My life has not changed at all. As in the last ten years, it is blessed by the stars and eschewed by the men. Be not afraid if time passes and there is no word from me, be not anxious by the tram-station nor blue when you're playing, because I have taken my destiny in my own hands. I have thought in light-years and I have suffered in seconds.
So. I meet my firend in the reception. I am a little bit snop-dogged from the waiting, but she seems not to notice. We go on to discuss what we are going to make for dinner. Her friend is right outside, chatting on the phone, and we consult her as well. Ultimately we opt for a carbonara, and in the process of this decision we decide to invite another girl who is notoriously appreciative of the dish. So it's going to be four of us, after all. We send texts to the other two girls to meet us at nine at my block, then we head out of the reception. The girl kindly offers to contribute some of the ingredients, so I suggest we quickly pass by her room before reaching mine, just as a way of making a pit-stop.
Thus began the most sensational Odyssey in my entire life. After reaching her place and picking up the eggs, we walk out and are so rapt in conversation that we manage to get lost and walk to the opposite end of the college before we even figure out where the hell we're going. I do so hate it when architects build blocks with those counter-intuitive doors which lead sideways away through a staircase rather than just straight-as-logic out of the building. We turn and are going in the right direction this time around when we meet a friend of ours who is walking alongside some guy we don't know (the scenario is vaguely mystical and looks like something out of a poem by Thomas Harding). We stop for a quick chat and we decide to invite him over for the dinner. He says he'll be coming with some beef for the second plate because he is as hungry as a polar bear (dear friend). We're halfway home now when the girl turns and says, 'If he's bringing some meat, shouldn't we also make some mash?' It hadn't occurred to me and it's not a bad idea by any standard, but I don't have the ingredients for it. 'Oh, no worries, I do,' she pipes. So we head back to her place to pick up the ingredients for the mash. On the way, we meet a girl I rather like. 'Oh, hello,' I exclaim, my levels of attention leaping upwards. 'Hi,' she says, 'why are you carrying eggs in your hand?'
I hadn't realised - as a result of my original assumption that the trip was only going to be a minute, I hadn't bothered to put the eggs in a container and am now walking through campus randomly holding eggs in my hands like some Spanish farmer. I try to joke my way out of the question, and of course the joke sinks like the Titanic. We walk away, with sobriety.
We are in the original girl's house again, and we pick up the ingredients for the mash. This time I put the eggs in a container. We take a quick break at the room of the girl below us because my friend needs to organise tomorrow's Miss Marple tea-session or whatever the fuck and obviously she can think of no better time to do this than now, then we head out. It goes without saying that we bump into someone again. This time it is a girl who works with my friend every day and is currently heading home. As though we gave anything like the remotest of shits, she starts telling us about recipes on how to make yoghurt. Yoghurt. Who the fuck asks anyone about yoghurt recipes on a pathway in the middle of the night? Anyway. My friend counters by inviting her over to the dinner. (Unspeakably inspiring. I can't wait to hear her speak about yoghurt until three. Besides, this is starting to look crowded). We are about to leave her to her de rerum yogurtae when we are joined by another group of girls, also friends of my friend, which of course extends the chat and engages them for the better part of the next ten minutes. I for my own part am not so much bothered as a little surprised by the amount of people who seem to be around at this hour of night, you would think there's a convention of some sort. Still, I let them have their girly chat and let my mind wander in the meantime. After a solid five minutes finding out whose friend of whose colleague was thinking of banging whose boyfriend of whose sister of whose uncle, I say a couple of words to make conversation with a girl in the collectivity and my friend turns sharply towards me: 'Andrea, stop hitting on my friends.'
We are now three-quarters of the way home and I am thinking we just might make it. We do meet a friend of mine's this time around, and I stop to chat with him - not because I had any inclination to, merely because I wanted to keep the girl waiting to piss her off in revenge. We finally reach the house (my heart was pounding on the last fifty metres - I was convinced that on this final stretch we were going to meet some astrologer friend of hers who was going to keep us there for half an hour to explain the history behind the constellation of Orion and I would die of starvation in the wait).
No-one is there yet, so me and the girl have the time to get things ready for dinner. At around quarter to ten someone knocks on the door. I open and I find one of the girls I had invited - standing there with other five individuals! 'Took some friends with me,' she said, 'hope you don't mind.'
So there's seven of us in a room the size of a ship's cabin if the ship has been intended for wire-haired Fox Terriers, and another half-hour later the lad who was supposed to bring meat comes over with no food and another friend of his. The munch I have is now starting to look sparse, so they both go out to fetch some more ingredients, and while they're out the two girls we'd originally sent texts to come over (alone, thankfully). I am by now so hungry I'm starting to see spots before my eyes, so I say:
'Well, let's get started.'
'But Andrea,' one of the girl reminds me, 'we've got to wait for the two lads to come back.'
I just about faint temporarily and they reanimate me with massages. I am still half-conscious when the two lads come back. Finally, at around quarter to eleven, I can start cooking. I look around me and notice there are, in total, no less than eleven of us. So much for the 'intimate dinner at around eight.' I'm just thinking that this is beyond my capacity when the door knocks again. I open, and there's two girls standing in the corridor.
'Well, what is it?' I ask.
'Hi, you invited us for hot chocolate after we were done with our dinner, remember?'
Oh fuck. So there's thirteen of us now in a room the size of a ship's cabin if the ship has been intended for wire-haired Fox Terriers, and I have to go out and find someone else still up at those hours - my crockery is not enough to cook the food for everyone and I have to employ borrowed pans and stuff. When I finally start eating, it is one of the sweetest moments of my existence. I was going to call it a night at around one, except that the guests had one of those Mother Teresa moments that people sometimes get and they offered to do the washing for me. Per se it was meant to make the night easier and smoother, except that someone started passing around spliffs while they did 'to make the job easier' and it took them two hours and forty-five minutes for two frying pans and the dishes. I don't know if it contributed to the washing in terms of efficiency - it certainly made it a much more jolly experience than it usually is.
We closed around ten past four. I had work at eight thirty. I set the alarm for seven with several thoughts going to historical suicides like Socrates or Mark Anthony, after which I put my head on the pillow. At the split instant that I do that, the alarm goes off. It is seven already. My hand reaches across and switches the devilish instrument off, then I faint into the bed. By this I do not mean that I fall back asleep; I mean that I literally lose consciousness. My head fell back into the pillow without even the time for the usual 'I'll just close my eyes for ten seconds' kind of thought that you usually get before dozing off. When I open my eyes again, I see through the blinding headache (oh yeah I forgot to mention there was vodka alongside the spliffs, just to make sure we'd go to sleep early) that it is ten past eight in the morning.
I managed to badge in at work only eleven minutes off schedule on that day, but the state I presented myself in has already earned me the reputation of 'Vodka Goofy' among my colleagues. I guess I can live with that. Huzzah!