My Weekend: Getting a job, Bridget Jones and a mountain of homework…

***May contain spoilers of ‘Bridget Jones’ Baby’***

Saturday morning began as most Saturday mornings do: waking up all curled up and warm under a thick duvet and blanket and lying there contemplating life, the universe and everything until I sit up and realise that it’s one hour later than I had intended to get up. I should set an alarm really, but that’s one of the small joys of Saturdays – not having to awaken to a harsh beeep-beeeeep that slowly gets louder and louder until you actually find the strength within you to press the off button. Except in a sleepy haze I never manage to press the off button, but the snooze button. So 5 minutes later, usually when I’m in the shower, I hear the beeping again, and can’t do anything about it. So it gets louder and louder and louder and louder and the whole house starts off the morning in a grumpy mood because I woke them all up. At that point I usually do not tell them that actually they should have been up anyway since we are leaving in 15 minutes. That tends to aggravate the situation. I can do without all that on a Saturday.

I decided to make pancakes. I was either inspired by the Great British Bake Off’s batter week, or rather uninspired by the contents of our bread bin – one rapidly growing stale wholemeal half-loaf. My brother was already downstairs playing games. My parents were still asleep. So I said to my brother that I was making pancakes. He was quite happy with that until he walked into the kitchen 15 minutes later to discover I had made ‘American’ pancakes (thick ones) instead of ‘Crêpe’ style pancakes (the thin ones). So I, being the accommodating sister I am (…sometimes anyway), placed my now cooked pancakes (which were getting colder by the minute) into the oven to keep warm, and whipped him up a batch of thin pancakes. Crisis and major argument averted. Sometimes it’s just best to do what your siblings want; I don’t have the effort to argue when I have just woken up.

But it was a good job I hadn’t argued then, because little did I know another argument was brewing on the horizon. Just under an hour later when my parents finally surfaced from the depths of sleep, they had me summoned to the table for a talk. Now you know when you’re summoned that something is up. It wasn’t going to be one of those nice parental ‘what’s up’ kind of talks which only ever happen in movies. Nope, not at all. I had to get a job. Now, I should probably explain that for about half a year now I have been trying to get a job. I have applied to restaurants to waitress, museums to guide and help people, offices to help with administration. But nobody wants a 16 year old who can only work on a Saturday. It’s not flexible, it’s not what they want and in places where it requires alcohol to be served, it’s against the law. I carefully set this out to my parents. I also explained that since joining sixth form, my workload has gone up dramatically. This weekend alone I have around 12 different preps, including 4 essays to write. If it’s like this every weekend, I wouldn’t have time to get a job. They said I am too precious about my work, I need to start contributing money to the household and meeting other people. I did make the point that at the end of the day, in order to go to university and get a job, I need to get good A levels, and that doesn’t come without work. I was more than happy to get a holiday job, but working all day on Saturday probably wasn’t going to happen. They said the only thing I cared about was my work. At that point I lost it and went up to my room.

I’ve talked about arguments before and how they make me feel. I guess I get upset quite easily, but only about things that really affect me. My work was my escape from a horrible period at school, and it does still mean a lot to me. But I care about so many other things. And I want to help provide for the family, I just don’t know how I can with my school and other commitments. I just wanted to sit up in my room and continue to cry. But I had a mountain of prep to do, and sitting up there balling wasn’t going to get that done. I spent the rest of the morning at my desk, throwing myself into Twelfth Night, La Haine and the French Revolution. You’ve got to love the ins and outs of Louis XVI’s government…no?!

In the afternoon I applied for another job, and hoped that would allay my parents for at least the weekend. I tried to forget about it, and everyone else in the house seemed to have put it behind them too. My Mum and I were meant to be going out in the evening and to be honest, I was slightly dreading it considering the argument in the morning and her mood the rest of the day. But she didn’t say a word.

We went to see the new Bridget Jones film, Bridget Jones’ Baby. I think it cheered us both up. Featuring a guest appearance from Ed Sheeran and a classic bit of Colin Firth and Emma Thompson, combined with muddy festivals, antics on a news broadcasting show, and the awkwardness of having two fathers to your baby and not knowing which is the real father. It painted what (I imagine) is an all too real stressful situation for so many people with comedic flair and romance (although there is a reason why this film is rated a 15). The woman behind me was sobbing for about the last 20 minutes. Now I whilst I was not as moved as she, being on team #DefinitelyDarcy from the get go, I did think it was a definite feel good girls’ movie. It achieved its aim, at least, of putting a smile on my face and a bit of overpriced Ben and Jerry’s definitely helped too.

I spent the rest of the evening (2 hours) camping outside the Cathedral, waiting for my brother to finish his posh dinner. In the end I had to go in and get him – we’d played the whole of the Gilbert and Sullivan CD, 3 games of Scrabble (which I lost), and I’d finished my book. It was, however, fun to see what happens up at a Cathedral in the dead of night. There are the youths, swaying drunk after a Saturday night on the town, staggering back to their rooms in the University. There are the four old people who drive up, park their car in the middle of the road, get out and go to the loo, and then pop back in again and drive off. Top tip – Cathedrals will normally have free toilets. There is the middle aged man and his wife, dodging the drunken youths and the old people going to the loo, trying to walk their dog, which looks more like a rat with long legs. There are the old old choristers who duck out of the posh dinner behind a wall to hide the fact that they are smoking.

Eventually, we got back home, albeit around 23:30. I got changed, throwing the dirty clothes on the floor because which teenager can be bothered to put them in the washing basket at midnight…? I curled up under my duvet, in the same manner as I had woken up, 11 hours earlier. I contemplated life, the universe and everything, including the 7 preps I still had to do for Monday, and drifted off into the security of sleep.

I awoke, this time with my alarm (Sundays require careful regulation) and picked up all the clothes lying discarded on the floor from last night. I put on my hoodie and tracksuit bottoms and came downstairs. I got my bowl of Shreddies, sat down at the computer and started typing. Now I just have to decide what to do first – an essay on Horace Walpole, mind maps on Vinz and Said from Kassovitz’s ‘La Haine,’ learning Thucydides or Cicero or an essay on the structure of Henry the VII’s government (it’s basically the same as Louis XVI just 300ish years before). The time is ticking by. I think I’ll start with Cicero. There’s nothing like a good bit of pure Latin rhetoric at this time in the morning…

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