It was rather strange to wake up this morning and remember there are other people in the flat with me. For one thing, I had to remember to put clothes on (though as the year progresses, it’s getting harder and harder to forget. Well, and still remain alive). Weird though – my flatmate moved out at Hallowe’en. Three weeks ago, and already I’m feeling that four whole rooms plus the kitchen and bathroom might be just the right amount for one person after all. I am so spoiled.
I do not have free range through all four at the moment, however! So I tidied up two of em, as quietly as possible, and right when absolutely everything was shiny and I was starting to flag and think a snooze might be nice, everyone got up and needed breakfast and round after round of tea and oo-er, I don’t usually have breakfast, I didn’t plan for this. Damn. Did I bring my wee bro a cup of tea in bed? Er, yes. Wait, the little git doesn’t even drink, no chance that was a hangover!
With all that out of the way (for everyone had gone back to bed) I cast my eye over the shiny new engineering course. Right. It is in no way time to have a shuftie at the Maths, not when I feel a bit tired and paranoid and the numbers will Know and like sheep who have seen the sheepdog have a nervous breakdown and have no respect any more, they will not do my bidding. Ever. Even simple budgeting will become impossible.
(Note: this has happened once already, when I was fifteen and a bit ahead of the whole class and was punished by being made to work out how to fathom a quadratic equation, based on nothing but a book full of regimented rows of stuff like ‘four x squared plus six x plus six equals five x squared plus seven x plus four’, and at the back, the answers (‘3!’*) No recipe was given. I never even twigged that you were allowed to swap things from one side of the damn equals sign to the other.
*(And if three is not the answer to that, well, you get why.)
After weeks of this, my nerves were shot to hell and I never did really pick it up. Indeed, even maths I had previously conquered found courage and ganged up and kicked my arse; suddenly, I could no longer even provide correct change. The Male Parental Unit, who had presumably tried to soothe my nerves about starting primary school eleven years earlier* by teaching me all about negative numbers the night before (but only got me branded a smart-arse trouble-maker for the whole of primary because I kept insisting they existed and the teachers insisted they did Not), did an abrupt about-face when I begged for help and decided I was crap at maths on account of being female. (Though it just occurred to me, maybe he couldn’t do quadratics either!) However, I trusted him, so I quietly shelved rather a lot of dreams and settled for going into biology. Which I utterly failed to get a job in; maybe rather a lot of us had the same idea.
*(And that should read, ‘ten’. See.)
And now, here I am, [mumbly] years later, about to prove him wrong! Well, about to prove one of us wrong.)
So no pressure, then. Despite being in a rather fragile state of mind, I had a look anyway. Chapter one of folder one of module one: beams. Okay. Here are some beams, and here are some weights on the beams and here are some explanations that gravity works downwards. So far, so good. And here, suddenly, is the announcement of working out clockwise and anti-clockwise ‘moments’, and an equation involving them. Okay. I see the numbers in the equation clearly correspond to the numbers in the diagram opposite it, but why do these particular numbers go where they do?
I kinda expected a bit more hand-holding here! Such as the definition of a ‘moment’ and what’s with all the ‘clockwise’ stuff? I strongly suspect this is all pretty straight-foward really – as long as you know what you’re doing and go methodically from one step to the next, you can do anything with the numbers, make a bridge, design a circuit, you name it. But you need to know what those steps are. It’s like getting the recipe for a shepherd’s pie, when you have no earthly idea what one is – only instead of a recipe, all you have is a picture of the finished product and a list of ingredients. So you have to work it out, wondering all the while if perhaps, it isn’t the way this is being explained that is the problem – it’s you. Because you’re a Moron. A moron who spent a great deal of money on these folders and appears to have become beached at chapter one.
My wee bro and Sarsparilla came back through in the end and we worked out what was going on together. Ah, anything pushing up, to the left of the point you’re working on, is a clockwise force, and anything pushing down to the right of it is also a clockwise force. I see. And I was heartened somewhat by Sarsparilla saying she’d ditched the aero-engineering course because it too was explained like this (by someone who didn’t even realise some bits of it need explaining, obviously). Then I realised I shouldn’t be heartened by this because Sarsparilla’s into the same things as me and seemes to be better at all of them; also, erk, we coulda studied together. Like, well, now!
And indeed, it was quite good fun if you didn’t take a mental step back and realise you’re voluntarily spending a Sunday morning with relatives, doing maths. And also if you didn’t wonder, what happens over the page when the maths get a bit harder and you still have to work out what’s going on, only this time, by yourself?
But no time for that today – Sarsparilla had asked me if I’d like to come to kick-boxing camp. Since that was more than a week ago, I merrily said yes, because I will agree to almost anything, no matter how unpleasant I fear it will be, if it isn’t happening in the next half hour. Now, what do I need to bring, and what do we need to do?
Nothing on both counts, it turns out – we are spectating at a kick-boxing competition, where some of her fellow kick-boxers are competing. Oh, jolly good, I have never seen owt like this before. So we went into town, giving Daiquiri a lift en route, and after spending about seven times longer trying to find a parking space than getting there, stood about in a rather crowded gym hall where many people in t-shirts marked “Raptors” and “Wolfpack” and “Ice Fury” and so forth stood about too. Hee. If I ever open a martial arts school, which is very doubtful, I am so tempted to call it Team Gerbil (‘We have less to prove!’)
Mercifully, nobody from fightclub was there, so not only was I spared a sudden hand clamping down heavily on my shoulder, accompanied by the words, Where the FUCK have you been for the last two months? I didn’t have to worry that I’d be cheering Sarsparilla’s mate against someone I’d suddenly realise was technically my mate.
Well and there was much less blood than I had envisaged. I kinda assumed it was gonna be all Enter the Dragon – alright, not quite to that extent, but I definitely expected more smashed noses – rather a lot more of going for the eyes than I’m used to. I don’t know. Fightclub’s the only martial arts club I’ve ever been to and I’m still rather hazy on what it is we actually practice – I thought it was MMA for a while, but I heard the Cagefighter saying, ‘MMA is gay’, so I guess it isn’t. ‘Silly buggers’, potentially; but at least I enjoy it. Erm, when I show up.
(And I fondly believe I coulda at least held my own against a couple of the other beginners. Although… maybe the whole, ‘step in close, stamp on the ankle, go for the collarbone, twist under and snap the arm’ thing wouldn’t have been terribly popular. If indeed, I could even have made it work.)
Two of Sarsparilla’s mates won their matches, and for one it was his first ever match, and the third was in ‘continuous’ when he’s used to ‘semi-contact’, and he was pretty cheerful about it, so that was all very good. And I wasn’t flagging the most – my wee bro was practically lying across Sarsparilla’s shoulders by the time we left. Hee.
They dropped me at home and I suddenly remembered I had a haggis in the freezer and a number of parsnips in the fridge and a roast dinner was potentially on the cards. I laundered all the used duvets and made the Sundays Are Free Phonecalls Day call to my Chestnut-haired Old Mother, mainly to break the news that I had accepted my wee bro’s Christmas invitation instead, sorry, and was just about to crack into the haggis when the buzzer went and it was Rice Krispies, back to collect her car. She stayed for a cuppa and a chat and we spontaneously formed the world’s worst plan for New Year’s Day. Wow.
And so, I did not get dinner till after ten, and it was a bit cold, but it was worth it. And that was not Rice Krispies’ fault – it was cos I turned on the internet and discovered that on going to bed last night, I had accidentally shut Daiquiri in a room with an internet connection, All the strawberry cider, and worst of all, Project Giant Sweetie (which is already starting to form). Frozen with horror, I was, on reading the words, ‘I have been left unattended in a room with the internet, All the strawberry cider and a big box of Haribo’. I was barely able to turn my head enough to check the box. Oh thank god, half the contents are still there.
And so. I’ve had a lovely day doing new things, I still (for some reason) have a tidy flat, and Disaster Squad now have our first definite mission planned. Hurrah!
It will, of course, be a disaster, but that is what Disaster Squad is all about. As long as it’s disastrous for hilarious reasons that were beyond our control, of course.