Monthly Archives: April 2011

An Average Day in the Library

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.

The End.

(This is a true story. And if anyone actually got this far, then fair fucks.)

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Oral Fever

I promised myself I’d go to bed early tonight. I swore I’d be in bed by nine and asleep by ten. Yet here I am, once again, going back and forth between Twitter and Facebook, watching rubbish on RTE Player, before finally deciding a blog post is a good idea.

I’m wrecked. Exhausted. Drained. I could go on, but I’m sure you get my drift. Oral fever has hit the school and it’s spreading faster than the swine flu did, only it’s worse, because those hand gel dispensers around the building have no power over this epidemic.

On Monday morning we met Eibhlín, the examiner. She seemed nice, putting us all at ease and making us think that all we need to learn is ‘Mo Theaghlach agus Mo Chaithimh Aimsire’. That may be the case, but knowing me I’ll end up digging myself into various holes and going off on multiple tangents because, stupidly, I’d rather force my opinions down someone’s throat instead of twisting every topic and relating it back to the economy which I could talk about forever. God forbid I should actually utilise some effective exam technique.

You can feel it, though. You can feel the air of slight panic blended together with a nice touch of tension that is so unique to the fortnight of the orals. The signs are up near the rooms where they’re on, instructing students to take a different route, avoid going to the office, and to just shut up in general. Leaving Cert students wander around aimlessly, Irish notes in hand, obsessively consulting The List in order to see how long is left until D-Day. Some teachers attempt to get a bit of work done, while others resign themselves to the fact that it’s Irish and Irish only on the brain and allow us chat away to practice the cúpla focal.

Each day I say to myself that today’s the day I’ll learn the Irish stuff properly. That day has yet to arrive though. I have the notes written out and all put together with one of those nice binder clip things – y’know the black ones that look like they’d be used to keep a manuscript for a book together. I attempt to talk to myself. I blab on about country vs city living, school, my family, last summer, next summer, last weekend, next weekend, music, what I’d do if I won the lotto, if I was Taoiseach, if I didn’t get the points… the list goes on.

Now it’s half eleven, and my eyes probably want me to stop looking at this stupid screen and allow them to close. So I think I’ll probably grant them, and myself, that luxury. Tomorrow’s my last day of learning how to talk in Irish about hypothetical situations. Thursday’s D-Day for me. I might come back and let y’all know how I got on. Hopefully reports will be positive, although if you don’t see another post here between now an June, feel free to assume the worst.

Slán go fóill agus oíche mhaith..

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A Life Update (Possibly in list form)

Wow. Hi. Remember me? Probably not. Apologies to the four people who’ve been checking this horrifically neglected blog on a daily basis in the hope that I’d published some more of my world-class ramblings. I’ve been busy. Because I like lists at the moment, I’m going to tell you in list form what I’ve been doing. Or some of what I’ve been doing at least.

1. I went to Amsterdam! I think that’s the biggest bit of news really, hence it’s number one. Although this list will not be arranged in order of importance. Anyway, I visited a friend in Amsterdam and spent five-nights-six-days there. It was lots of fun and Amsterdam is an amazingly chilled out and beautiful city.  If I get a chance, I’ll do an Amsterdam post, because it really does deserve one of its own.

2. I did my pre Leaving Cert exams before that. They were ok. I don’t mind exams; they’re better than having classes and they seem to go pretty fast. I’ve nearly all of the results back at this stage and I’m quite pleased, especially considering the vast majority of subjects were studied solely the night before.

3. The Irish orals are on this week and French next week. My Irish is coming up this Thursday I think, a fact which is slightly terrifying, but not as terrifying as the fact that French is next Monday. There’s a high probability of me crying.

4. I’ve been listening to lots of music, probably just in an attempt to avoid doing any work, but it’s nice all the same. I’m also very much looking forward to various gigs and festivals that will be taking place during the summer.

5. I’ve been talking about getting a summer job. Yeah, just talking about it. God forbid I should hand out CVs or actually do anything about it.

6. I’ve joined StumbleUpon and have whiled away many hours looking at nothing. It’s horribly addictive and I wouldn’t recommend joining unless you consciously want to destroy your education and/or home life/marriage.

7. I hung out in the library there a bit while I was doing the pres. Studying, like. Not actually hanging out reading the newspapers with the old men or anything. Life’s not that bad yet. It was good though. I made a friend when this guy borrowed my set square, I saw hobos being arrested on Grand Parade, I went for lunch and coffee in Gusto lots, I engaged in polite conversation with an old man, I wondered just why that Vans was up on the window ledge next to me, I cursed the loud buttons on my phone, I looked out the window alot and, from time to time, I studied.

I couldn’t be bothered concluding this nicely so instead:

The End.

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