1st Day at School

Authors Note: I wrote this post a while back whilst in the UK (June 2017) and posted it on my other site: ‘All Things Sara Perry’ but a revamp of that means it’s now actually more relevant for it to live here, so here it is!

Last night I had two dreams.  In the former I was desperately fighting to be included in a group of my friends and family who continually pushed me away and rejected me no matter how hard I tried, whilst in the latter I held court in full on entertainer mode, the life and soul of the party (it wasn’t actually a party but I sure as hell made sitting in a hotel room with three people I only vaguely knew watching tele into one!).


Within seconds of waking to my alarm at 6.45am I had that aha moment as I recognised that these dreams were my muddled old brain’s way of processing what I am heading into today.  For today sees the start of a three-day induction for my summer as Course Director for a Summer School in Chichester.


Norman has been having a field day in respect of this looming opportunity, especially as I didn’t actually apply for the position but was asked to consider it by the recruiters (I originally applied to teach). Thus allowing Norman the opportunity to goad me on and off for the last few months about how I’m going to be shit at the job, that people will soon realise that I’m a fraud and the whole thing will be a nightmare as I’m basically a big, fat, fraudulent, fraudy fraud (Norman often resorts to truculent, childish rants when he knows he’s on to something).


However, in Norman’s bid to remind me of my shortcomings in the upcoming job he’s missed a priceless opportunity to actively play on a massive insecurity of mine – my presence in groups of people I don’t know.


And that’s where the dream’s come in.  As well as occupying my waking mind, Norman has also very kindly invaded my sleeping subconscious.  He’s done so to point out to me the only two scenarios that, in his opinion, will occur upon my joining of the group today, namely I will either be excluded or I will be accepted but will play up for the crowd, basking in the attention bestowed upon me but in the process behaving like a nob but not being able to stop.


In Norman’s defence I have had experience of both of the above scenarios – secondary school was a den of rejection and acting up for me and my adult life has seen me behave like a nob on numerous occasions though admittedly in a large number of cases it’s been thanks to me drinking too much alcohol too quickly in a bid to deal with the me and a bunch of people scenario that I’m headed in to.


But that was then not now.  Now I know that whilst walking into the room as a stranger will be tough, it certainly won’t lead to wholesale rejection, any rejection that does occur will most likely be as a consequence of the other persons ‘stuff’ and it won’t matter a jot to me in the grand scheme of things as longer term I actually only have to get on with the two other members of the management team I’m going to be part of.


And as for behaving like a nob, well there’s no guarantees on that score – sometimes I am a nob, with or without alcohol.  What’s important for me today and over the next few days is to recognise my nobness for what it is – a moment in time, a brief foray, a blip, sometimes bloody good fun and something to laugh at, other times something to have a little cry over and then get on with my day.  Whatever the case, it is never an opportunity for Norman to reiterate his belief that it defines me as a person and makes me stupid, unlikeable and generally a substandard human being.


Unfortunately, it appears that I’m on a mission to make life with Norman as difficult for myself as possible this weekend as only two hours in I’ve already given him two opportunities to pop his head up and chime in.


My first act of nobness was rocking up at the ticket machine to collect tickets that it turns out I collected on arrival in the UK three weeks ago.  It appears that in my jetlagged, discombobulated state I promptly threw them away, resulting in the purchase of a £100 replacement ticket this morning #ouch.


I’d just about put Norman back in his cage on this one – after all my credit card is interest free until December 2018 so it’s not like I’ve actually had to pay for the tickets anyway – when I promptly allowed him back out to chime up again.


Coffee and £100 piece of orange cardboard in hand I headed up the stairs to the platform bridge only to catch my flipflop on the step (I’m still doggedly wearing them despite it being flipping freezing in Loughborough today) stub my left toe and stumble up three steps before unceremoniously landing on my right knee.  At this point I will just add for those of you that have been with me from the start, it is the same toe/knee combo involved in the ‘turning the corner on the way to work in Phnom Penh’ and the ‘falling off my bike in Kampot’ incidents. #hmmmm


Hearing an “are you ok?” behind me stemmed the tears threatening to flow and instead I switched on a fixed grin, brushed myself down briefly and then determinedly strode onwards whilst uttering “that’ll teach me to pick my feet” to allay the concerned gentlemen behind.


On reaching the platform I scurried off to a quiet spot to surreptitiously examine my war wounds. Two significant gashes on my big toe meant a tissue was needed to mop the pool of blood in the toe well of my flipflop and stem further flow whilst a brief examination of my knee area revealed no tear to my leggings but a distinct tenderness which will no doubt manifest as a graze and bruise over the coming hours/days.


Norman had a field day revelling in my stupidity and the fact that everyone was now laughing at me (like I’m really that interesting!?!?!?!) and I bit down hard on my lip as I messaged Vic to share in my misfortune.


By the time my train arrived the need to cry had abated and I hobbled on with my bloody tissue flapping in the wind and made my way to my expensive seat (as I still have the email from the lost tickets I’ve been able to claim the, now very expensive, reserved seat from that on a packed to capacity train – stick that in your pipe Norman).


And so this blog comes to you from my window seat with a table as requested. I have coffee, a cool playlist and a cold nose (the A/C is certainly working on this train!) and apart from a few gashes and aches I’m good to go.


I’m sure today’s words won’t be the last Norman and I have over the next few days but that’s ok because I’m on to him and whatever psychological games he tries to play I’ll deal with them as I enjoy 3 days of learning with likeminded people who in all honestly are probably as anxious as me and Norman are!


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