Life in a Cité Universitaire- The Post-Feckup Plan
Before I came to university, I was faced with the prospect of living with 11 complete strangers. Cooking, cleaning, sleeping, studying, watching crap TV and playing time-wasting games on my iPod, all under the same roof. Not in that order.
Now I’m looking at sharing, not a flat, but a university city, with over a thousand other students from various corners of the globe. All under one (very high) roof.
But what if the other kids don’t like me?
When I first came to university, I was terrified that I was too much of an acquired taste to cope in as social a setting as first-year flat-sharing. It went okay in the end. And yet the prospect of Freshers’ Take Two terrifies me. I don’t even know why the change in location should matter. But will my particular brand of humour translate? There are only so many awkward situations you can laugh your way out of.
On day one of Freshers’ Week The First, I found myself amongst a very friendly, if somewhat motley crew. The Wife was one of them. So was The Voice (who on good days would sing in the kitchen when she thought no one was around) and The Strange Bean (who has always been a strange bean, but is often lovable with it- and makes up for it with cake). There was also The Big Kid (who was possibly the only (semi-) responsible adult for miles around), Allstar (so named for being an all-rounder cleverdick-sorry, academic- sports enthusiast and party animal), The Alarm (who had trouble getting up in the morning), Sportee (whose unique way of spelling her name and love of exercise both baffled me for some time), Omelette (whose reputation for coming out with howlers such as “What is tuna made of?” and “What happens if you put more egg in an omelette?” was both endearing and legendary) and finally Apple MacG (whom I habitually greeted in a Scottish accent, despite the fact he is not in fact Scottish- and loves Apple… secretly). Those who can count may realise that I have in fact left one out. This is because there was (occasionally) one who will be known as The Absent.
There were of course occasions when all was not well in Block M. There was Kitchen-gate, which got pretty ugly, when supporters and critics of the Sin Cupboard (where dirty and neglected plates go to die) were at loggerheads (via Facebook or otherwise). There was the Disappearing Bathroom Door Incident- a vengeful act in return for nobody-remembers-what. And the Case of the Stolen Mattress Turned Bouncy Castle. The most fun you can have with your clothes on. On a mattress.
My point being, we all left that flat (I like to think) pretty good mates. We may have been childish enough to host Wheelie Chair Olympics in the corridor and partake in a Where’s Wok? event (ever had to follow a series of hilarious photographic clues in order to be reacquainted with your own wok?), but we were grown-up enough to lay our issues on the kitchen table (along with the stack of pizza menus and edible peace offerings), say sorry (for puking in the kitchen sink, for example) and get on with it.
I have taken many life lessons from that flat. And I’m sure many more await me, when I inevitably commit an almighty faux-pas, some Boris-worthy social gaffe… For I have perhaps equal talent for making a tit of myself.
But I have a tri-partite remedy to fix any wrong-doing.
1) Admit you messed up, fool.
2) Suck it up and say sorry.
3) Say sorry with sweets, cake, or something equally nom. Peace-offerings should always be edible.
With this in mind, I’d like to take this moment to address my dear friend and flatmate, The Wife, publicly.
I stole approximately 1.5 Mini Eggs. I hope that, in time, you will find it in you to forgive me. In the meantime, please accept these delicious (insert whatever goodies I picked up from the Spar here).
Warm regards and ashamed bowing of heads,
It’s an infallible fast-track back into the good books. Let’s just hope the French are as fond of bon-bons as they are their children.