected as Class Rep for all the PhD and Masters students in the department. I like to think this is because of my massive charm, earthy and magnetic charisma, devilish good looks and clear competence. In fact, I was the only candidate, and no one else wanted the job. My election/appointment/coronation was announced to department staff at a meeting yesterday morning. Ever since, they’ve all been giving me funny looks. One of my duties will be to sit in on certain staff meetings and boards and represent the students. A number of lecturers have approached me, congratulated me and then raised their eyebrows suggestively. One of them nudged me with his elbow. It really is weird. I feel like I’m being inducted into a secret fraternity. Anyway, THE POWER!

Disempowerment – Money, Cars and Lies

After my car’s last attempt at the NCT, I had two things to see to before I got the re-test. I scheduled the re-test for the last possible day and put off visiting the garage for as long as I could, because, as you know, I am afraid of mechanics.

Last Friday, I couldn’t put it off any longer – my re-test was at 12:05, and I drove into a garage at 10:30. I spoke to one of the mechanics. I told him that I needed to have two things done for my NCT and that I hadn’t realised that the test was that day (which was a total lie) and could he possibly do them in the next hour? I put on my gayest, most helpless voice. In my experience, straight men get a kick out of doing “manly” things (like lifting heavy objects) for helpless gay men. He said that he’d try and it depended on what needed to be done. I showed him the NCT report. I needed a new tyre and I needed to get the suspension on my rear wheels repaired. I knew changing a tyre would only take about 10 minutes, and I figured fixing the suspension would take more or less the same amount of time.

Apparently not. Fixing the suspension isn’t a matter a tightening a few screws under the car. It would involve him ordering parts. I would have to pay for two new “shocks”, which sounded unpleasant. It would take at least 24 hours, and cost the best part of €200. I didn’t have that kind of money. I told him I would totally have taken the car in earlier if I’d realised that I had my test that afternoon (LIAR, Connor). I let him change the tyre, paid €80, and drove to the test centre. When I got there, my parking was so bad that one of the mechanics came over from the car he was testing and offered to park it for me.

I failed the test on the basis of my (surprise) suspension. The tester told me nothing had been done with it since the last test. I said I didn’t know anything about it. It was my sister’s car and I was just driving it to the NCT centre for her as a favour. (More lies). I now have to get the car tested from scratch and pay for the whole thing again and pay to get the suspension done.  I’ll totally do it right next time.

I was at my parents’ house this weekend. I told them I’d passed the test. I didn’t want to admit to them how deficient I am in adult skillz. All these lies and all these mechanics. SO DISEMPOWERING!

Empowerment

While I was at home at the weekend, I collected my Christmas decorations, or at least as many of them as I could find. I am determined that this Christmas will be absolutely epic. It was late at night when I got back to Dubin and I had work early on Monday morning. I was tired and looking forward to going to bed. But I didn’t go straight to bed. I unwrapped, unbagged and hung decorations for an hour. My heart lifts when I walk into my living room now. There’s still more to do to ready the place for Christmas, but I’m getting there.

I’ve also scrubbed my flat clean. I even scrubbed the bathroom floor with Jif, boiling water and an actual scrubbing brush and then mopped it with disinfectant. I AM A DOMESTIC GODDESS!

This is going to be a good week. I have a ridiculous amount to do. I’m halfway through an online course (which I’m kind of kicking ass at), I’m speaking at a conference this weekend, I have that Masters thesis to mark, I’m helping to organise a conference in Trinity too (I’m scarily close to becoming the go-to guy for conferences in the School of Education), I have all my wardening stuff, I’m writing teacher training seminars for Cambridge AND I’m meant to be doing a PhD too.

The good news though, is that I love it. I’ve once again risen above coping level. I’m juggling and things are getting dropped, but no one’s going to die. Christmas is coming, life is ridiculous and I love it.

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