People have been asking me just what the heck I'm doing back in Cambridge so early, two weeks before term starts. After coming up with about a hundred different reasons, some designed to evoke sympathy and maybe get me a date ("They messed up my ticket scheduling...*sniff*") some so utterly far-fetched that people actually laugh at my face ("Why, because I'm hardworking, of course!"), I decided that the whole sorry tale is indeed entertaining and insightful enough to put in a blog post. So gather close, children, for 'tis a tale of Ministers and Awards Days, of vengeful publisher dads and black-hijab'd banshees, of Donald Trump and foxy air stewardesses, of flight ticketing agents and oh you get the idea.
The exam season of 2006 was a tough period for all of us. Sure, some medics never left their rooms for fear that 10 minutes apart from their books would cause them to bleed from the nose and lose their first classes, and others showed up for lectures with bruises on their foreheads from where they had been slamming their textbooks against their heads the whole night hoping the information would go in wholesale (after removing their thick-as-mathematics-textbooks glasses, of course), but I was never one of those. Sure, I was always seen as a capable medic, and because I never hung out with the other medics everyone always assumed I was studying and was a genius. (Fools! Bwahahahahaha!) I, of course, was busy either watching House or Grey's Anatomy or, heaven forbid, Desperate Housewives (hey, I got desperate sometimes. Ooh, a pun!) and was busy playing two-bit minor characters on stage under bitchy directors who looked like Drew Carey after a milkshake binge. So it was that in early June I walked into the exam hall, sat down in my seat, and proceeded to get the faecal matter kicked out of me. Not one of my better showings. I always slunk out of the exam hall right after the papers were collected, with the obligatory oh-it-went-fine smile plastered on my face, and shot back to Jesus faster than a civil servant on lunch break.
But hey, I had something to look forward to. My sister's Awards Day, her graduation from the same A-Levels college I attended, was the week after my exams, and I had already booked a flight ticket. But no sooner did I bound back happily from the travel agent than I ran into a wall of red tape. Apparently I was intending to fly out 2 hours (yes, TWO HOURS) before the official end of term, so I had to get "written permission from all the relevant authorities", or so said the bushy-eyebrowed porter with the thick Scottish accent. So I went to war with the combined forces of the Bureaucracy of Jesus College. After e-mailing and personally seeing and/or calling my Director of Studies, the Senior Tutor, the Senior Tutor's Secretary, the Senior Tutor's cat, the Head Porter, the Housekeeper, the Accommodation Officer, my mother, your mother, and my bedmaker, I finally got permission to get out of college early. The Awards Day was intended to be on a Friday, and I, being the man of prudence that I am (as well as being used to bad luck, bad weather and bad timing) booked a flight on Wednesday, leaving me one whole day's margin of error before the event. So I packed my bags, bought my souvenirs, and prepared to play the magnanimous returning-champion gentleman ex-student by surprising my little sister (and maybe a few other selected females) back in college.
As fate would have it, though, the Minister of Higher Education was asked to be the VIP for the event, and graciously agreed. At that moment, however, God was watching The Apprentice reruns, and got a bit jealous of this Mark Burnett fellow and his success with dramatic television, so He switches channels (with his Universal Remote. geddit?), and gets Boston Legal, and now He's really pissed. So He decides to outdo both Mark Burnett and David E. Kelley, and looks down from His mighty throne upon the Earth, and the first person He sees is this happy handsome drama-free medic bouncing out of Jesus College, and He thinks to Himself, "Aha! I'm gonna make this person's life a reality TV show no one'll forget. Take that Jeff Probst!"
And so it is that the Minister of Higher Education realises that Friday isn't good for him, calls the college and gets Awards Day brought forward. To WEDNESDAY. The day of my friggin flight.
To top it all off, my ticket back to Malaysia is only worth 3 months, and so here I am, exactly 90 days later, sitting in an empty house becoming a testing-ground for all the germs in Cambridge before they go all-out on the incoming freshers. (Cough cough sneeze.)
So there ya go. Actually God got a lot more creative, and it was a lot more dramatic, involving a vengeful publisher dad, his equally vengeful daughter, and my best friend, but kids read this blog, as do my parents (hi Mom!), so here's the watered-down version. Besides, I wouldn't want to get sued or put on the front page by any rich publisher dads, or get bitched about in a book, so I'll keep my rants to myself this time. Not like any of you don't know anyway. Thank God for good friends and baby sisters to cling on to. Everyone needs their rocks to cling on to when God hits you with the plot twists and life flips 180 degrees and trusted people turn on you. And when I sit and pray to
*okay maybe not. Thanks go to Haz though for suggesting this post title!