Most days I walk out of my apartment and take a right into the quad. The sky is usually a mixture of gray and blue, and sometimes I get confused and don’t understand where the drops are coming from until I realize that the wind is blowing them onto my face from the branches of the still-leafy trees. I take a left at the edge of the quad and hit a blue gate that isn’t nearly as attractive as the blue doors that are so prevalent in this town.
The gate swings open at the touch of a button and I’m free of the gated, satellite compound in which I reside. Now I have two options. Either I swing right, walk through the car-park, up a pathway beside a gym and its adjacent community center, left at another small alleyway and then reach the high street; or I take a left, walk down Ferry Pool Road, take a right and reach the high street that way. Both ways lead to the number 2 bus. All ways lead to the number 2 bus.
I usually walk, when the weather is nice. It’s 1.7 miles to Wadham College, an old and hollow square building built in 1610 by a woman who didn’t believe in women but believe in her husband. The building branched out, sprouted arms and legs and fingers and extra, slightly misshapen limbs. It swallowed up buildings that existed before it was ever thought up and created structures so hideous that professors to this day are ashamed of them. It created a little ventilation roof that sticks up across a second-floor outdoor walkway in order to help convince the taxman that two buildings were actually separate and thus, some complicated manner, to save some quarter million pounds. It keeps a modern statue of a man with no legs or stomach sitting in a chair in an out of the way garden because the statue is not very pretty but it is by a rather important artist and must be displayed somewhere, after all.
Oxford is a world of incongruencies and inconsistencies. Today I had a conversation with a man on the bus about the size of my phone, followed by a mutual tut-tutting at people’s lack of consideration when they climbed on before an old, tottering man had finished making his slow way off the big step from the bus to the ground. He nodded goodbye to me, saying “See you,” when he got off the bus.
I met a tutor who speaks oddly but who clearly loves her work and enjoys discussing it and engaging in it. I met a tutor who is all business but whose brain I want to own and whose knowledge of books I wish I already had.
Every second of every day feels wasted because I can only do one thing at a time rather than twelve. I want to read walk read bike read run write write write write play dance make love ride charge throw catch begin end complete endure become evolve react understand invest feel exist be do.