Moving and Manning Up

The other day I decided I’d write a book of love poetry. Now, I’ve never really written any poetry but I was quite certain I could. A line for a love poem had occurred to me in Tesco and I liked the line so much I was sure I could extend it to a whole book of love poems. The line was:

“You’re the unexpected item in my bagging area.”

I think that’s the most romantic thought I’ve ever had. I’m unlikely to finish an entire book though.

So, for about a week after all the undergrads left Hall, I was one of the only people left living in my block. This had its advantages. I was the only person in my house using the lift and so it stayed wherever I left it. I’d get up in the morning and the lift would be waiting on my floor for me from when I’d come home twelve hours beforehand. This is what it’s like being rich. I can’t wait. Someday, when I’ve made my fortune from my book of love poetry I will once again have a lift all of my own. Maybe with a monkey attendant.

Being alone in the “big courtyard” isn’t all good though. One night, I arrived home while listening to an audio book. The book is The Stand, a post-apocalyptic story of people wandering around an America that has been devastated by an epidemic that killed almost everyone. It’s very scary. I had just listened to a part that involved hallucinations, cannibalism and a suicide and I arrived back to the big courtyard in the darkness, quite spooked. The three hundred dark and empty bedrooms around me did not make me feel any safer. Aargh!

When Hall is empty-ish over the summer, the powers-that-be use this as an opportunity to get some maintenance work done. One morning last week, I was fast asleep at 9:11 am, which I don’t think of as late to be in bed for a student. I was woken suddenly when my door opened and a man appeared in my bedroom.

I shrieked in a panic. I gave the man quite a fright. He pulled back, visibly shaken. It must have been quite a sight, an obese naked man wailing like a banshee, emerging from under a One Direction duvet. He said, “Sorry. I knocked. I’m just checking the smoke alarms.” He left. I don’t know if he ever came back. I hope my smoke alarm still works because I have a feeling it was never checked.

I wouldn’t worry though. Because Jesus is watching over me. I got a “present” of a book called “How to be Christian at College” that one of the departing students had left behind them. Now I know what I’ve been doing wrong all this time. I may have to write a blog post on just this book at a later date. The book is very clean. Almost unread-looking. I feel sorry for the poor parent who probably had the best of intentions and didn’t expect the book to be left behind by their Christian offspring, unread and unloved.

I actually don’t think Jesus is very happy with me at the moment. I was driving the other day when I put my foot on the brake. And my foot started sliding across the floor and I panicked and couldn’t brake and nearly crashed into the car in front of me, but just in time I got control of my foot and stopped the car. When I parked, I checked what was on the floor of the car that my foot had slipped on. It was a leaflet about faith, advertising a series of religious talks my brother was giving. God is clearly out to get me.

At the weekend, it was time to move. For the summer, all the people left in Hall are merged into one block. I get a six-bed apartment all to myself. I started moving on Saturday. The first things I moved were the things to pretty up the kitchen/living room. I brought over my cuddly cow and my cuddly bull. My giant cushion in the shape of a football. My stripey throws for the couch and armchairs. My Tasmanian Devil with his gay pride glasses. My fluffy pink fairy lights. My African table cloth. Once all this was set up, I sat down and admired my handiwork. The place was looking good. I didn’t move anything else for two hours. In fact, I didn’t bring over any clothes or any kitchen ware for two days, because A) I was sick and B) I had moved the most important things already.

There is a door leading from my new apartment to the apartment next door and when I first moved here, someone was still living there. The door between the two apartments was unlocked. I went to ask security about this. The particular member of the security team who was at the desk is a particularly gruff man who always makes me feel like a bit of a sissy. He doesn’t do it deliberately. He just happens to be 100% old skool MAN.

He told me that the door was only open for access for cleaners after all the undergrads had left and that no one was living in the other flat (even though there was that day). He said there was no need to lock the door, but he would if I wanted. He said, “It’s grand. I’ll come up and lock it now for you. If you want. No problem. There’s no need. But if you’d like me to I will.” This was a titanic man-off. If I was a real man, I wouldn’t need to have the door locked. I mumbled “Off course not. It’s fine. I was just checking.” And off I went, outmanned once again.

I like my summer flat. I haven’t moved all my stuff as I’m planning to go back to my old flat in September. The flats in Hall are more-or-less standard issue. They all have the same design features. And they all have the same design flaws. Every bedroom has a large desk for each student and a corkboard. I guess you’re meant to pin study timetables and photos of your boyfriend back home in Leitrim to the corkboard.

Unfortunately, every single corkboard in the modern bedrooms in Trinity Hall is functionally useless. They have the  consistency of granite. Or reinforced concrete. It would take the Hammer of Thor or,at the very least, a high-spec power tool to push a thumbtack into these corkboards. And so, for many students, these unattractive brown rectangles just stay on their bedroom walls undecorated. A previous resident of my new bedroom clearly wanted to do something about this.

For the rest of the summer, I will sleep under a corkboard, with the word BARI burnt into it in giant letters. I don’t know why. I can’t imagine the student was called Bari. Maybe they were going on holidays to Bari. Maybe they were drunk when they were burning their furniture and they actually wanted to write something else. Whatever the reason, it makes me laugh every night when I see it.

I imagine I’ll be writing another post in the next day or two. I’ve been sick and I’m on my way to the doctors’ office right now, so no doubt I’ll have an update about medical matters soon.

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