Student - December 17, 2009

Awful month

The landscape may be beautiful. The hills may glow orange with bracken ferns and autumn birch leaves. But I can't see any beautiful Scottish landscapes; all I see is my bicycle. While the world around gradually turns dark, I spit into the inner tyre. No bubbles again; only slimy saliva.

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Why doesn't something like this ever happen on a warm summer evening close to home? That'll be an immediate excuse, without any guilty feeling, to put studies aside. Grab a beer and mend a tyre; that's good fun. But something like this happens exclusively in winter, far from home and in the rain.
So here I am, soaked to the skin and down on my knees. With the dim light from my mobile phone, I inspect my tyre. That tiny hole has to be somewhere. The tyre is again softer than a minute ago. Half an hour later, I've finally found it. In the dark, with icy cold fingers, I push the tyre back into its rim. And now home on the double; I still have to cook. A little too hastily, I take the bicycle lights out of my pocket. That sturdy-looking backlight of mine, being a little loose, falls to the ground and breaks into pieces. There is nothing else to be done but walk limply to the nearest supermarket, my helmet slanted to one side. What a disgusting day!
'Open 24 hours' are written on big posters on the outside. I'm in luck, because it's already eight o'clock. I walk past washing machines and even baby seats but where are the bicycle lights? 'Sorry', says the employee after searching in the storeroom for a long time. He points me to another shop in another part of the city.
'This place is awful, I mumbled with hanging shoulders. Always raining; always cold; always dark. Dead tired, I finally creep into bed. No, it's not the people here since they are terribly nice. It's not Scotland itself either; the Netherlands is just as wet. None of these. It's the perpetually dramatic month of December. That's why Christmas is planned at the end of the month; there's at least something to look forward to. A few more nights and the Christmas holidays will begin. At Van Hall Larenstein, these do last for two weeks. Happy holidays, in advance!

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