Today, my dad came home with a bag of mince pies. One of my top five favourite things about Christmas is the good ol’ mince pie. They’re fantastic. Mince pies conjure up all sorts of festive memories. Subconsciously, dear mince pie, I judge and analyse you with each bite I take. I’m sorry. You’re all lovely, but some are a lot more lovely than others. The best mince pie has a suitably crumbly pastry, a good mince:pastry ratio and is served warm, with cream. Gimme a glass of mulled wine or some alcoholified coffee with it and that’ll be the cherry on the top of the cake. Not literally, of course. I hate those mince pies that, instead of a pastry cover, have icing. Person who came up with that? Yeah, you. What in God’s name were you thinking? What kind of sick person thinks that putting sugary white icing directly on top of mincemeat is a good plan? Because it’s not. So don’t do it.
Mince pies aren’t the only sign of Christmas around the gaff at the moment. There are pine needles all over the carpet, decorations that haven’t found their ideal home yet, stacks of empty decoration boxes in the utility room and not one, but two, Christmas trees. I told my parents that they’ve made it now. Two Christmas trees. That’s definitely a milestone in a person’s life. Can’t wait until the day I get to add that to my CV or Twitter bio or something. I mean, it doesn’t count unless you own the house because, for now, I’m just living off my parents so they get to take all the credit even if I decorated The Second Tree.
To be fair though, The Second Tree is only a baby one. It’s about my height, and I brought my mother to town yesterday to buy another set of lights for it and some new decorations. Like, I have to have a theme for a tree. I’m not into having kids’ decorations on my Christmas tree, and many a war has been had over the placement of my younger brother’s not-so-amazing art and craft on the tree. Fortunately he’s over that stage now, and instead the battle is to allow only red and gold decorations on the main tree. Boring, traditional, classy – whatever you want to call it – I like it. And not just because the vast majority of our decorations fall within that general colour scheme. So anyway, I went to Penney’s because who wants to spend their (or their parents’) money on baubles when it could be spent on whiskey.. Penney’s is class though. I picked out these fantastic brightly-coloured, almost to the point of gaudy, decorations. Which is really quite riveting when you think about it.
This year was the first in a while that I’ve fully been able to enjoy the whole build-up to Christmas thing. Every December from 1st to 6th year has been taken up with cramming for Christmas exams so, while I still managed to make time to decorate the tree every year, this year is the first that I can properly enjoy my handiwork and sit by the tree, wasting time on the Internet, listening to a record or six, reading, drinking tea, eating mince pies, whatever. It’s nice. It’s peaceful. The calm before the storm of the mad nights out that are hopefully yet to come.
So yeah, Christmas, you’re one of the better times of the year. Until it starts snowing and there’s slush and ice and no-one can go anywhere and we’re all left stranded in town at 4am because taxis are scared to come out. But yeah, apart from then, you’re class.
Hi there friends and people I don’t know. Probably more people I don’t know than friends, actually. But that’s another story.
Last time I was here was August 17th, so I’m going to a nice, easy but relatively boring post in order to ease myself in gently to this blogging thing once again. I’m thinking list form, because there’s less of a chance for me to go off on a tangent and it might look friendlier to the eye for all you loyal readers.
1. Beginning where I left off, I drank a few glasses of whiskey and orange juice the morning of the results, and waited until I knew everyone would be gone from the school and went and collected my results. Neither precaution was really necessary though, because I got 590. And, if you’re like the vast majority of people to which I’ve told this news, you’ll want to know where those 10 points went; the answer being science fucked me over. A1s in everything, and then A2s in biology and chemistry, which I think is quite good for bullshitting my way through science.
2. I went to Electric Picnic. That was terrible amounts of fun. I probably didn’t see as much music as I had planned, but I don’t regret that for a second. Great craic, and a long list of memories that I’m not going to bore you with. Not that I want such stories to become common knowledge. What happens in Stradbally stays in Stradbally. Unless you’re one of those people who holds a grudge. In which case you shouldn’t be allowed go to Electric Picnic in the first place.
3. I started college. Law and French in the mighty as-featured-on-HIMYM UCC. It’s class. Law is interesting, and I like French, or at least the idea of one day being able to speak it fluently. (Or to fluently speak it. Do we have any opinions on split infinitives?) Aside rom the academic stress of starting my assignments 24 hours before they’re due, and struggling to attend lectures after a night out when sleeping is so much more attractive, I love college in general. UCC is lovely, and I’m glad I stayed in Cork, even if I would absolutely love to move out. I like how you’ll always see some friendly face around campus. I like how it’s different from school and so much more ‘me’. I like how my class are lovely and we’ve good craic together. I like arsing around campus even if I’ve a million other things to be doing. I like it in the evening when it’s dark but the illuminated Quad looks lovely and, at the moment anyway, the Christmas lights just make me smile. Oh, and it’s Ireland’s only five-star university, yo..
4. Following on from point three, I do a radio show on UCC radio every Friday, along with three others. It’s in Irish, which wasn’t exactly our plan but I’m glad, because it gives me the opportunity to use my Irish on a weekly basis, something I know would never have happened after I changed my CAO from Law and Irish to Law and French if it weren’t for the show. It’s very ‘organic’ as we like to say on a regular basis, in that it’s rarely well-planned, our Irish isn’t fantastic, I say ‘like’ about 100 times per show, and we’ve started depending on Youtube for music instead of iPods and CDs which isn’t the best idea. Like today we played some Christmas track but there was just random noise for the first 30 seconds while some stupid airport scene took place in the video. If this all sounds like your thing, UCC98.3fm (accessible through iTunes radio) every Friday from 2pm ’til 3pm.
5. I got a MacBook Pro, which pleases me very much. I’d had my good ol’ Sony Vaio for the past three years, and while it was still going strong-ish, I broke the screen by pushing on it too hard when angling it in order to watch Gossip Girl – or something equally embarrassing – in bed one night. So y’know, I told the parents how imperative a laptop was for college, especially in my course so I can save the environment and read various cases and reports on-screen as well as doing assignments and the like. And I told them there was no point in getting me anything other than a Mac because I just wouldn’t be happy. So they bought it for me as my Christmas/birthday present. Quite frankly, it’s the best Christmas/birthday present I ever got, and that ol’ education discount is nice too.
6. Oh I got my Christmas holidays today. We finished off with a charming French exam which we won’t talk about right now. (Ah to be fair I did pass.) Next week is technically study/review week but I doubt I’ll make it into college which leads nicely on to my next point…
7. …because I have tonsillitis! Only made it to two lectures this week as a result, although to be fair I did do a contract law assignment on Monday in between going to the doctor and taking antibiotics. So I finished the assignment half an hour before it was due, made my mum drive me to the print shop in the student centre but they told me they were “closed for printing” (’cause they do so much else) as there was a “big job” going through. Panic ensued, until I remembered this other place up on College Rd., ran there (first time running in UCC, awkward) and then continued my sprint to the law office and I made it, sans-bibliography, with five minutes to spare. Anyway, tonsillitis sucks. First time getting it so the doc wasn’t all ‘to hospital with you!’ but it’s still a terrible nuisance and my tonsils look disgusting and all I want to do is eat sorbet. Made orange sorbet myself one day during the week, squeezing about ten clementines and one large orange in order to get enough juice. The sorbet was amazingly good but it was gone all too soon. And so much for my dad’s promise of getting me more today.
8. I’d love an Irish coffee or a Bailey’s coffee right now. And some sorbet, of course. Slán.
So, here I am, sitting in my bedroom, eating a banana, alone apart from the crane fly in the corner whose murder I am currently planning. The Facebook statuses are being updated at a rate only comparable to the eve of the Leaving Cert itself, and I’m lamenting the fact that there’s only a glassful of orange juice left in the house to go with my Jameson in the morning.
I’m strangely calm right now, but when I start to think about walking through the front doors of the school again, seeing the principal, teachers and fellow students, and, most of all, being handed that envelope, it makes the whole thing seem a little too real.
In fairness though, this is nothing compared to June. It’s hard not to get worked up about it all, but the exam’s are done and no-one can change that now. (Well, maybe a corrupt State Examinations Commission employee, but that’s unlikely. Hopefully.) And, unless something terrible happens, like failing maths, we all get to go crazy tomorrow night and drink ’til we no longer remember what the Leaving Cert is.
I’m excited too. Excited at the thought of finally escaping from the clutches of secondary education. Excited at never having to think about a state exam again. Excited about what the future holds…maybe.
I went to the pub to meet a few friends earlier. Everyone was just going a bit insane at home and heading out for a drink seemed like the best idea. I had a mojito, which was suitably pretentious of me. People were planning tomorrow’s activities on an hour-by-hour basis, but I think I’ll go with a more spontaneous approach to things, it’s more my style..
Whatever happens there’ll be tears, either of joy or despair, and plenty of alcohol to intensify those emotions and help in the creation of much drunken debauchery. Right now though, it’s time to find that feckin’ daddy-long-legs’ hiding place, murder it with my trusty weapon of The Irish Times, and get myself to sleep. G’luck folks, it’ll be grand..
I’m going to put it out there: I have a love-hate relationship with writing. I don’t think I’m particularly good at it, and I definitely don’t think I have anything interesting to say, or at least anything that hasn’t been said already, but when people ask what I want to spend the rest of my life doing, the answer is usually journalism. I know journalism and writing aren’t the same, but scribbling down a few words now and again is the closest I’m going to get for the time being.
I love writing in that, when I start, it seems to flow. I can ramble on forever about things that have no meaning to anyone but me. Letters become words, words become sentences, and sentences become ideas that have no substance, but I type them anyway.
Recently, though, I’ve found it harder and harder to start that first letter that goes on to become a blog post. And this is a bad thing. It’s not so much that I don’t want to write anything, but I’m stuck for inspiration, for something I want to talk about, for something I can talk about. At this stage, I’m almost contemplating opening up the Leaving Cert English exam papers and completing old compositions just so I’m writing something – anything – even if it is as sad as tasks from an exam I’m (hopefully) finished with forever.
You might think this lack of ideas is a reflection on me and my life, but it’s really not. Quite frequently, I get a desire to analyse some facet of my horribly clichéd teenage life, but none of that would be fit for public consumption. It’s best for everyone if the comprehensive critiques of my emotional wellbeing remain under lock and key, at least until I’m dead and they’re worth millions…
Writing about writing seems a bit futile. It’s like a vicious circle that I’ll never manage to escape from, and I’ll spend my life typing this very blog post day after day, week after week, until no-one ever wants to hear my woeful story ever again.
On numerous occasions over the past few months, I’ve meant to make a list of possible things to write about, but never actually got to making the list. Now that the Leaving Cert is over, there are no longer refill pads and notebooks scattered around my room, and pens are increasingly hard to come by. On the rare occasion that I do make it to the pen-hunting step, that day’s Simplex crossword from the Times catches my eye and I engross myself in that instead.
Then again, maybe a blog is the wrong way to go about all of this. My main problem with blogs is that I open a new tab, along with Twitter, 4oD and various other time-wasting websites, without a clue what the purpose of my ‘New Post’ is. I might manage a title, possibly an opening paragraph, but it goes nowhere. There should be a purpose to one’s writing, and right now my purpose is to explain why there are no posts with purpose, which is a reasonable enough purpose in my book.
Perhaps I need to go back to pen and paper, and do it the old-fashioned way. Oh and I sorta cracked my laptop screen so that’s probably a good idea anyway.
Alarm goes off. I groan, and consider staying in bed. Sleep, after all, is a much-needed investment in productivity. If I’m too tired, I’ll end up doing nothing. I then remember I’ve said this to myself the past three mornings. Surely that’s enough sleep.
I decide to get up. I go to the kitchen. Eggs. Right. What kind? Check bread situation. Bad bread leads to a hard boiled egg, or possibly fried. Good bread leads to a poached egg. Cook and eat egg.
Check time. Shit. Quick shower, which becomes a long shower. No point in not washing your hair properly. It’s another investment, this time in atractiveness, which may be required later. Dry hair. Straighten hair. Find clean clothes. Leave house.
Get to library a little later than planned. Hope the ‘All study places taken’ sign isn’t up. It’s not! Success! Go inside. Realise all decent study places are taken. No window seats left. No people watching today then. Gutted.
Spot a seat at one of the big tables. Well, there’s a chair. No real table space. Awkwardly enquire as to whether there’s someone sitting there. (Eh, yeah, he’s invisible.) Sit down as others move their stuff to accommodate you. Ignore any sighs from fellow students.
Sigh yourself. Realise there’s a long day ahead. Decide which subject you hate least. Notice you don’t have book for said subject. Consider giving up. No, no, must work. Leaving Cert soon. Maths book. Pick topic. Binomial Theorem. ‘What the fuck is this shit?!’ Ah, week I was in Amsterdam. Start teaching yourself maths. Get bored. Look around.
Look at fellow Leaving Cert students. Attempt to judge them based on what subjects they’re studying. Realise all of them are using revision books and exam papers, while you’re learning everything for the first time. Become freaked out. Find something else to look at.
Wonder about the librarians’ lives. ‘He wears such shit clothes. Runners with trousers. I mean come on. Ay! Be nicer to that person. Just because you never got any further in your career than the first floor of the library.’
Old man number one comes in. He’s the nicely-dressed one though, kind of grandfatherly. He takes the paper. Sits down. Clears his throat. Looks around. ‘Hmm, does he have a wife? Why doesn’t he buy the paper and read it at home? Ah, wife dead, craving human interaction.’ He tries to talk to young girl next to him. She laughs nervously. He finishes the Examiner. He goes and gets the Times. He’s in this for the long run.
Smell of piss wafts past you. ‘Ah, it must be old man number two: smelly hobo. He too gets one of the papers. Does he have a wi-. Never mind. He just wants to experience the novelty of actually being inside a building, and what better place than the library.’
Shit. Realise you’ve done nothing. Look at book. Concentrate. Right. So. A binomial is… No, gone. See your set square out of the corner of your eye, and are brought back to first time you met Library Guy. He borrowed your set square. How romantic. What a cutie. How come you only ever saw him here three times? Talked twice. 66.7% of the time, there has been chat. Would be 100% but one time he didn’t see you. Choosing one’s seat is clearly important. Think again, ‘Where is he?!’
Analyse male-female ratio. Not good. Far too many females. Examine remaining males. Make mental list. Cross off librarian, old men, hobos, foreign men learning English, and slow-looking Leaving Certs. Realise there’s no-one left. Pine after Library Guy. Tweet same.
Look at clock. Count how long you’ve been here. Count how long is left. Accordingly, schedule lunch break and coffee break. An hour to go. Text a friend and try to convince them to come to town. Oh. No. They’re studying at home. Well fine. Just because you don’t have an internet addiction and can actually do that.
Get bored of maths. Check bag. Options are Chemistry and Biology. Hmm. Well I’m not studying the Reproductive System ’cause that would be so ‘awks’ if Library Guy came in, so Chemistry it is. Other advantage being this makes me look smart. Take out book. Curse subject. Question why you are doing it. Open first page of Organic Chemistry for what feels like the millionth time. Sigh. Make some notes, also for what feels like the millionth time.
Wahey! Half past one! Lunch! Happy. Then sad, when you realise you are going to have to eat lunch alone. Miss Library Guy all over again. Contemplate texting that person you know will be around. Realise this is stupid, and go to Tesco. Sandwich or pasta. Hmm. No forks available with the pasta. Sandwich it is. And a Tesco smoothie. 99c. Fuck yes.
Leave Tesco. Try to think where you can eat potentially messy sandwich without anyone seeing you. Eliminate all dodgy alleys. Try to think of somewhere with seating. Ah yes. That sort of street with blocks for sitting. Arrive at said location. Notice you are not the only person who has had this idea. Feel ‘at one’ with your fellow lonely lunch-eaters. Eat sandwich. Begin to enjoy sitting in sun. Contemplate not going back. Freak out when you realise crazy Spanish dude may have stolen something of yours. Rush back.
Return to the death hole. Scan room. No sign of Library Guy. Begin to hate him for doing this to you. Sit back down. More Organic Chemistry. Alkanes, alkenes, and the like. Maybe some calculations. Wait, no, fuck that shit. Begin clock-watching. Make mental plan of what you want to get done and by when. Forget mental plan. Decide you should start making physical plans. Find this to be too much effort.
Notice how much you hate people your own age. No, that’s not true. Well, not really. You just hate these people. ‘Please tell me I’m not like these people? Like, what is that girl wearing? It’s some sort of Adidas sports top. Now I’ve no problem with people exercising, but you’re in the library. The public library, i.e. you are in public. Wearing sports clothing in public should be illegal.’
Then feel sorry for the girl. She obviously doesn’t know any better. I mean, she’s left-handed, isn’t wearing any make-up and looks terrified by the wheezing fat man. Consider taking her under your wing and making her cool. Realise you have no patience and/or tolerance and that this would not end well.
Analyse guy sitting next to you in similar fashion. Speaking of fashion, he clearly doesn’t do it. Again, more of this sportswear thing. Get annoyed by prevalence of sportswear among Irish teenagers. Try to come up with solution to this horrible cultural phenomenon. Consider entering politics in order to combat said problem.
Develop headache. Water is required. Go to Centra for cheap water. 89c. How bad. That’s even cheaper than the smoothie. Decide you should treat yourself as you’ve been working so hard. Spot a bag of white chocolate buttons. G’wan so shur. Buy said items.
Stroll back to library, successfully avoiding certain people with the help of your trusty €1.50 sunglasses. Enter dark cavern of library once again. Wish you could be like all the carefree people outside enjoying the sun. Curse education system.
Take seat once again. Become distracted by woman with startlingly green eyeshadow. She gets herself a magazine and sits at one of the reading tables. She takes out an Alpro Soya Chocolate Milk drink. It’s in one of those little cartons with a straw, like a kid’s OJ would be. As always, notice what she’s wearing. Pale blue shirt with a dreadfully pointy collar. Short sleeved red jumper over it. Camel pants. Red and camel, very chic. But the green eyeshadow negates all this. She gets up. You follow her with your eyes. She picks up a copy of ‘Arthritis Today’. WHAT?! Oh my God. There’s a magazine called Arthritis Today. Tweet same.
Another hour left. Hmm. Hear some movement from behind you. Two girls are vacating a window seat. Success! Move belongings, offending people at your old table. Sigh, this time with relief. Enjoy having more space. Look out window. Become distracted.
Notice two knackers, one with his top off. The tattoo of his lover’s name on his back complements his tight-ended tracksuit pants very well. Not. He and his friend attempt to chat up two girls having a coffee. Try to decide whether or not they’re knackers too. Come to no definite conclusion. Make mental note to never go for coffee where aforementioned girls were having coffee.
Notice fluorescent jackets. Ah, the Gardaí. Mighty pillars of society. Genuinely. I’m a big fan. Nothing like a man in uniform. On their bicycles and all. They stop the two male knackers, and a friend. Notebook is taken out. This means business. Try to work out what is happening. Knackers walk off. Similar scene takes place with two older, and not as knacker-ish knackers. Cork is such a charming city.
Try and make a stab at learning something before you leave. Do some pH calculations. Decide to never do this question in the Leaving Cert. Yawn. Stretch. Notice flickering light. They better fix that. Notice place is getting quieter. People are leaving. Tables are emptying. Half an hour til closing time, but whatever. You’ve been here hours.
Pack up stuff. Leave. Decide the day is worthy of a blog.
(This is a true story. And if anyone actually got this far, then fair fucks.)