Monday, July 14, 2008

The way to end a crappy-ish day

... is with “buy one book get another half price” in WH Smith. We’re at the thin end of the month but I was blue so £12 for two paperbacks didn’t seem too much of a price to pay to cheer myself up. I bought “The Last Empress” and “Becoming Madame Mao” by Anchee Min. I read “Empress Orchid” during and after my trip to China, “The Last Empress” is the sequel. At the moment I like the window into the world feeling that these books give, taking me away from myself and putting me in a world that is so different to mine. When you’ve had a crappy-ish day, it’s where you need to be.

So why crappy-ish? Well it wasn’t full blown crappy, nothing bad happened, I was declared to have normal blood pressure for the first time in 6 months by my doctor, so that wasn’t bad. I had a comedy moment in a sandwich shop where my “cheddar and cucumber” baguette somehow became just cucumber – I didn’t realise this until I had walked down the street, and the baguette was still warm, so just cucumber was okay.

The crappy-ish came this afternoon in a meeting with one of the “middle managers” of the academic type at my University. You really couldn’t get much wetter than him, I had more enthusiasm out of my mother when I told her I wanted to do a PhD on witchcraft. After about 10 minutes I was looking around for the arsenic – for him or me, I wasn’t sure. He’s been in post now for about four years, no wonder his department is withering underneath him. He isn’t a bad man, just a man who shouldn’t be within five miles of a position which requires enthusiasm and leadership skills. He typifies what is worst about my University – slightly depressed, sleepy, totally unaware of so much of what happens in the Institution and the world around him.

So that meeting depressed me, it probably depressed him poor sod. But now I have two new books, a naughty bottle of Coca Cola, and I’m sitting on the train with my laptop out so I can look important, so life is getting better.

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