Surrounded by a magnitude of dusty volumes, I attempted to immerse myself in the vicious brutality of Julius Caesar’s conquest of Rome, the social oppression of early modern Europe and the emotional turmoil of the young prince of Denmark. The intimidating hardbacks, with their withered yellowing pages held a certain romantic fascination for me, they contained secrets of the past, extraordinary characters brought vividly to life by the fading black ink. However, the pricing metallic lighting of the library and the whirring of a thousand computers anchored me distastefully in the modern age.
Two things thwarted a quick and easy library session. First of all, I was struggling to overthrow the torment of my desperation to be removed from this isolated environment, being embowered behind an organised mess of books and folders. The second fork in the road came with my absolutely unforgiving boredom, which was entirely and shamefully apparent in the constant apparition of my Facebook home page. It was 1:12 pm… let’s just say Hamlet was not the only one feeling suicidal.
The clock ticked on as my agitated fingers fidgeted like a relapsing addict with my knock off Red Bull can (student budget). The artificial energy that the acidic concoction provided only fed my buzzing minds tendency to wander onto anything but the anomaly that I really should have been doing: my essay. Meanwhile, my phone, painstakingly disregarded at the bottom of my bag (‘out of sight, out of mind’… who was I kidding?) sporadically begged for attention. The ‘tri-tone’ theme tune of our generation shouted out for my loving. My iPhone, the apple of my eye, was suffering from abandonment issues in the hour since I had last checked up on her.
1:45pm: Once I factor in the time which I must invariably allow for my heart to fall into cardio arrest at the mercy of Turnitin’s cruel tenacity to reject my first few attempts at file uploading, my essay was due in no time at all. Next to me, a medic’s game plan was also deteriorating. Was the ‘hard play’ getting into his mind-set as ‘hard worker’? In any case, like myself, he was approaching ‘The Wall’. Plus, he did not indicate that he had any reserves to leap over it – you know, movie-style. He was at near breaking point, a state of mind I knew all too well, there are only so many times a skin head can run his hands through his hair in frustration.
All the while, I, to the untrained eye, was dominating the field of traditional gender roles in 16th Century Europe. Who knew, I could have been compiling a ground-breaking piece of scholarship. Despite flicking ostentatiously through the pages of daunting textbooks, my poker face faltered as my eyes wavered intermittently to the hot engineer to my right. Silently, I counted my atheistic blessings that I was not born in the 16th Century. Such an overtly sexual thought would have bought me a one-way ticket to the ‘looney bin’. My research had taught me that much at least.
Beside me ‘Doctor-Do-Little’ had given up: thrusting his belonging into his bag, he accepted defeat. His hands imitated the sounds of a machine gun’s rattle, as he attacked the QWERTY keyboard on his Blackberry, probably updating his Twitter to: “#f**kthis! #StudentLife #EdUni.”