In which we suffer through law exams – watch the Superbowl – get a house – and Dad loves his beard
I’m really happy. Like, really happy. Pretty much all of the time.
At least, I am until the English in me kicks in and I start fretting I’m too happy and something terrible is imminent.
I sometimes wonder if the English are born with this innate uncertainty or it’s installed in us in school. Or from TV. Or both.
England: Where we spend half our time drinking tea, and the other half worrying we’re not drinking enough tea
The first week back at university wasn’t so great. In fact, the exam period was pretty much stone-cold, kick-you-in-the-face horrific.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been this tired.”
“I’m so tired, I thought it would be a good idea halfway through the exam to turn around and ask Jaye what the answer to question five was.”
“I couldn’t even remember what exam we were sitting.”
The girls and I were sitting in Wetherspoons having lunch, some of us with our hands over our faces, and the rest with their faces pressed against the table. There was one law exam left, and I was trying to simultaneously kick my brain back into action and avoid the eyes of the vacantly smiling man at the bar opposite.
The night before my first exam, I didn’t sleep at all. I just lay in bed getting more and more irrationally angry that my exam wasn’t at three in the morning so I could get it over with.
My biggest achievement that week was not snoring in Firth Court. I was pretty proud of myself.
“I can’t wait until it’s okay to start drinking again,” Molly said.
The girls made approving ‘mm mm’ noises. I looked across the street to the Oxfam bookshop. I’d finally found my vice, or rather, realised what it’s been all this time: books, books and more books.
After the first exam, I decided I needed a moment of calm and spent a merry hour in a second-hand bookshop, chatting to the owner about John Tenniel illustrations and shoving as many novels as possible into my satchel.
After my second exam, my feet carried me back to the bookshop. I didn’t fight them. I arrived home beaming with an armful of McEwan and Hornby.
After the third visit, I was starting to worry it was getting slightly out of hand until I read that Germaine Greer shares the same stress-outlet. Which seemed to justify everything.
The week after media law hell made it all worth it though.
Alison, Alex, the boys and I went to watch the Superbowl at Bar One that Sunday. I am as uneducated about American football as I am about string theory, so I’d done a bit of pre-game research. This meant I could shout things like, “He missed the snap!” and “Are we on the fourth down already?” and it sounded vaguely impressive.
“I have no idea what’s going on,” David confided in me, two hours in and at least twelve Land Rover commercials later.
“The key to looking like you understand is making the right noises at the right time,” I said knowledgeably. “When everyone else groans or shouts, just do the same.”
So the next time the guys in jerseys screamed, David and I threw our hands up in the air and shouted, “God damn it Seahawks!” The effect was slightly ruined as we kept winking at each other and looking smug.
Alison leant towards me on her tiptoes and whispered in my ear, “I’m a bit drunk.”
By this point, the bar was almost empty. After it was made pretty clear that Denver weren’t going to bring it back, nearly everyone had left.
Adam had started an argument with a waitress about whether our row of chairs really constituted a fire hazard and James was hanging around the kitchen trying to get some more chips. Alex had lost his bet that Denver would win and was complaining about all the dinners he now had to cook Alison and I as his forfeit.
“Come round tomorrow?” Alison asked, pulling her coat on. “We can make cake and meet Becca to talk about housing next year.”
As usual, housing drama was dominating every worrying moment. In an effort to save money over next summer and start saving for a trip to America with Alison, I had reserved a university-owned house with Emilie and Maria. But, as per, circumstances changed and I had to decide whether to give the house up or live with two strangers in my third year.
“So, let’s talk housing.” Becca said. We were sat in our favourite Crookes pub, with two of Becca’s friends, Sarah and Mark, who we were hoping to live with next year. It was quite entertaining watching them get used to Alison, who was in a very excitable mood.
You know you’re good friends when one of you asks,”If you were a dragon, what kind of dragon would you be?” and the other transitions from exam talk to scale patterns seamlessly.
It did seem to throw Mark and Sarah off slightly when we did this.
“My landlord has two houses that we can rent,” Becca said. “There’s one four-bed and one three-bed, two doors apart. So including Joel, we’re one person short.”
“We could ask David,” I said. “He was saying at the Superbowl he wasn’t sure where he’s living next year.”
So that evening whilst watching ‘The Graduate’ with James, who filled every dialogue-free moment with comments like, “This scene is just classic” and: “Did you see what they did here? Just amazing.” we told David about the house.
“Sounds great!” he said.
“Awesome!” I said.
“If we were in a zombie apocolypse, who would die first?” Alison said.
Freaking excellent movie
In typical university fashion where every event occurs at triple speed, we saw the three-bed, loved it and signed the next afternoon. And I’ve been super happy ever since.
“I’m glad you got it all sorted out,” Dad told me last night. His voice faded suddenly and I heard him say, “Stop hugging me Maria. Get off. Get offff. I’m on the phone.”
“Anyway,” he continued. “You must be really pleased. I know we worry about you being warm and it not costing a lot, but really, you being happy is most important.”
I could hear Maria saying huffily, “When is a good time to hug you?”
“Did I tell you? I’m on season four of Breaking Bad on Netflix already.” Dad sounded chuffed. “I’m in on the cult. I’m trying to grow a beard like Walter, but I can’t join it up at the sides. Kind of like Tony Stark in Iron Man.”
And then he laughed for like five minutes.
To celebrate the house signing, I watched Star Trek, went to Pop Tarts with the medics rugby team and made a giant chocolate cake that was so delicious, Emilie became quite delirious and I had to sit her down after and give her some water.
Following my dream of becoming the next Mark Kermode, I’ve been educating myself by watching classic movies until three in the morning and going to the cinema with Alison a lot. And not just because I wanted to watch Benedict Cumberbatch in August: Osage County. Or because the cinema’s considerably warmer than my house.
Can you get better than Meryl Streep?
I’m starting a show at the local hospital radio station after Easter and I’ve sent off several CV’s for work placements at Bristol radio stations. It’s all getting very exciting. Kind of like real-world stuff. Although I’ve another year left until I have to enter the real world.
Feature image by Maria Betts – http://www.mariakatebetts.wordpress.com