I saw the sign.

A cloud of fear has descended on The Hague. People step out of their doors in the morning full of trepidation. There is a palpable sense of anxiety, a collective apprehension barely contained. Something has changed.

The B is abroad.

Mounted on her metal machine, nothing in her path is safe. People, pigeons, all things scatter before her. She stalks the streets leaving destruction in her wake.

But none of it is deliberate.

Rather, I have recently started a new job that requires me to be awake at 6.45am (I wasn’t even aware that hour existed), and cycling to work by 7.10. In my befuddled early morning state I am even more of a menace than usual. Pedestrians, parked cars, large buildings… all of them are at risk of being annihilated ask I cycle in a totally oblivious trance. I had hoped that the crisp morning air would shock my senses into returning to me, but my morning lethargy has a power unknown to man. I tried drinking coffee once to overcome it, but nothing happened. So the residents of The Hague have their early morning activities made just that little bit more dangerous by my brainless body being given control of a bike.

Honestly, serves them right for being outside at such a time.

Sadly, this has turned me into a party pooper. Less social butterfly, more social earthworm. I can’t stay out after 10pm, otherwise I can’t function the following afternoon. But as I’m constantly reminded, starting work at 7.30am brings a multitude of benefits with it. Cleaning is basically a workout, plus in the hours between finishing work and the start of classes I can go to the gym!

So I get less sleep and more exercise. Great upside.

Please note the sarcastic tone of voice.

I’m not sure if my sleep deprived wits have been addled, but there have been some odd events in my life lately.

The first involved my favourite lecturer from the Queensland Conservatorium turning up at the KonCon here in The Hague to act as an external jury member for Master Research Presentations. Since arriving here, I have wished for Stephen Emmerson’s enlightening and inspiring presence about once a week. And then BAM! here he is.

The other odd event started the other day as I was cycling to school. At the train station, I passed an extremely elegantly dressed woman wearing this awesome checkered coat. I stared awkwardly as I rode passed her, admiring her outfit, only to be slightly disappointed by the fact that her coat was very wrinkled.

Skip forward two days to when I was babysitting. I had been told that I should prepare dinner for the girls and myself, so I made three meals and set them out on the table. Just as we were about to sit down, their father came home, looked at the table and said “aren’t you joining us?”. I had no idea I was supposed to prepare dinner for him as well, but then I felt so awkward that I made up an elaborate story involving a feast being thrown by friends later that evening, and bailed on the situation as fast as I could.

I went to buy myself an ice-cream to make up for my lost dinner, which resulted in me missing my usual bus home. Rather than wait fifteen minutes for the next one, I decided to take a different bus home. And lo and behold, three stops later, guess who got on the bus? The elegant woman, wearing the same wrinkled check coat!

I think it’s a sign. I’m just not sure of what.


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