Thursday, 18 March 2010

Insiders v. Outsiders

Please check the proof copy of your exam paper
and sign against your name.

Awkward pause

Junior Lecturer
I am afraid that there are mistakes.

MrsM is genuinely shocked.

Junior Lecturer
The full stop should be INSIDE the quotation marks.

MrsM is aghast

The Examinations Officer has specified
that it should be OUTSIDE the quotation marks.

Junior Lecturer
Well, he is wrong.

MrsM’s eyes grow as large as saucers.
Nobody EVER questions the Examinations Officer
and especially his opinion on punctuation.

He has stipulated that the full stops
should be outside the quotation marks
and he feels very strongly about it.

Junior Lecturer
Well, I feel VERY strongly about it too.
I have researched this issue in great detail.

I think this conversation is moving above my pay-grade…

MrsM goes to see her friend,
the Deputy Examinations Officer,
and asks his advice.
They decide that there is only one answer:
a joust in the long corridor outside the offices.
The Deputy Examinations Officer
suggests that T Shirts are made available
so that staff can indicate if they are
Insiders or Outsiders.

Just another thing to organise...

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Thursday, 4 March 2010

Tuesday Morning

I love driving onto campus...
This is what I saw this morning...

The roofing contractor's lorry
with silvery piles of scaffolding rods.

The students rushing across the pedestrian crossing
on their way to the first lecture.

The fruit and vegetable man unloading his lorry
which has come straight from Covent Garden.

The UPS guy, immaculate in brown.
In my heart I believe that his next stop is Tuvalu.

The fierce lady from the Exams Office
walking through a patch of sunlight under the arch.

The student from my old Department
serenely cycling on the wrong side of the road.

The Estate workers already busy
clipping, trimming, digging, brushing.

The lecturer trying to carry a large cup of coffee,
and lecture notes
and smoke simultaneously.

The Security high wheel base 4x4
with fluorescent strips and flashing lights.

The elderly cleaner from my old office
whose sari drapes and folds under her warm coat.

The postgraduate student in a white lab coat
absentmindedly strolling across the road in front of me.

The Head of Department freewheeling down the hill
looking like Darth Vader
with his black shades and cycle helmet.

At the top of the hill
the clock in the tower sounds nine o'clock
and the day is ready to begin.

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