Monday, 25 November 2013

What a week

Alright. The last five days have been an absolute, non-stop torrent of stress and I'm through. I have reached the other side. I have survived - but not without taking some hits along the way.

Thursday was the deadline for two essays, one of which I wrote in French as the most passive-aggressive, idiotic protest ever. That's right, I wrote an essay for French in French and I'm pretty sure it'll get marked down - not through a petty aversion to French from the staff but because I'm not very good at expressing myself fluently in French. (This is in itself because from the very beginning of the course we've been encouraged to write in English - but I digress.)

Thursday, the day of deadlines, I managed to get everything in, relearn straight line mathematics and ask pertinent questions in my Atheism lecture/seminar without pissing anyone off. I appreciate that you may not realise this, dear reader, because you see only this highly edited and time-intensive portrait of me but occasionally I manage to irritate people through not thinking through what's about to spring from my face-hole.

I have managed this in every single one of my Atheism lectures this term, although this fact is moderated somewhat by the infrequency of these lectures. However: I managed to ask questions without getting a single eye-roll, patronising sigh, or aggressive response.

I will further note that it's always the same person.

After Atheism I taught a young man called Darren (not his real name) how to find gradients, tangents, and other exciting things to do with straight lines. Darren is a couple of years younger than me (that's not actually true; he's about 5/6 years younger than me, but in my head I'm still 21. I am seriously surprised every time people ask me what I want for my 24th birthday because in my head that's still three years away.) and has decided to join the armed forces - and to do so, he needs certain qualifications. So he picked me to teach him for the next half a year. I'm absolutely pumped, especially because Maths is what I want to teach when I (eventually) graduate.

I'm also teaching a young lady called Chloe (also not her real name), for Maths and English,  and a young man called James (not his real name either), for English. We're doing analysis on Edward Scissorhands and I'm about 90% sure we've gone way, way, waaaaaay too into depth. We made five pages of notes on the first 15 minutes. Film studies, eat your heart out. We rocked it.

In any case, by the end of the day I felt immensely tired and just a little pleased that everything had been tied up. There were no loose ends. (Unlike a certain long-running British television show - yes, Moffat, I'm looking at you.) So I went and had a long chat with a friend. She even cooked me dinner in a microwave/oven.

(I am, perhaps, giving evidence to those of my friends who say I'm hopelessly out of touch. But apparently the trivection oven that I thought was a made-up thing to make Jack sound like an executive ass in Thirty Rock is, in fact, actually a real thing. I have never been so excited. Never.)

I walked home at 1 in the morning, and the walk was exhilarating. Aberdeen is kind of icy right now, and there's nothing like unexpected ice/frantically trying to find your feet again to make a fellow feel alive.

In any case, that brought me to Friday, where your hero slept for approximately 14 hours and woke up with a pounding headache. I sloped around the flat, somewhat at a loss. What do people do when there aren't deadline looming? What, exactly, does one do when there aren't books to be annotated or essays to be avoided? So I cleaned the flat and ironed shirts. Conclusion? I don't like cleaning and shirts are annoying to iron. I need to wear more t-shirts. And somehow produce less dust.

Oh, and I realised I was an adult because I was ironing a shirt and a spider the approximate size of my thumb, fleeing the heat, ran out from under the collar and legged it down the sleeve to the floor. I realised I'm an adult because I didn't follow through my first instinct, which was throw the iron across the room and burn down the building. 

I really don't like spiders.

What followed, however, has been three days of long shifts where things just went wrong. And kept going wrong. Indefinitely. We ran out of glasses, spirits, staff. And that's an awful shame, because these guys are amazing. But we need more bodies to run a restaurant that size.

Today was the last straw. The restaurant was packed while staff was so bare bones it made the Grim Reaper look positively obese. Drinks went walkabouts, checks got lost, and people started getting snappy. At one point a previous member of staff wandered in and was pressed into working for a couple of hours in her Nike airs and jeggings. She absolutely killed it, too.

But it was essentially a six hour shift of what the fuck is going on. At one point people started ordering drinks from the future, because the drinks were from the new cocktail list and that's not supposed to even be available until tomorrow. I was getting drinks orders from people who'd seen drinks I'd not even seen. That was almost the last straw. We finished at last at eight, and did cocktail training with the hardcore of staff - the ones I know I can rely on in a pinch. It was great to see the waiting staff asking questions, because they're the most important ones - getting a drinks order for a "gin martini" is incredibly frustrating to any bartender. It sounds awful to non-bartenders, but it's like going into a clothes store and asking for a skirt and then saying nothing else. And imagine in this shop that each skirt needs to be sowed individually, and that you have a hundred different fabrics and thirty different styles.

But some of them came, and they'll know what questions to ask. And that makes me seriously damn happy. I don't expect waiting staff to be as excited as me about the difference between, say, bourbon and whisky. But just seeing them getting excited about the new cocktails, and trying them - wicked. Very pleased.

The rest of them went out for a drink, but I'm so far over my budget for this month that my wallet has an echo, so I've come home. And written. And eaten a plate of pasta with tuna.

I need something to occupy my mind or this happens. Mr Conan-Doyle knows what I mean.

"My mind," he said, "rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation."

Alright, I'm not quite at that level yet. But it feels that way.