So the exam’s in three days and I realised yesterday just how crushingly, desperately little I know here. But what’s really amazing is how little I care: I seem to have attained a zen-like calm in the face of panic, a clarity that’s letting me see straight through the matrix to the reality beneath. What does it look like? Just an endless white plain, nothing for ever in every direction, but soundtracked by that noise packs of men make when they’ve donned their white shirts and headed into town on a Friday night – Whooooooyyyyyyyyy – like mosquitoes ridden with disease getting closer. That’s all I see when I close my eyes. It’s probably what BNP members imagine when they orgasm.
I have a book. Some slab of pulp 600 pages long that tells me everything, a bible of crushing, all-consuming tedium. It’s not the particle collider at Cern that we need fear renting a tear in our universe, it’s Public Affairs For Journalists, a crucible of such staggering dullness that were anyone to actually make it through every page their minds would implode, taking us all with it. Let’s pray no-one ever does, although it’s pretty unlikely. Even the contents page brings on aneurysm, a trickle of blood leaking from the ear by the fourth or fifth line.
But that’s at home, on my desk and buried beneath overdue utility bills, because I’d rather be faced with those when I return. I don’t know if I will return. I could just hide under this table upstairs in this coffee shop hidden in Brighton’s Lanes, cover myself in the newspapers scattered all around and wait for decomposition to take place. Surely the process is hastened if I use pages from both The Mail on Sunday and The News of the World together? Pretty sure that’s how napalm is made.
The people next to me keep switching languages. Initially this made me feel really multicultural, but now I’m convinced they’re spies. I hope they’re spies. Maybe if I agitate them they’ll attack me, and I won’t have to sit the exam. Would throwing my fork at them agitate them enough? What if I whip them as they pass with my iPhone headphones. Whip them in the ear.
I’ve written about fifty A4 sides of revision notes this weekend, and yet remember nothing. That doesn’t seem fair. My immune system seems to have taken the decision to protect me from stats on social care and the latest developments in the NHS. Information is just going through my eyes and dispersing, bypassing my brain and leaking into the air through my eardrums. Eventually the room will fill with it and I’ll be gassed, malevolent NCTJ Public Affairs statistics absorbing all the oxygen and collapsing my lungs. I’m actually smiling whilst typing that. Right now it seems like the best-case scenario. If only the world had actually ended yesterday.
Maybe this is how it will end. Hollywood films and religious doomsayers have taught us to expect that our destruction will be heralded by massive special effects: cities imploding, water cascading, the sun swallowing the planet like Unicron from Transformers The Movie. And god yeah, that would be exciting. But I fear that it won’t be that way: true apocalypse will more likely be interminably dull, a drawn-out bureaucracy of form-filling and standing in line at the town hall for a parking permit. Just that, forever.
That’s where the doomsayers are going wrong. They don’t understand that their dread portents of fiery inferno and globally-consuming earthquakes are actually more alluring than their portrayals of heaven, a place which Watchtower magazine persistently illustrates as a fairly generic garden where we get fawned over by horses. I fucking hate horses, with their arrogant hooves and pretentious hair. I want to play in the earthquake.
But there’s not going to be an earthquake. There’s just going to be an exam. Lord, save me from the exam. Why aren’t you saving me from the exam, Lord? Why?