Tuesday, December 28, 2004

December 8 (Wednesday): These are not the best of days. This morning the alarm clock awakens me, my night may have been disrupted but at least my awakening is abrupt and what I deserve. Immediately I get up and hit the lights. I keep my tax tape running, hoping some of it will seep in and I will restore enough to pass today’s exam.

Again this morning, when I awaken, outside it is still dark like night time and it doesn’t work for me, this will not aid or pamper my temper. I pull myself together and around 7.30 I am semi functional, grabbing breakfast and making myself a super strength coffee. Still, I find myself running slowly as I check my phone for any magical messages arriving through the night (nada). 7.50 hits and I am only just about getting dressed. I think about the pootang in the exam hall yesterday and look forward to seeing them again this morning. I find myself leaving later and slower and yesterday and by 8.00 I find myself still struggling to come to terms with technology.

My ride to Chelmsford this morning is a little more tempered, leaving just those ten minutes later appears to equate to hitting ten times as much traffic. Eventually I get onto the A12 and you just know what to expect from the most road worked road in England.

I arrive in Chelmsford at the Rivermead at around 9.10, later that yesterday. I pick up my books for some last minute cram but tax really is not the kind of subject you can cram, you either know it or you don’t. And I am in complete/total awe of anyone (any students) able to master this subject. The topics they test in this exam are much advanced on those that an average student will face at work and the wealth of the syllabus is terrifying. Are these words of a confident man?

I check my phone and no messages, no good luck texts, nothing. Oh how the mighty have fallen. I check my email on GPRS and there is an email from Mark. Cool. I open and read that he is jacking in his job in Tokyo and coming back to England. Yes! This is really good news and I hope the turnaround in my fortunes just before my hardest exam ahead of me in 2004.

I brave the exam hall and before entering I bump into Louise studying in the last minute for her tax exam. She appears more confident than me, probably because she is better at studying than me (for starters). Once more I shy away from asking about my old employers, part of me wants to know but part of me really does not want to know and I really should not take any interest in that place anymore.

We step into the exam hall (a tired gymnasium) and head to today’s desk, number 110, even more central than yesterday’s desk, possibly the most central desk in the entire hall. I sit down but no one is sitting down in/on the desks around me. I see the smit lady from yesterday and my heart beeps a little bit faster. She looks over but there is no way I am going to give her some smug grin in times like this. I also see someone I used to study with back at the beginning of my ACCA studies and he heads to the front room of the hall, is he still doing the foundation level?

All thoughts aside, 10AM soon comes around and the exam, as per expected, turns out to be really difficult. Today I see/recognise many faces also retaking this fucker and judging by how difficult this paper turns out, I may be seeing them again come June. It starts off ok, sensible questions about personal tax comps blah blah blah but then the inheritance tax questions kick in, kicking me in the balls. I flounder. I do write for the full three hours but it is top heavy on bullshit and guess work. Randy Pan was described the paper as a waffle paper but its far fucking from, a waffle paper I think I might be good at. And I probably end up submitting a very waffle filled exam anyway.

1PM comes around like a real relief. I storm out of the exam hall, not even bothering to acknowledge anyone I know. I jump in my car with empathy but I search around for reasons, excuses and other external elements to blame for my performance today and inevitable failure of the exam. I shouldn’t have been sacked for nothing.

On the way back, as I hit Colchester I stop by at Sainsburys to purchase the NME and comfort food. Staying in Stanway, I also stop by the chip shop and buy myself chips, the ultimate indicator that I feel sorry for myself.

By the time the Simpsons comes on in the evening, I find myself in a state of flux. The episode is the one with Michael Jackson. I bet sha’mone never had to sit such difficult exams.

To occupy my mind, in the first hours of freedom from exams for months, I play Playstation and crack open the new WWF game: Smackdown vs Raw. Its actually a really shit hit extension/upgrade of the previous titles in the series, very playable whilst also being very difficult. Like a stickler for old school, I unwisely choose to be Ric Flair in season mode and routinely get my arse kicked for being physically crap compared to the modern day monsters. I do however find (disturb) myself giggling like a nutter when I play the “bra and panties” match/bout. But then again, anything red blooded would do that.

Tonight I just about remember that it is Ben’s birthday and I text him good wishes. He responds with kindness/gratitude and suggests going out on the last Friday night. I say “yes” but really don’t fancy it, not because of him but because I currently hate going out and socialising. Pony.

By the time I get off the Playstation it is really late and I am stunned. I have to go to bed. Tomorrow we will run faster.

np: Blur - Tender


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