when retreat is not an option, and remorse just ain’t your style

When I got back to Brum, the weather was best described as diluvian. Midway through last week it was so bright and sunny to almost qualify as sweltering. Today, building on icy encroachments yesterday, the entire lake froze over, and every blade of grass was lined with frosty filigree. Not that it isn’t nice to have everything so gloriously clear and bright (well, and rather sad to see the sprinkling of bemused seagulls wandering around listlessly on the ice), but I am now firmly convinced that the sky just has no idea what it’s doing.

Not that it’s affected me that much, as most of the time since arriving at Mason could, with occasional breaks for meals, naps, lectures and all-too-brief human contact, be characterised as an all-weeker (like an all-nighter but… yeah). Almost eight thousand words of presentably coherent dissertation have been produced and submitted, and sufficient facts, references and cool things generated that the remaining five thousand will be generated by whittling my notes down rather than building them up. Having filled and emptied my tea caddy twice and averaged less sleep than Alte Fritz, I have spent most of the week thoroughly addled and fear I have made a bit of a fool of myself to several people. But now I am sane enough to make amends.

Most of the doubts about my diss have evaporated now. I think what I handed in wasn’t particularly well structured, but the individual components, the concepts and the research, are good enough that a sustained process of rearranging and pruning will eventually yield A Decent Diss. That, and now that having handed it in I’ve finally managed to get a copy of the module handbook off a friend (the history office’s provision of ancillary material being nonexistent, par for terrible course [hurr]) I’m clear on the fine detail. A meeting with my supervisor on Wednesday should help with the structure sufficiently (or, alternatively, throw me into a tailspin of terminal doubt) that the rest will be plain sailing.

This enormous press shitstorm about USMC corpse-desecration in the sandpit is depressingly absurd. I cannot understand the mindset that can sustain outrage at piddling on a dead man but not at the idea of attacking and killing him in the first place.

The night after handin, I went bowling with Redbrick at Star City (the West Midlands commercetainment megasprawl, not the secret cosmonaut-training town) for the first time since I was about twelve (my bowling skills haven’t improved since then). A Good Time was generally had (I avoided spending my student loan on those appalling 10p sliding machines, and seemed for once to satisfy the usual “so what is it you actually do at Redbrick?” question), and I will very much miss the Redbrick crew. This has been something of a theme in third year: good times wistfully characterised as things to soon be lost, recent events tinted with surreal pre-emptive nostalgia.

But it ain’t over yet.

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3 thoughts on “when retreat is not an option, and remorse just ain’t your style

  1. korgmeister says:

    I cannot understand the mindset that can sustain outrage at piddling on a dead man but not at the idea of attacking and killing him in the first place.

    Oh good, it’s not just me.

    • brosencrantz says:

      It’s either conscious hypocrisy or plain fuckheadedness. I honestly can’t tell which.

      • korgmeister says:

        I think people have this oddly romantic notion of warfare as being a friendly competition between gentlemen experts. Like a polo match, with guns.

        It is, in truth, very much like nature: A brutal struggle where no holds are barred because the stakes are life and death.

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