The Account of a Lifetime

October 15, 2009

Leaving a room

Filed under: A day in the life of...,Tea. Earl Grey. Hot — xisor @ 12:01 am

It’s a difficult one, eh? Some people have a knack for it, some people are incapable. It encapsulates or is involved with so many aspects of my life and yet I rarely turn much thought to it.

This evening, thanks to a bit of residual awkwardness from last night’s tiff regarding MP’s Expenses (boo hiss, people in positions trusted to be honest, outrage, outrageous outrage etc) there was another mention of it this evening. Unfortunately, last night I did not contain my reaction to the sheer outpouring of blubbering emotion. “You should be shocked! Outraged!” I was told. “They’re all thinking they can play fast and loose with taxpayers money!” I was informed.

The trouble is, and I could be way off the mark as I haven’t done my research,  I really doubt the MPs are that bad. In a few days, I will conduct a little reading on the topic to see if my thoughts are at all reasonable or not, but in the meantime I’ll outlay what I read to be ‘my view’ and theirs.

My view: MPs aren’t evil scheming maniacs out to rob us blind. A few of them played and fiddled, many of them took part in an horrid bit of ‘let it pass’ malignance. All told, the system has to be reviewed, tightened and once that’s done; folks’ll pay it back. Anyone not doing so will be wrangled with and, in the end, a serviceable repair will be made.

Their view: They (the MPs) have been swindling the taxpayer and should sit down, shut up, pay up right away. No arguments.

Except…who’s in charge of the rearranging? The lead arguer last night didn’t even begin to probe that. The people rearranging the system are still ‘the government’ as it were (okay, not cabinet, not necessarily elected; I know: I’ve not researched it, facts like this could be way off), but the ‘review’ is still something with which our MPs should be sceptical. If it’s being rearranged, make sure it’s done right.

My understanding is that the ‘arguments’ aren’t over whether things are to be paid back, but whether the pay-back is the correct or sensible amount.

When it was mentioned this evening, I sat, shocked. I don’t recall, but I suspect my mouth was agape. The statement was almost identical; we should be shocked, oturaged, enraged…

I promptly left the room

Bustled about a bit, prepared a cup of tea (kettle was almost empty, so only got half a cup, so I put on some more) and put on some toast. Flustered, I think that’s how I could be described. It’s a new sensation for me, well, I was voluntarily powerless and speechless. I’d had tons to say, but I bit my tongue.

To put it mildly, I tend to hang around for far too long. I always took the approach that if I get into an argument, the most satisfactory way to leave it is ‘at the other side’, having argued the hell out of the subject, exchanged some ideas, opinions and information. As startling as it is for people who know me, I regularly change my mind via arguments. It’s apparently a learning mechanism for me; politics, religion, science, philosophy, interpersonal relationships. Most of my views are formed, informed and reformed via arguments. They’re also tested.

It’s also often a surprise that I can say sorry if I’m out of line and so forth.

Missing information

I don’t think many people realise that what I’m arguing isn’t a complete representation of myself. I try to be less judgemental and less quick to opine on things than I feel like doing. It doesn’t come across very often, but I do try.

So, when it came ‘to blows’, as it were, I don’t hold back points and ideas. ‘Will you check up the candidates expenses records at the next elections?’ I quizzed; no response. ‘I imagine anyone so outraged but who didn’t bother to check would be a hypocrite…’. It ended quickly afterwards. And yet it reappeared exactly the same this evening.

No, the important thing now was to not complicate things. I’m not trying loyalties, not in this situation. News for every cynic! I ran from a fight. And I’ll probably keep doing so. I didn’t find it easy, but there we are. I left the room. It ain’t easy.

Other ways and reasons

Last year, in McIntosh, one of the first years was infamous for being utterly unable to leave the common room. He’d say goodbye, announce he was leaving, and yet fifteen minutes later could still be seen sitting down again, engaging in conversation, striking up new topics. Then he’d announce “Now I’m leaving”, and still not leave! It was atrocious, abominable. Highly amusing. Soon people had even begun a timing game; as soon as he announced he’d be leaving, a simple matter of timing him!

In the end, it got so ridiculous that people ended up shouting at him to “Just fucking leave!” and so forth. All in good humour, of course, but still very odd.

Way back in first year, three of my friends also had fascinating abilities to leave rooms. The first, a fine young lad, had an exceedingly impressive ability to simply disappear. One moment you’d be chatting to him, next he’d suddenly have vanished. It too became a running joke. Even five years later, it was still entirely possible for him to vanish. Bizarre, but absolutely impressive too.

A further friend, one of my closest (and one of the ones for whom I was often the cause of her leaving the room), had a knack for almost never leaving a room except in an angry storm. There’s not much to tell, highly unreasonable but still a marvellous friend. It happened over and over again. Sometimes it’d be something someone said, sometimes it’d be a bad reaction to a topic or an action, sometimes it’d be entirely inexplicable. Still, that’s just another way to leave a room!

A third friend from way back when also had a peculiar habit, much like my own. Well, that’s not strictly true. He wasn’t anywhere near as argumentative or irritating, but he did have the fascinating ability to simply stay. He picked up the reputation, even though I don’t know if he knows it, that he’s often ‘the last man to leave’. The flip of it is that he could be accused of outstaying his welcome…but I don’t think that’s entirely true. Well, if it is then it applies to a vast amount of my friends.

Hell, the whole bunch, both last year in McIntosh and from first year in Regs, were always being the last to leave. In first year, once we’d been kicked out of the dining hall, we’d regularly spend a good portion of the evening sitting directly outside the dining hall. From then, if we wanted to maintain the pretence of moving on, we’d end up in the entry stairwell (or on shameless days, give up and simply go to the library [i.e. a left instead of a right]). I’m told we’d even been nicknamed ‘the Hall hall crew’ by others, given how often we’d spent hanging around the hall!

By my fifth year, by turning to McIntosh and the entirely new crowd of folks, I eventually became acquainted with a fair chunk of third and first years. Time spent in the dining hall, the common room: massive. I’m not sure if there’s rhyme or reason in my choice of friends, but it was an incredible bit of luck. Once more, we’d almost always be the last to leave. And it was a big, varied circle. Quite excellently endearing.

Anyway, this is very much a rambling blog. I simply thought I’d draw anyone passing through’s attention to the idea. Leaving a room, more complex than simply walking out the door.

Anyone who cares; the tea I made was first Earl Grey (the half cup) and then a nice cup of Assam. I’m off to make another, probably Assam.

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1 Comment »

  1. Has anyone out there seen a Xisor (AKA Frank)? He’s wanted on a certain forum that he tends to frequent. The man is about yo high, yo wide, and screams “Scottish” (literally and metaphorically!). He normally has a drink or two in his hands, though attempts to throw off people by occasionally being caught empty-handed. Be warned he is a master of disguise. Half the time he looks like a scholarly gent who spends his time sitting in a large-back armchair and reading large, musty tomes. The other half of the time he looks like someone you find lying outside the liquor store who has a hard time standing up and relieves himself on random trash cans, alleyways, and the occasional dog (“giving them a taste of their own medicine”). He has also been known to masqueraded as a banana at times, so best to check the fruit bowls for him as well!

    By the way, I at times have been known to drink epic quantities of Earl Grey tea (I believe I’ve been responsible for 90% of Twinning’s profits) and therefore must salute you, fellow tea drinker for the excellent choice!

    Comment by TheBaron — October 25, 2009 @ 8:18 pm | Reply


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