Claudia Blunt: Week 6

This week, CLAUDIA talks us through her manic Monday morning madness.

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It’s that moment of blind Monday morning panic. My phone makes an unfamiliar noise – so unfamiliar that I actually rouse myself to check what the hell is going on. It’s my nifty Google calendar, alerting me to the fact that I need to be at the Sidg in 20 minutes for a crucial seminar on a paper I will almost certainly fail. Of course it was a weird noise; work doesn’t happen very often in this corner of the land, so an alarm alerting me to my impending doom is always suspicious. Bugger. Bugger. Bugger. Bugger. Shit. Damn. Bugger. WHY?! (Hugh, you didn’t have it nearly as bad as me).

My hair is still mysteriously crispy with what I assume (hope) can only be remnants of VK’s of yore. The floordrobe scramble for socks ensues while, like an octopus, I try to simultaneously brush my teeth and make myself look like a normal, respectable, hard working and, above all else, sober student.

What ensues is me putting on so much make-up with such incredible speed that I end up looking like a sort of clown-come-drag-queen-monster. No matter. No time. I stumble about, swearing blindly, manically reaching for some clothing. No meticulous outfit planning today. Please God, don’t let anyone see me – I look like I was dragged backwards through Oxfam in about 1977.

Grabbing my laptop, I peg it out of the door, running like a bat out of hell through college…only to discover half way to the plodge that I have, in fact, failed to put on a bra. As down as I am with the slightly senior female academic braless aesthetic that seems so rife amongst many of my supervisors, this isn’t a look I’m keen on championing (however important our feminist struggle is and continues to be. Amen Sisters).

Turn around. Sprinting, tits akimbo, across the grass – there’s no time for convention this morning; all the while I’m sinking into the one patch of grass that college so kindly permits us to walk on. In my panic, I’ve chosen totally impractical booties, and I’m now running across an enormous field. The last time I walked across grass in heels, I was divot stomping. How depressing. Now I’m just covered in mud and increasingly late and increasingly furious. I barrel back into my room like a lunatic, strip off, locate the over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder, redress and smash past the bedder, back out of the door and into the February cold.

I’m running as fast as a woman of ample bosom and silly amounts of cigarettes a day can, in impractical footwear. I get as far as the traffic lights next to Darwin in quite extraordinary time. Now the waiting game begins. I doubt I am the first or the last pedestrian to be caught out by the tomfoolery of this particular Cambridge cartage. (I once actually witnessed my DoS scream an expletive while sat in the traffic on his bike at this very spot – it might have been the best moment of my life when he looked up, caught my eye and for once he was the one in trouble). Eventually, I give up on the traffic safety that those hedgehog adverts so carefully taught me, and fling myself into the oncoming peril and begin dodging vehicles with all the aplomb that befits a mad finalist.

It’s at this point that I realise how much more simple life would be if the Alison Richard Building didn’t exist. I would probably have a much better lecture attendance record if things were the way they used to be, when PPS was still pretending to not really be a subject. Also, I wouldn’t be carrying mental scars from that one time when I stupidly decided to eat in the Arc Café and I dropped my tray of ravioli all over myself, and all the cool clever kids laughed and pointed.

Eventually, after what feels like a hideous eternity, I arrive at the department. Only ten minutes late. Miracles do not cease. I now begin wheezing my way up too many flights of stairs and make my way into the seminar room, tail between legs and head hanging firmly in shame. Everyone else is perfectly preened and looking engaged and thoroughly interested and excited at the prospect of a synoptic paper making up a quarter of our degrees. Bastards. I slump into the corner and begin to feel incredibly unwell.

In the space of 30 seconds, three thinkers I’ve never heard of are mentioned; all the good boys and girls are nodding in agreement and laughing at her little jokes. I’m sitting pretending to be avidly writing notes when I am, in fact, writing this. Oops.