Further Contemplation

Continued from ‘Contemplation’


While I wait for our drinks to be served, I think about what Porter has said. Clearly, there is a lot I don’t know about Head Porter and the evident bad feeling in The Lodge. I find his apparent reasons for employing me interesting. I hope I have proved myself to be more than he thought I was, if not to him then to The Fellowship and my Porters. Needless to say, my opinion of Head Porter has diminished somewhat. To think I worked so hard to overcome the predispositions and sexism of Old College, only to discover that was the very reason I was employed in the first place! I wasn’t there to challenge prejudice, I was supposed to embody it!

No wonder Head Porter is so riled. He wanted a good little girl who would shut up and do as she is told. What he got, was me.

I suppose I would be pretty pissed off, in his position.

I deliver a fresh pint of whatever passes for the best ale in this establishment to a very grateful Porter. I settle down with my third glass of wine and an entirely different view of the situation in hand. Although the wine must take some credit, my improved perspective owes much to Porter’s revelations. And he is not finished yet.

“Right then,” I take back a generous mouthful of what now seems like bloody good wine and attempt to summarise. “I got this job because Head Porter thought he could either bully me, or… you know, or both. He could then go on running The Lodge in whatever way he saw fit, without any challenge from me. He achieved this by fixing the interview dates so that he could pick the person he thought would be easiest to push around. Things haven’t quite worked out like that, so now he is taking it out on me and is trying to assert some authority. I suppose after today’s performance he hopes I will fear for my job and become subservient.”

“It’s not just that,” Porter continues, having enthusiastically begun his second pint. “He feels threatened. You see, once we all found out he had given you the job, some of the Porters, myself included, went and told The Master and The Dean what was going on. About him fixing it and that.  Anyway, it was too late to do anything because you had already accepted the position so The Fellowship had no choice but to go along with it. But they were pretty annoyed about the way it had all been carried out and I think the idea was to prove that he had made a bad decision and employed the wrong person to meet his own ends.”

“Ah!” I interrupt “That might explain some of the strange errands and tasks I was given, early on?”

“Yes! I think they were trying to prove you weren’t up to the job. Thing is, you’ve actually turned out to be quite good at it and I know a few of The Fellows really quite like you…”

“Which is a good thing…?”

“Well, sort of, but it would have been better if you were rubbish because then they would have been able to drag Head Porter over the coals for employing a young girl with no experience.”

I think about it for a moment.

“I’m not that young,” is all I can think of to say.

“Besides,” Porter continues “He has already rubbed quite a few of them up the wrong way. Like I said, you don’t know the half of it. There’s a few in The Fellowship that can’t stand him. They are looking at any excuse to get him out.”

“Really?” my curiosity is piqued “Who?”

Porter shakes his head and chuckles.

“I’m not going into that,” he replies diplomatically. “But what I can tell you, there’s some Porters that feel the same way.”

There is an uneasy silence between us, where what is left unsaid says more than can ever be expressed in words. Porter finally breaks the stalemate.

“There are quite a few people at Old College that would rather you were Head Porter,” Porter says finally. I stare into my glass. I haven’t even completed one academic year, yet. In my heart, I know I am not ready to be Head Porter, if that could even be possible.

“I just want what’s best for The Lodge,” I eventually manage to reply.

“Have a think about what I’ve said,” Porter is getting up to leave. “Don’t let him get to you and don’t believe what he tells you. Come back tomorrow.”

I nod and smile. Against my better judgement, I get up and hug Porter. I watch him leave and I finish my wine. As I make my way through the streets of the City, I am at least grateful that there is never a dull moment where Old College is concerned.


  1. It’s interesting to see this whole thing come to light with Mr. Meaness. I think you should go and confront him again!

    I am curious now that you mentioned it, you know. How old are you?

    1. I would be surprised if you were really, really old (although, one of my best friends is 90 and is very naughty!) I would also be pretty surprised if you were really young (under 25) – you have a worldly-wise way about you. Now, you must tell me somehow as I, as a lady, have revealed my age to you!

  2. I enjoyed the conversation quite as much as the blog post. I, too, ask myself how old is he, really. Perhaps ageless would be the right answer.

    1. I see where the timeless thing came from now… 😉 I love blogging. No one feels bad about their age, and you won’t get frowned on for having a friend who is much older or younger than yourself, all that matters is that they’re amazing friends! I have one friend who is 13 online, reads Marx and Plato and talks like a college professor, and he jokes around that he’s a four-year-old girl from Mongolia. 😛
      My history professor last year was incredible. He was outspoken and not afraid to state what he thought, and it was really fascinating to hear him describe what it was like going to college just when they were working to get segregation out of practice… they’re still working at it, believe it or not. And my grandfather is a veteran of the Vietnam war. I love listening to older gentlemen’s stories! 🙂 I thought it was ridiculous that the other people in my history class thought the instructor kept getting off-topic. His stories all served to illustrate his points, and I’ve never had as much fun as the rousing debate we had one time! You see, the history professor had said that he was grateful that there were people protecting us from terrorists and if he were younger he’d be out there doing that, and one of the students said that they should offer the terrorists more mercy and leniency, and I said but if they’re going to hurt people we shouldn’t let them, and if they were going to repent their ways then why would they be in the middle of our theoretical debacle anyway? and she said but they were forced and I said then it would be a hostage situation wouldn’t it? and besides it’s nearly impossible to reason with extremists and fanatics! In the end, I think we were a bit less than charitable, because she walked out of the class. I didn’t know that you could do that… But anyway, it was AWESOME.
      And I just totally went off topic myself there… 😛

    2. Not that I am aware, but then as a College servant I am not permitted to enter lectures or supervisions. The Fellows shout at each other, though. A lot 🙂

    3. Although i do love a good shout from time to time, it would be great if people were just nicer to each other, in general. And a good, healthy debate can be just as vicious without being as noisy 🙂

    4. True… It’s the most fun, though, when I argue with my best friend Iris just because we don’t mean anything and we never hurt each other’s feelings; we’re careful not to do that. ;-P It’s especially fun when we do it in public and people look at us weird.

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