Tuesday, July 20, 2010

UCT: Day 1

*The following is a first-person perspective description of my first day at UCT, for those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a first person perspective, just imagine having your consciousness jammed into my quivering head-meats and experiencing the world as I do. Resist the throes of madness that may claw at your soul as a result, and read on.*

Alright, I'm up. Barely. Only three hours of sleep accounted for but I think I can avoid sinking into a coma by rolling out of bed. Drastic, sure, fatal maybe, but if I don't shock my way into sprightlyness, there's no conceivable way today or any point up to next month is happening with me. Okay, count down from ten. 5; 4; ... ; 2... Alright, the next ten: 7; ...; 4; ...; 1. OVER I GO!...*WHUMP*

Ahh, Christ on a bike! Moses in a flaming hemp handbag! That was a bad idea. The hell'd I leave a God-damned game controller next to my bed for? And in line with my uncannily fragile falling face-bits? Urgh.
Nose? Yup, barely. Eye? 'S been through worse I guess, if you take into account alternate dimensions in which UNHOLY, UNSPEAKABLE FLYING EYE-SKEWERING SKY TERRORS are kind of an every-day thing. Never liked that pancreas anyways. Up I go.

*Soon afterwards*

Teeth? Sanitised to all possible yet minor extents.
Hair? Eh, I'll call it a new style on account of hedgehogs being so IN right now, probably.
Face? Lost cause.
Clothes and sundry? Pants are overrated. Got my bag.
Willingness to step out into the wide world of terrible responsibility and vicious reality? I'll get back to me on that one.

That'll be the doorbell and...Here we go...
I am so screwed, you don't even KNOW.

*One coma-enriched drive through the mindless metal hordes of Cape Town rush hour later.*

Nice, we're here and I'm only an hour late for the welcome ceremony. Who needs inspiring acceptance and initial guidance into the adult world anyway? I've been in it for like 5 seconds and less than 10 arguably-essential emotions have short-circuited under the pressure. My mainstays: Irritation and regret seem to have buzzed out. I'm all good for another 5 ticks if I try not to think about kittens. Crap, I just thought about kittens, and how fluffy and adorable they a-OH GOD I'M DEAD INSIDE!

Kittens, meh. Lets just find some warm welcomage before the senses fuse out too.

Say goodbye to Justin, lucky bastard's just in time for his welcome and he knows just where to go. Try not to look envious of this fact or the fact that he has his own car and drum-set and state-of-the-art computer and social life and the way the girls' eyes are naturally drawn to him as he walks away. Nope. Not envious at-goddamned-all. I'll just get out my trusty map with these hands that seem to be trembling with unbridled rage for reasons my totally non-envious mind can't even IMAGINE, dammit!

Let's just check where this welcome dealie is then. On the map. Which I don't have and vaguely doubt I ever had. Shit. No problem, there should be signs pointing to the orientation since it's kind of a big deal up ins.

Signs, signs, signs...Aha! There's one for commerce orientatees (Orientatites? Orientatots? Blood sacrifice to the ATM god?). Too bad I'm a wishy-washy hippie humanities student with no sense of calculation or direction. I'll just keep walking till I see a humanities version. Doo-doodly-bing-bang-skidoo, commerce, commerce, commerce, sciences (Variety isn't dead it seems.), commerce, commerce, com-fucking-merce, Humanities! Sweet, now we're cooking with the hot stuff!

Hrmm, "Humanities Orientation |^| " One arrow, brilliant, I now know that the orientation is going down somewhere to the right of a point ten steps from the left-most parking lot. Thanks Douche McDirection pasterson! Never mind, there's gotta be more at least five steps, no, twenty steps, no, OH GOD MY FEET HURT AND NOT A SIGN TA BE SEE(G)N! Still a five parts commerce direction poster to one part dust particle ratio gong down. They must have a great sense of confidence in Humanities Students' impeccable sense of calculation and direction.
OH. WAIT. *grumble* *grumble*

Right, I'm just going to have to abandon every masculine instinct in my body and ask someone for directions. I'm going to have to stop secreting testosterone for a moment if I'm to pull this off. Now let's see...Hrrrrrrgggg *Ding!*. Phew! Now that I'm free of all that absolutely beastlyman-junk, I just have to find a little guidance. Aha! There's someone, now I hope he'll be a dear and...GAH! Oh crap, I'd better get some of that advice and butch up again before I break into a song and dance routine! That bloke seems a bit paint-splattered and grungy for a distributor of sagely advice, but he IS and adult, and if Barney is to be believed, he must therefore be a living pool of vast amounts of wisdom up to and including the non-suicidal use of safety scissors, and I certainly know better than to question Barney's wisdom a second time. I like my remaining toes.

"Uh, excuse me sir? Could you tell me where the Humanities Orientation is happening uh, sir?

"Whussat? 'Ewman'ties? Thessa ewman'ties building a little way back theh."

"Sweet, thanks!"

A linguistically challenged reservoir of infinite wisdom, it seems, and his directions do seem to contradict what the immensely solitary poster told me, but I'll take what I can get. For all his colourfull perspective on the English language, he has at least a million brain cell on that hopelessly vague son-of-a-pink-slip, so I'll be sticking with team human on this one. The humanities building it is!

*A quick walk later*

Can't believe I missed the "Humanities Graduate School" sign earlier. I'm tempted to accuse that dubiously placed shrub of machinations against my line of sight, but I'm a friggin' adult now! I'm gonna take responsibility for somehow missing the gigantic notice-board with "Humanities" plastered across it in large friendly letters, dammit!
I'm totally ratting out that bush if I'm pressed though.

Let's just take a look around then, surely they wouldn't skimp on humanities orientation directions in the thrice-damned humanities building?
Hmm, lots of notices about exam results and info on how awesome the bloke/blokette that this dump got its name from was, but nothing big and colourful to calm and guide the wild and tortured psyche of your average undergrad. I might be really late to the party but I highly doubt that the cleaning staff are the type to be taking down helpful notices an hour after the start of the event, whether out of and inflated sense of duty or spite or otherwise. This whole deal is really starting to piss me off and I'm feeling DANGEROUS. I guess I'd better look for another reservoir of infinite wisdom to harass for information. I might not even remember to say please this time because that's just how DANGEROUS I'm feeling baby!

*One frantic search around the whole damned building later.*

By the many wondrous orifices of Venus! That tired me out! How the hell does a major university manage to keep a whole damned building abandoned? The building that would under normal circumstances undoubtedly have someone who could help me, no less!
I'm guessing that someone up there hates me, probably because of my habit of declaring that certain someone's position relative to various house-hold items and Richard Simmons whenever I'm surprised or pissed off (which is pretty damn often considering my love for video games in which players constantly sneak around and blow eachother into soup). Divine interference be damned though. I shall overcome!...

Okay, new plan: I head to some sort of secretary's office and get some directions from there. The issue of directions to the office itself immediately arises, but if I check out the area around the important looking pseudo-classical age buildings atop the right-large stairs, I should run into a teacher or politician or foreign dignitary or something. This is a major university after all.

Damn it's hot today, and all this walking around isn't helping matters. I'm sweating like a polar bear at an Al Gore global warming seminar. I bet I stink too. This might be par for the course for some politicians and foreign dignitaries I could mention, but if I have to deal with an actual human being things could get sticky in less literal ways.

Ah screw it! Cleanliness may be close to godliness but godliness on a certain someone's part clearly isn't doing me any favours, so I'll just have to try not to linger near anyone and do my best to seem French when I do. I'd bet the Frogs have some kind of cultural pardon going on for this problem by now.

Now if memory serves, the fancy steps are somewhere uphill from here so I'd best head in whatever direction hurts my calves the most. Seems to be the right-hand side road. That way then...
Hold on, there's a specimen of the local breed of studentia and he seems in a hurry. He looks fairly sure of himself, or at least as sure of himself as someone with more hair covering his face than I have on my entire body can look (for those of you fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with my entire body, this is quite a lot). I'll just be following him straight to the welcome then. no need for any more being run around by the aging multitudes.

He's going into what yet another deviously concealed sign tells me is the Leslie Social Sciences building. That was totally my second choice of random wandering destination so it's still a personal victory.
Yes! He's heading for the lecture theatres (which seem oddly quiet, but this can be put down to sound-proofing I guess). Strange...He's passed the main theatres and headed down a passage way. Perhaps the welcome is meant to be completely hidden from the godless commerce students' prying ears. There's a door straight ahead and "Chewbacca Lite" over there just went in! Finally my triumph (or lack of complete and utter failure anyway) is at hand! I'm at the door, my hand's on the doorknob. I can't begin to describe how relieved I am to have finally reached...

The bathroom. Lovely.

Well I'd better play it as if it was always my intention drop a number in the wonderful white waste wagerer. I wouldn't want to seem like a creepy guy-follower or worse yet, an honest to penis dude who actually DOESN'T know EXACTLY where he's going! Since I'd rather not swap measurements with strange university guys, I think I'll opt for the private stall as opposed to the urinal.
Unzip; Unpack; Unload....Dude, I said unload!
Alright, listen Dick Willington or whatever I may decide to call you if my ego ever reaches critical mass, my masculine pride's on the line here so are you going to make with the waterworks or am I gonna have to slap a bitch?
*tinkle* *tinkle*
Better, now back to plan: Secretary's office.

*In light of the previous exchange, the idea that Grant has been engaged in a one way dialogue with his penis this whole time, rather than talking to himself like a SAFE kind of lunatic, may have arisen in the mind of the less civilised among you. We at the Organisation for Suitable and Nurturing Article Pieces (O.SNAP) would like to assure you that such a thing would be unacceptable to our high moral standards and as such is mostly not the case.*

Alright. No more distractions or detours or directions from suspected hobos. I'm heading straight to the source.

"Sup, Grant?"
Hey! It's someone from my high school! A dick by any other description but with all that's been happening, it's nice to see a familiar face, even if it is one I'd like dearly to rearrange.
"Sup, (name of jerk)"?, I say as coldly as it is possible to say "Sup".

*A painful uphill hike later*

Finally, the right-massive stairs. All I have to do is haul my pathetic carcass up these and find an office.

*An extremely painful dragging of my pathetic carcass (and my body too) later*

I'm really going to have to talk to mom about her ideas for an appropriate packed lunch some time. As much as I'm loathe to look a gift carcass in the mouth, I'm going to have to dump this thing. Come on, birdies! Lunch!

Eh? Thought I heard something coming from that main hall with photographers standing at the entrance. Probably something vastly important and newsworthy that I shouldn't interrupt, now where's that office?
There's one! "Student Orientation and Advocacy Centre". Well if that can't help me get to Orientation, I'll eat the rest of my packed lunch, and no-one wants that, believe me.
I'll just peak inside and...OH COME ON!
Another abandoned settlement, there is something DEEPLY wrong with the karma system and I'm getting slapped with the pointy end of it. All plans have failed. Pretty much all hope too. The only thing for it is to run around the whole damned campus until I find hints of a large and important gathering.

*MULTIPLE runs around the kilometres of upper campus ensue*

Hgggh, hehggggh *wheeze* Nothing for miles around and I'm back at the stairs without a prayer. There's that sound coming from the main hall again. How am I supposed to hear for any major gatherings if...


"Uh, *wheeze* is this the humanities orientation, miss photographer lady."

"Why yes, just find a seat, you're very late aren't you?"

Fai-nah-lee! It took more impossible difficulties than I've ever experienced up till now, but I'm here now. Frankly I can't be bothered to listen to what the stage-jockey up there is on about, and seeing as my timetable foretells nothing but lectures for the rest of the day, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be conscious enough to have any more wild misadventures, thank goodness.

Ah, they're bringing in the student adviser/orientation leader guys. They seem nice. Wait, what the hell is that guy calling himself? J-Money? Urgh, I hate all that pseudo hip-hop persona bullshit. If I ever have to talk or deal with that guy I may have to kill myself with a spork.

"Alright students, It's time to split you up into groups and assign you to your orientation leaders who will accompany you and spend a great deal of time helping you adjust to UCT life. That row, go with Pumi. That one, with Kyle. And that one, including that disheveled looking gentleman with the somehow visible body odour, yes you, you lot are with J-Money."

You know, if I could stop weeping for just a second, I may actually chuckle at the entire universe's incredible dedication to screwing me over.

*All events described here, with the possible exception of a certain pathetic carcass, are unfortunately completely true. I was certainly not shitting you when I said my life had gotten interesting.*

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