The M5 stretched gloriously out in front of Bernard. Not only was he appreciative of the grey artistry, but today the M5 was more than just a modern architectural masterpiece; it was an opportunity. Today was Bernard’s moving in day at the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science. Today, Bernard was diving headfirst into an intellectual world of discussion and high powered debate. I am going to simply flourish, Bernard thought to himself. He caught his reflection in the wing-view mirror. Looking back at him was an enigmatic, brooding political philosopher to be. His hair was sufficiently messed up, but in a good way. It said, look at me, I don’t care how my hair looks because my hair is sat atop a brain so magnificently analytical that even my hair can’t contain itself. Bernard’s dad looked at Bernard outside the corner of his eye. Christ, he thought, I hope he gets a shag at this university.
School had been difficult to Bernard. An awkward looking child with long gawky legs and sinewy arms, he had the gait of one who knew that their penis was just a bit too small. He was awful at sport, and the only thing he did excel at he was mocked for; academia. Just the word sent a warm tingle through his body. This feeling must surely be better than sex, Bernard thought to himself with the assuredness of one who has seen but one pair of breasts. That was when Mrs Crocker’s blouse fell down in History class to reveal two veined monstrosity’s that burrowed deep into Bernard’s innocent soul. That incident had troubled Bernard greatly. Yes, school had been hard for Bernard, but university would be different. Bernard simply couldn’t wait.
“Do you need a hand with that dusty old suitcase?” asked a spritely young American in a pinstripe suit as Bernard clambered out of his battered old Megane with a wheeze. The “that” sounded like an elongated vowel to Bernard, he simply despised the Southern drawl that these Southerners have picked up from the gutters of American populist literature. “Why are you wearing that dusty old suit?” was Bernard’s response. His quick rapport was followed by a warm feeling that spread into a smug grin. This feeling, he thought, was akin only to the delectable feeling of urinating underwater.
It was evening time and Bernard had only met his 5 flatmates. The first person was the laconic American who had left a bitter taste in Bernard’s mouth. Will they all wear pin-striped suits he thought desolately? The next boy was decked out in jeans, white pumps and an awfully tight-fitting Hollister top. Perched upon his head was the most hair gel Bernard had ever seen. He insisted that Bernard call him Tia Maria, after his favourite liquor. Xi Wan was the third; a softly spoken Malaysian girl who went by the name of Jacques. Fourthly there was Charlotte who transported Bernard into an infinity pool of rosewater. Her small brown eyes seemed to look deep into his soul past what he previously thought was an impermeably philosophical armoury, mainly because he’d never locked eyes with a girl before, not since Mrs Crocker. Although her brown hair was unwashed and tangled, her skin pasty, her cheeks sallow and her lips the antithesis of voluptuous, Bernard saw in her what he had never seen in any other girl. Potential. The anticipation that proceeded the introductory pleasantries nearly killed Bernard. Thankfully, her first words boded well for Bernard’s dreams. “A bit of light chick lit” she jeered gesturing at Bernard’s copy of Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War. Bernard’s legs gave way.
When the mists of burning sexual frustration cleared, a face he didn’t recognise clattered into view. “Hello, my name is George Bernard Shaw, I’m studying Politics and Philosophy, my favourite book is Machiavelli’s Discources on Livy, it’s much better than The Prince don’t you think? I’m from Ireland, I got straight A’s at A level; no I didn’t go to private school” gushed Bernard’s well-versed introductory speech.
The face responded with a cursory shrug of graceful shoulders “I’m Karl Popper. I did go to private school. I personally think Discources on Livy was a bloated piece of literature. It is far surpassed by the sharpness of The Prince, and the ambivalence of the book that has so stimulated discussion, don’t you think?” Bernard was speechless. An equal, he exhaled internally. Someone who can match my intellectual prowess, someone I can journey with. Of course, this jubilance did not manifest itself in Bernard’s actions. He remained cool and composed.
“Interesting” said Bernard, as his door swung behind him with a resonating clang.
It was 4am in the early morning, the latest Bernard had ever been awake. He had lost his dignity on the dance floor of Tiger Tiger. Two shots of vodka, followed by 2 cans of cider. What was he thinking? Bernard was sure he had seen Tia Maria drinking at least 8 cans of beer over the course of the evening of debauchery. Bernard looked into the mirror of his room. A bleary eyed, wobbling 18 year old stared blankly back at him. I hope I didn’t look this when me and Charlotte dissected the social structure of Western society, Bernard worried to himself.
Bernard concluded that he was drunk. This was not what he had been expecting.