There’s a London college at which, over the years, I have gone in on days like this and invigilated exams. I’ve been doing it for years now. Decades. Just occasionally. But it’s been a landscape.

The other invigilators are often sick at short notice or just don’t show up, so it suits me to do it as it’s 5 minutes to the college in the car from my flat and if something comes up I can blow them out at short notice. They usually get me to lead, though, as there is a noticeable common sense deficit running through many of the others, but when I was hired they were paying a half decent rate and now they pay beans. I still get my original rate and it’s double what some of them are on so I’m clinging onto the job. But I haven’t been there for over three years. None of us have.

COVID shoved a wedge into everything. They all started doing exams online and it made no sense to me. It’s like my local Buddhists going on zoom. I can’t do it for too long. It just pisses me off.

Now they’re back in the room so I’m back in the room. It’s so odd being there though. I can’t make sense of it. I walked through the corridors as if I was in a strange dream. Three years is a long time and the college never really took up much space in my head. It was a place I went to for easy money when nothing else was happening. It helped me through some of the very hard patches.

Nothing much has changed, although now they often do their essays via laptops, all on an online system together but in the same room. I occasionally feel like a luddite faced with such things.

Lots of time to think, those exams. Long boring hours of waiting and watching. Then a bit of pocket money. Money in is better than money out right now. I’m tired of money out this winter. Living here just costs too much.

It’s much earlier than last night, I’m sober this time but I’m crashing. Even organising exams is tiring… Bed soon. Thank God. I’m still having that love affair with bed and the electric blanket …

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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