Tag Archives: dog vomit


12 May

I just watched my dog throw up by my feet and then eat his own vomit and it was about 30 seconds into that that I thought, “I really need to update my blog.”


I’ve had a lot of texts and emails and tweets and whatever those face-to-face meatspace interactions are called asking me to blog again. It’s been over 4 months since I last wrote here. 4 months is a long time. A lot can happen in 4 months.

Very little has happened in 4 months.

Things should have happened in the past 4 months. But the vast majority of my time has been occupied by an overwhelming lack of thing. I left Oxford. I should have been leaving Oxford a few weeks from now anyway, but I left in January. For a while. For a year. I’m on a year out. I guess that’s a thing, actually. That’s a pretty big thing. But the direct result of that thing has been a gargantuan thing-dearth.

I am bad at making decisions. Taking a year out was a particularly bad decision. Taking a year out might have been my worst decision to date, apart from that thing in 2006 with the goat and the Vaseline and the plunger. Both left me overwhelmed with guilt and shame and covered in ruminant faeces.

I think maybe it’s misleading to call it a decision. I had to take a year out because I was irreparably behind with work. I was irreparably behind with work because, as I wrote before, I am a small, weak and emotionally fragile child that failed to cope with the basic concept of human mortality. People that I liked got sick and died and metaphorically sprawled their rancid corpses all over my lecture notes, and I didn’t tell anyone until it was too late to salvage them.

I’m pretty embarrassed. I haven’t even been back to Oxford to visit my friends yet because I’m pretty embarrassed. Most people manage to finish their degree without any significant difficulty. I sometimes used to tell people that I shouldn’t be at Oxford – that I only got in because I got lucky on a few exams and because the admissions office probably needed a not-quite-white kid from a single-parent, welfare-dependent family to make up their stats – and they’d say that I was being silly, or that it was false modesty. And now I’ve proved myself right and I don’t feel as happy about proving myself right as I usually feel about proving myself right. Being right is generally nice, but not when its cost is the vast disappointment of everyone who thought you were wrong.

In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a big deal. But in the me-sized scheme of things, this is a fucking huge deal. I’ve left all of my friends. Leaving my friends was quite high up on my Massive List of Reasons to Not Take a Year Out – right next to near-certain unemployment and having to live more than 5 minutes away from a kebab van. In a few weeks most of the people that I spent more than 2 years living and studying alongside – the people with whom I made the dubious transition from adolescence to pretend-adulthood – will have sat their final exams and left Oxford for good. I knew that not being in the same city as them would be isolating, but once I’d left I perpetuated that by curling up into a tiny ball of shame and failure and hiding in Burton-on-Trent. I didn’t know what to tell my friends and I was worried about how they’d react, but I think that I was so scared of being ostracised that I ostracised myself.

It’s difficult. Or, I’m finding it difficult. But it’s only as difficult as a year out from the University of Oxford can be. And I think that when the most difficult thing that you have to deal with is taking some time out from your glorified boarding school, you’re probably okay. You probably shouldn’t complain too much. I’ll be all right, I reckon. I just need to get my shit together.

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