And Alex Said: Yawn

31 January 2003

Column 13: Yawn, 31st January 2003

I was finding it increasingly difficult to stay awake. My eyelids were heavy. The clock ticked slower and slower. No matter how hard I tried to hint that I was being bored rigid, the professor continued to blabber monotonically on and on and on.

I yawned loudly. I started to fidget. I clicked the lead out of my automatic pencil, then I put it back and did it again. I had a noughts and crosses tournament with myself. I carved my name into the desk with my biro. I drew a picture of a cock. I went off to get a coffee, a packet of crisps and a warm, squidgy Yorkie bar and from the barely-functioning vending machines, and came back five minutes later to find him still wittering on.

I put my feet up and read the newspaper. I read it all – all the boring business news, the weather in Albania, the results of the International Midget Racing Championships, and even all the classifieds and personal ads (I now have two Mini Metros and a cottage in Derbyshire, and I’m meeting someone called Big Sue on Tuesday who is looking for fun and frolics). I attempted to open the molten Yorkie bar and splattered chocolate everywhere. Then, after thirty minutes of this torture, I decided to quietly sneak out. I picked up my bag and made for the door.

Then I wondered – was I being rude? After all, I was the only person present at the tutorial, and I’d made rather a mess of the professor’s office. I turned back and saw my tutor fighting back the tears.

He asked me something, but I couldn’t hear what it was because his voice was so boring that I fell asleep mid-question. He hit me in the face with a large textbook and I tried my hardest to listen. “Please help me. Everybody either sneaks out, skives off or disembowels themselves with a ruler while I’m talking. Students think I’m a laughing stock. My one friend died when he was consumed by lava from an erupting volcano.”

Probably just an accident, I suggested

“But he sought out the volcano especially. He told me if he was encased in rock, he wouldn’t be able to hear my voice”. He sighed. “What can I do to make myself, or at least my tutorials, more interesting?” he asked.

I suggested that next week, perhaps instead of talking crap about Physics he could stage a concert featuring Massive Attack, Radiohead and Orbital, and penguins could parachute in from a passing Zeppelin to perform an acrobatic display. Then a chorus of dolphins would sing Kum By Yah while the planets aligned to drag Earth closer to the Sun to turn London into a tropical paradise. All the while I’d be fellated by mermaids and King Henry VIII would serve me pina coladas from the hollowed-out horn of a unicorn while recounting his favourite sexual positions he had adopted with each of his six wives. Now that would be more interesting.