Two cups, one bucket, a tea-tray and a dork.

Let us say we have two cups and a bucket. Let us also say we are the world’s dorkiest waitress and that we have such a raging passion for a particular tea-tray that we always wish to carry it with us. Let us say the bucket and the cups are all exceedingly full. Let us further say that we, dorkily, have got ourselves stuck with the tea-tray under one arm, a cup in each hand and the bucket balanced on our head.

Now, ideally, the bucket should be safely locked in the broom closet and the cups should be on the tray. So, given that we are in position A, Dorkage Central, how do we get to position B, Graceful Accomplishment, given that we can’t actually put anything down for even so much as a second and the bucket seems to be overbalancing?

[What in God's name is going on in here? - Ed]

Oh very well, we’ll back up a few steps.

  1. The left-hand cup is my job. I can carry it perfectly comfortably in my left hand, indeed, to facilitate cup-multiplicity, the left hand cup has kindly been made smaller by The Management. It has not, however, had less tea poured into it, and the saucer is swimming with overflow and so, to be frank, is my left shoe.
  2. The right-hand cup is my degree. Now this is a very large cup, filled, I suppose, to a sensibly generous level, in that all things being equal I needn’t spill any, but I am trying to walk with a wet left shoe, a tea-tray-in-oxter and a bucket, so spilling is a distinct and very unwelcome possibility, as I won’t get a chance to refill this cup, as that’s the last of the Jamaica Blue Mountain.
  3. The bucket is more complicated. The bucket contains my health and Matters Arising. It was a disgustingly full and horrid bucket, but the surgery over the summer ladled part of it down the sink and then kindly took it from where I had it clamped to my chest with my right hand (as I needed the right hand for the degree mug) and balanced it on my head. Now, the bucket still contains The Long-Term Issue That May Have Caused One Of The Surgical Issues, the Interestingly Misshapen Innards Issue, and the Issue Of The Ticking Clock. (Ooh, obscurantism is fun!). They loom, these issues. And in a few weeks time, the NHS will drop the exceedingly large brick of A Course of Treatment into my bucket, and the bucket will topple into my arms, and I will have to catch it while somehow manouvering so the fountains leaping from the cups on impact land back in the cups.
  4. Oh, yes, the tea-tray. Well, that’s the writing.

So, if I had sorted out the writing so it was an automatic, smoothly integrated part of my life, that I could do in stolen moments and while on the bus, I could let it carry on through everything. I could have rested the degree and the job on it. I could have avoided getting a shoe full of tea and I could have avoided a great deal of caffeine-induced insomnia. If I could have had my health dealt with in a timely fashion, the bucket wouldn’t have got nearly so full and the NHS wouldn’t be reduced to dropping great bricks in it from a height in an effort to slosh some of the issues out of it.

As for the brick-dropping, yes, I could put it off, but it has taken me nearly two years to get this deep into the labyrinths of clinical assessment and referral and if I drop out, I have to start from scratch with the ol’ nagging the GP until he’s so sick of the sight of you he refers you (a whole year, according to the latest guidelines) and you wait 5 months for a preliminary visit and then another three for an assortment of scans and tests and three months after that for a visit to confirm that yes, hoo boy, your innards are indeed screwed and here is the waiting list for the Brick. Yes, it does look rather like it says three years. Yes, you will be too old to have a brick dropped on you by then. Sorry.

Because I agree. Submitting to the brick treatment NOW, I mean, NOW, with the job and the essays and the tea-tray thing, is insane.

You had better hope that armpit is comfortable.

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10 Responses to Two cups, one bucket, a tea-tray and a dork.

  1. Aprha Behn says:


    I doubt you want platitudes (in five years time you’ll look back and shudder, but at least it’ll all be five years ago by then). And I doubt you want reminiscences (the last time I was that manic I felt like too much butter spread on too little toast), etc.

    Have you spoken to your tutor? Have you spoken to your boss?

    Have you had a strong cup of tea and a large gin?

    Lots of love, and rooting from the sidelines, anyway.


  2. L.E. says:

    If there’s anything I can help with, having just been through the MA, let me know.

  3. Teuchter says:

    * also sending love and rooting from the sidelines – and wishing I could be of contructive help to you

  4. Sol says:

    Good luck with the dropping brick and the balancing act. Hang in there. *hug*

  5. SG V says:

    Bob, to thinkt that I sometimes think I’m pressed… The tea and large gin sounds like very good advice to me!

    *joins the rooting crew on the sideline*

  6. Helen says:

    Ah, the old tea tray. I can relate to the raging passion to keep hanging on to that. Keep on nagging those doctors too. I can sympathise with the innards part, honestly, I do hope you’re on the road to better health soon.

  7. You need a nice safe table to set a few of those cups on, where they will rest comfortably until you can manage to carry them again.

  8. Titania says:

    * gently nudges Ag’s blog to see if it’s still alive *

  9. Lilian says:

    Dear Ag, please come back! Hope you’re OK. L x

  10. kelli says:

    *quietly leaves a cheesecake (the virtuous, healthy, non-allergy-triggering, delicious kind) and hopes things are as good as can be expected*


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