Friday, December 5, 2003

The end of term: a deeply weird 32 hours

1 am Thursday. Returned home from the college Christmas dinner (the last graduate hall before the vacation) filled with good cheer, roast chicken, Christmas pudding and mulled wine and gin and tonic.

Discover flatmates (who left early because they did not pull the last shift on the bar) cooking full English breakfast in kitchen.

Decline a share of their grease, consume an orange and a mug of lemsip. Extract myself from dinner jacket (I’ve learned to tie a bow tie!) and go to sleep.

10 am Thursday, awake with plans of going to law school to work desperately on LLM thesis draft due to supervisor. Dawdle over breakfast. Recall 12.15 pm Christmas party with History and Theory professor – dash off to eat sweet food and drink wine straight on top of breakfast.

Meet an international relations student friend at law school before my 2 pm lecture, but too late to go for coffee. Make plan to meet at the college library after eight and grab a late-night-study-session-coffee.

Go to 2 pm lecture given by supervisor. Realise I’ve been approaching a key issue in my thesis all wrong (damn UN Charter, damn International Court of Justice). Madly scribble notes. Then go to clear e-mail.

Forget that 4.30 make-up class is not in the faculty, but a bike ride away at the research centre. Arrive late and burst into a conference room.

People shuffle chairs out of my way (red sea parting style), so I can crawl to the very back of the room and sit down. Attempt to remain inconspicuous.

7 pm, Thursday. The plan: meet my debating team-mate at Borders and go for Chinese to brain-storm issues for the debating tournament in Singapore. The actuality: retire to his place with a bottle of a great German ’92 Spatlese-Riesling to eat his left-over salmon steaks, make bad jokes, chat with one of his house-mates and do almost no debating prep.

Walk into his student lodgings and realise they’re straight out of one of those intimidatingly white interior design magazines expensive hairdressing salons leave on their coffee-tables. Realise I may be in the wrong college. Curse the wealth of Trinity College once more. Assured walls are in fact dreadfully thin and people wake each other up in the night all the time, and have no auditory privacy.

Count small justices, but sceptically.

Repair to library after 9 pm. Write blog stuff. Open thesis document, begin to craft my "breakthrough" realisation into something useful. Stop mid-sentence. Go for coffee in common room. Work to 2 am, achieve something, cycle home and hit bed around 3.

House very quiet. Did not reflect on eerie absence of ranting mathematicians in common areas.

9 am Friday. Crawl out of bed to get on with it. Discover that while I was out the previous night there was a major incident with a certain difficult flatmate. Appears certain inter-housemate relationships now destroyed, College may have to get involved.

Dash to law school, finish chunk of draft and e-mail it to supervisor, then text a hard-done-by-housemate and organise lunch.

So looking forward to drawing breath.

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