About a week ago, Cardiff experienced a series of days that were brilliantly sunny and unseasonably temperate. People flooded from their dreary brick confines to just sort of linger in the spring-like warmth. In this country, it takes at least a week to get anything done (I am still waiting for my student loan cheque to be converted to pounds sterling -- I endorsed it on 11 January), but people respond to good weather instantly. As soon as the pavements (FTYPAH: sidewalks) are dry they are milling about, with at least a handful of the chavs doing their best to pretend that they are, in fact, in Magaluf -- stomping around in shorts and T-shirts. It speaks to the priorities of the British peoples, I think:
- Good weather = important.
- Getting things done in a timely fashion = not so important.
Anyway, I was sitting outside the humanities building last week, sipping a cup of overpriced tea, when I noticed a group of students who had found a choice spot in the sun and were lazily drawing on the pavement with chalk. Then, in eavesdropping I heard one of the guys mention pi. I looked at the chalk drawings and realised that they were equations. These students weren't drawing pictures of doggies or cars or breasts, as I would have done, they were in the midst of high-minded discussion. In their free time, on a brilliant spring-like day, they were doing equations.
"Holy shit," I thought. "It's like I'm on a proper university campus."
It was almost as crazy as when Llŷr and Steffan started working on poetry in the pub. This thing of intelligent people actually being intelligent and doing intelligent things not because they are being tested or building toward some mind-numbing career but because they simply enjoy using their brains -- that's weird, dude. It's foreign. It's kind of scary. It's yet another sign that I am totally out of my depth here.
By now the weather has gotten cold again and the forecast calls for a big front of depressing and crappy to move in as the week wears on. It helps in terms of concentrating on the lectures that I am trying to assimilate, but I still feel woefully behind. I am only four weeks into the spring semester and drowning.
And that's why I haven't blogged in a week.