In the fortnight following the cessation of my time in laboratory research, I’ve been seeking re-organisation-displacing distraction, getting out and about, visiting and receiving friends, choosing company I like, catching some films, and some gigs (including the great Glenn Hughes), and a rallied trip up to London; and I’m okay kidding myself I can treat it as ‘holiday’ for an indefinite time, not ruing what I’ve done (had to do?); still, in the main, successfully avoiding those whose impulse is to ask, “What you are going to do?” Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans (someone said), and, by way of forward (on a linear time scale) planning, I’d a while back booked myself onto a Portuguese course in preparation for a possible stint abroad (doing what, I don’t yet know – so don’t ask). But there are, perhaps, indications that I’m still circling the airport.
One of the factors that contributed to my academic demise was being situated some distance removed from campus, based instead at the hospital, which lacks both the authentic university ‘buzz’, and a collectively appealing social spill-out venue. So, to my shame, I never properly familiarised myself with campus geography or that of its satellites. And, having failed to listen properly to an informative friend with reliable local knowledge, who was thus absolutely right about the new flat complex on the old New College site I attended for a different language eight years ago, I dingbat-ly mis-assumed and didn’t twig that it wasn’t a still intact ‘Avenue Campus’, until after alighting the bus and approaching… some lovely looking new flats. Driven to enquire of some student types its actual whereabouts, I was enlightened, lo and behold, of its proximity to the main campus, back up… The Avenue (and hence a walkable distance from home).
So, after another bus ride, I entered the Humanities building, wherein a clipboard-wielding greeter asked, “What language are you after?” To skip a twitteringly trivial exchange concerning my non-receipt of notification of the cancellation of the course, I walked home, two bus fares down, a frustrated, intellectually-deteriorating semi-idiot trying not to succumb to fatalism. Because it was the tail-end of a day when I’d achieved nowt (- bit like being back in the lab). Instead, I’ve been imagining other recent, and far more important, conversations:
Queen: “Thank you for coming, Mr. Cameron.”
Blue Spectre: “It’s a pleasure, Your Majesty.” Bowing and licking his lips_, “How may I be of service?”
Q: “I understand you are having one or two financial difficulties.”
BS: “Yes, I’m afraid so, Ma’am. The previous government bequeathed us a sizeable deficit.”
Q: With raised eyebrows_, “Really?! I have no recollection of Mr. Brown discussing such matters.”
BS: Reaching for his handkerchief, “Quite so, Ma’am.”
Q: “I assume you are taking appropriate measures.”
BS: “Yes, Ma’am. However, in order to keep the banks happy, I’m afraid we are having to tighten the nation’s belt, somewhat.”
Q: “Yes. That is why I wanted to talk with you. I wondered that I might make a contribution.”
BS: Wipes his mouth, “Yes, Ma’am? What did you have in mind?”
Q: “Well, the Christmas party for one’s staff. It is really an insufferable bore. I thought we might perhaps cancel it this year. And you could contribute the costs towards alleviating the debt.”
BS: Trembles_, “That’s very generous of you, Ma’am. Thank you.”
Q: “I’m happy to help. I’m afraid Phillip will be none too pleased – he really rather enjoys it. However, needs must. Of course, one does not like to make a fuss, but I take it I can trust you to coordinate the necessary announcements?”
BS: “Absolutely, Ma’am; it will be my pleasure.”
Q: “Tell me, are the people happy? Any indication of unrest?”
BS: “On the whole, Ma’am, the people are fine. There are one or two scientists making a fuss, but we’re not too concerned; they’re not the sort to bother too much about money.”
Q: “Oh yes, scientists. They’ve upset Charles quite a bit. Perhaps, when this has all blown over, we might discuss his concerns again.”
BS: “I look forward to it.”
Q: "Tell me, how is young George? Is he behaving himself? What is he doing these days?
BS: “Oh, he’s very well, thank you Ma’am. He’s the Chancellor of your Exchequer.”
Q: _Surprised, “Really?! Well, that is good news. I trust you are keeping him in line.”
BS: “Oh, yes Ma’am. We’ve appointed a wise old gentleman, a Mr. Cable, to look after him. Mr. Cable used to be a liberal, so he knows all about the folly of youth.”
Q: “A liberal, you say?! Was there not once a Liberal Party?”
BS: “Yes Ma’am. But we’ve taken care of that. And Mr. Cable is proving very useful, particularly for dealing with the scientists, who can be of that persuasion”
Q: “Glad to hear it. One can’t have taxpayer’s money being frittered away on self-indulgent pursuits.”
BS: “Quite so.” Smiles simperingly_, “After all, leaning forward, ‘we are all in this together’, wot?”
BS: Straightens, clears throat, "Will that be all, Ma’am?
Q: “That will be all, Mr. Cameron, thank you. Be sure to give my regards to Samantha.”
BS: Bows, “With pleasure, Ma’am.”