Saturday, 2 February 2013

It's dangerous to go alone. Take this!

Today my student returned to study, and he appears to have forgotten everything. Sport, while making him healthy, tall, and cheerful, has utterly robbed him off his wits. This is why I exercise so rarely; while I may get out of breath climbing stairs, my mind is a refined machine.

Last night I was chatting to a friend of mine who is out in Germany, teaching English like me. She suggested I take a brief meander over there and, since flights seem abnormally cheap at that time, I agreed. So in April I shall be in Germany, which is going to be unsettling for me - I like to be able to speak a little of the language of the countries I visit, and my German has deteriorated in no small way.

In any case, this year looks to be a good time to go around visiting things and places, so I'm going to start planning my August jaunt now - if I save up a whole lot, and prices plummet, I shall hopefully be visiting the States. If you'd like to make a donation to this fund or would like to commission a piece of writing - perhaps you're so enamored of my style that you want an original - then just ask.

I walked to my student's house this morning, a walk that takes an hour despite being only 2.5 miles. I should be able to manage that in about 30-35 minutes, but there's a hill. A hill that, because I walk back, is always easier to traverse in my mind than it is in real life. In real life, it's a 14% gradient and 600 meters, which back in the day I could run in about 4 minutes, becomes a fifteen-minute slog. Again, I should almost certainly be fitter, but it meant that the cold that caused others to wrap themselves in scarves did not touch me. My cheeks glowed. My blood pumped. My heart attempted to stop me doing anything that stupid again by beating so hard it cracked a rib. And I was early.

A first glance confirmed my theory that sport causes the brain to ossify; my student is a polite and charming young man who had set out a cafetière of excellent coffee, two small 70% cocoa solid chocolates and a spoon. He and I exchanged pleasantries, and we sat down. I looked at the cafetière, full of beautiful, dark, steaming hot coffee. He looked at it too.

We looked at it for another thirty seconds.

"Something's wrong?" he finally said, but with the rising intonation that implies it's a question because he's not sure what's not right.

"Yes." I said. I don't like to spoon-feed answers.

We looked for another thirty seconds.

"Cup!" he said, and scrambled for the kitchen.

Ossification, I say.

We settled in. Today was fairly basic mathematics, equations of lines and speed=distance/time. The formula he was given is D(istance)=Rate(speed)/T(ime)

This completely confused me because I learnt that it was v(velocity) = (s)distance/(t)time. Was I taught wrong? Or are Americans just being contrary. It seems simple enough to me, but there were multiple crossed wires and at one point he conflated the two and proved that distance = speed, which doesn't work at all. Not even for the Doctor.

We stopped at 12, and I stepped back out into the weak winter sun. This time next week, I thought to myself, I'm going to be in the Magical Kingdom. I set out, with the wind plucking at my scarf and the sun in my left eye. Blue sky beckoned.

Something pinged off my cold ear. I had barely raised my hand to my stinging scapha when a similar sting blossomed on my cheek and then, in a sudden din of stinging pings, hailstones by the billion fell out of the sky. I do not know where they came from. Like the FN flyers stuffed under the windscreen wipers of every car in the town, they seemed to have come from nowhere. My response was the same.

I buttoned my coat and ignored the tiny, irritating little things. Soon they would disappear. I don't doubt that there is some link between this sudden flurry of racist posters and the vote that took place took place today in the French Parliament. The law being debated - and which, happily, has passed by quite a majority - is for equal marriage. Not "gay marriage" but equal marriage. So that is enormously pleasing and hopefully will lead to the UK following suit.

I'm home now, and I've got my crêpe batter out of the fridge. My milk was probably good for another day or so when I made the batter, but I figured that my mother didn't raise a fool and made about 3/4 of a liter of batter. It's been in my fridge because apparently it needs to rest, and when I retrieved it and stirred it all up I've got to admit it look far, far better than it did yesterday. I've made a couple but I'm stuffed, so I may put it back in the fridge and have breakfast crêpes.

Oh yes. Here you can have savoury crêpes. You put an egg in your milk with butter and flour to make a crêpe, and then you put in another egg and ham and cheese because protein is the only food group recognised in this country. There is literally no term in French for the Atkins Diet, in the same way that there is no word for "predator" in Shark.

The deadline for two exciting projects closed on Thursday, and so now I get to eagerly sit back and wait calmly for a month while other people deliberate my worth. I am excited by this prospect and not freaking out at all. I radiate calm. I am a calm radiator. I'm so Zen that when I make a crêpe it naturally forms a taijitu.

You know what a taijitu is, even if you've never heard it before. Behold the form of my crêpes.

via wikipedia
Creepy, huh? Or should that be...crêpe-y?

Yeah. I've still got it.