Friday, 6 June 2008

A Short Story

Three years ago I started my job and on the first day I was by myself in the office I had a phone call from a Head of Sixth Form. He sounded a delightful man and he told me about a very talented young pupil of his who, mysteriously, had missed out on a place at University. I was impressed. Dan sounded like just the sort of student we wanted and so I contacted everyone I could think of and got permission to squeeze him into the over-full degree programme.

Dan has not been a model student. He has missed deadlines and failed exams. He is a bright boy but is extraordinarily chaotic. He is also extremely amusing and has entertained me greatly over the past three years. There was one unforgettable day when he clanked into the office wearing yellow Lycra and snow-boarding boots. A lot of our correspondence has been reminders about penalties and meetings with his Year Tutor but he has never held it against me personally. If he had organised himself and been a bit more disciplined about late nights and skiing holidays he could have done very well but instead he has had a great social time at University and he will just scrape by. Probably.

Yesterday, he came into the office and I asked him what he will do after graduation. As far as I can work out, he plans to spend the summer on the beach and the winter on the ski slopes. I have no idea how he will finance this but he was as optimistic as ever. His back up plan is to do a post-graduate course which caused a suppressed but audible groan in the office.

I discovered that his entry in the Yearbook includes the following
Describe Your Time At University:
Alice C. It is not a sentence but it is concise.

Ironically, if I had to describe my last three years it would be:
Dan - start to finish.

because yesterday I was interviewed for a new role in another Department.

And I was thrilled when they phoned to offer me the job.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Living with Geographers

The Geographer
Johannes Vermeer 1668-69

(Steadelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt)