06 March 2015


The Birmingham University Library is a kind of icon for me: a place that my whole world revolves around. I have heard they are planning to knock it down to make way for a newer, less red brick building. If there were a more insufferable metaphor, I can't think of it. I feel I can get away when I come to this University, even while being trailed by my e-mail and mobile phone. At Newman, everyone knows you and this is both an asset and a liability. On the Birmingham campus, you get the sense that you are just another electron in the humming machine of the University.

It's been a glorious day, and I have been sitting in a particular corral, working on various things and catching up on some reading. I listened to a lecture that the PVC of research gave on Wednesday night, and which I missed as I was at home with the kids. I sent a longish e-mail, and remembered to do something that I had promised to do over drinks last night and which I worried I might not remember. I did something I promised to do when I was drunk: There should be awards for this.

I have been eating bread again, which is like drinking for other addicts. When I eat bread, I can't stop: I can't have just one slice or two. I have ten. I eat Naan and bagels and cheese rolls. Today, I went to a shop, the kind of shop I would normally avoid going into, but because I am eating bread I went to it. There were Southeast Asian men calling other Southeast Asian men 'brother' when completing their order. As I was leaving, I thanked the man who gave me the naan I had ordered and the older man, the owner I would have thought, standing at the front of the shop said, 'Thank you, brother.' This felt like a small grace: I walked on in the sun, eating the bread and thinking about what I would do with the afternoon: where on campus I would sit.

I'm not sure what the bread endgame is. I don't see an ending. I had a cookie earlier. I could have another. And another. I'm depressed, sure. Perhaps if the sun comes out, if there is something to look forward to in the future. For now though, I think I'll have another coffee and think about a muffin.