Enjoy your whiteness!

It’s the last week before a week’s holidays….yay for mid-term holidays. My classes this semester are largely oral (which for those of who didn’t become desensitised to the word ‘oral’ thanks to a 5 year languages degree, is giggle-inducing). This means I have lots of presentations to hear. For the most part they are what you’d expect but every once in a while a gem appears that is just too good. Die-hard fans of this blog (hey, mum and dad!) may remember that when given the presentation task of “Is the internet a good or bad thing for the music industry?” I had a student who presented a one man court case in which he objected and overruled his own objections. Well, today his presentation was on the theme of racism. I knew shit was going down when everyone but him was already in the classroom and I was playing about on the computer waiting on him to come when his presentation-partner said “miss, can we please start yet?” and I went “well no, we’re waiting on X”, to which I got the reply “X is getting ready in the bathroom, I’ll call him and he can make his entrance”. What walked in at this point was, what I was later informed, a half-black, half-Jewish homosexual nuclear physicist of Arabian descent. I know what you’re thinking, what indeed does a half-black, half-Jewish homosexual nuclear physicist of Arabian descent look like? Well, he looks like a French student wearing black gloves, black minstrel-esque face-paint and an orange bobbed wig, turned at such an angle that it half covered his face (all gays have asymmetric fringes, that’s pretty clear). What ensued was a job interview in which the job-centre man told him his only choice was to work as a street-sweeper, despite the fact that he was top of his class of nuclear physicists. He left the room in a strop and returned without the wig and gloves but still black and said “OK, so you have to imagine I’m white now…..this is not a big-budget production” and as soon as I accepted this, he started staggering about and kidding on he was an alcoholic. The alcoholic was offered a nuclear physicist position. Moral of the story is that white folk get all the good jobs. However, they summed it up to their (mercifully white classmates) with a final slide simply saying “Moral: Enjoy your whiteness”. He spent the remainder of the hour trying to remove his make-up. A pack of tissues and a bottle of water later and he was still looking offensively charcoal. Turns out the young scamp had bought camouflage paint at the army surplus store. Stuff that is designed not to come off, in combat, in rough terrain. He bought it to wear for a 10 minute presentation at a university. Needless to say with this level of dedication, he passed.

In other news, I’m moving house. I’m casting off the shackles of this one horse town and moving….20 minutes walk away. Gone is the swimming pool and bourgeois neighbourhood, replaced by a city-centre flat a mere 4 minutes walk away from work. With the worst possible timing, we pick up the keys the day that my bff comes to stay for the weekend, which leaves me Monday and Tuesday to move. Both of which I’m working. I might have to rope in my students for an extra point on their grade.

The nightlife in France continues to confuse me. They put all their nightclubs on the outskirts of cities so they’re like a hike and a half to go to. So I have been to one club since I got here. I don’t even mean one club which I go to regularly. I’ve been to one club, once. However, last weekend we did as the French do and indulged in a house party. Since the theme was “childhood characters” me and Lisa went as Wayne and Garth. That was our childhood, ok? We quickly made ourselves unwelcome when we proceeded to be take over DJing and handstand a bottle of red wine onto the wall. Someone also gave me their cigarette to hold and then a boy came up to me and told me the perils of smoking and told me I should quit. I told him I wouldn’t smoke the cigarette if he gave me his glowstick. He gave me his glowstick, in exchange for the cigarette and I walked away like fucking Frank Abagnale Jr. Win.

Since we tipped over in 2013, I’ve been thinking about The Future. It’s scary to think that in 4 months time I won’t have a job or any real career path. You don’t worry about these things in uni and then before I’d even graduated I was offered this job so this is really the first time I’ve been ready to hot-foot it into the dole queue. The concerning thing is the only thing I’m qualified to do is to teach, which aside from doing it for the odd year at a time, is not my life plan. So, long story short I’ve applied to teach in Spain at primary/high school level and Lille at a university, so that I can live with mon chéri.

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