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Absentia Inopinatus

The two of you, I’m sure, must have been on edge during this unexpectedly long silence. For that, I apologise. The reason, in short, is that this past term at University had been staggeringly brutal and took very nearly every moment of my time. There’s little point in explaining and, to be fair, it wouldn’t be terribly interesting anyway. The best I can say is that, as you’re both aware, in areas of mathematics I am essentially just a few precious steps away from being the Village Idiot of Simpleton. And despite being just one class from graduation, I am unable to take that class until I supplicate myself to the harsh rigours of the University-imposed prerequisites for that class, in this case, of course, another maths class. And not just any maths class, but a newly-invented maths class which made its debut this term; one requiring a number of ‘outside projects’ and many hours of additional ‘lab work’ to try and fit in amongst the other not-so-annoying parts of your life. Over the past 16 weeks I so I have often felt like a tortured slave in the bowels of a Roman galleon, being whipped to the rhythmic pounding of an enormous drum.

It was relentless.

This bit of torture was paired with a film class – Film Noir & Horror, to be exact – which, on the surface, given the vast amount of film classes I’ve taken in the past, and my own long-standing interest in the two genres, seemed to be the quintessential ‘blow off’ class. A bit of fluff to balance against the cruelty of maths. But no. It, too, consumed unwieldy amounts of my time, as the films we were required to watch (and later discuss on an internet bulletin board as well as in class) were not provided by the instructor. Rather, he helpfully suggested they could be had from nearly any retail source – Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, etcetera – various rental places, or possibly through Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or wherever.

Very often I found myself resorting to poor-quality web videos when the above mentioned sources failed to provide me with options. And after having purchased memberships in Netflix and Amazon specifically for the class, I was incredibly fucking annoyed to find only one of the 14 films available for free. Amazon Prime, especially, turned out to be a shocking waste of cash. Why pay a monthly premium for a service and then still be expected to pay an additional $1.99-$3.99 for certain films? I was outraged.

If I’m honest, though, I did take a short mental holiday at one point to binge-watch Derek and series 4 of Arrested Development on Netflix – after homework was caught up, mind you. Otherwise it was quite literally all work and no play for the past 16-odd weeks. One good thing about the film class, however, is that it provided me with a new film to add to my Rosebud Was the Sled Reviews sometime in the coming weeks. You’re thrilled, I’m sure.

A smallish addendum to the above: Wednesday, 15 May, was Graduation. A friend of mine asked me to attend the ceremony and see her receive her diploma. I specifically requested the evening off. As usual, because that’s how my shit job typically is, I was denied the evening off and, so, did not see my friend graduate, nor was I able to attend the smallish get-together afterwards because I was scheduled until 10PM and then again at 6.30AM the following morning exactly as I had asked not to be.

At about 7PM, I got a text off another friend who was attending the ceremony. ‘OMG!’ it said. ‘You’re graduating! Your name is in the flyer!?’

And yet there I was, grovelling like a supplicant for the great unwashed masses, performing my gruelling role of menial subservience for a thankless and thoughtless corporation.

‘It’s got to be a mistake,’ I texted back. ‘I think someone would have let me know I was supposed to be graduating tonight.’

With classes having only wrapped up a few days ago, I haven’t had a chance to talk with my academic advisor just yet about this little spanner in the works. But that is a problem for another day. For now, I’m free of the nightmare for a few precious weeks and am planning to drink beer.

Lots of beer.

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