Organ Donor

I used to think I was disorganised. Then I took to spending most of my life with academics and socialists. Both groups tend to be highly intelligent and committed, both are kind and generous people, and neither could organise raindrops to fall downwards.

If a socialist party tried make a cup of tea, they'd design a leaflet featuring a graphic of a raised fist to announce the event, reschedule it at least twice, and redesign the leaflet with three days to go because someone noticed a spelling mistake.

There'd be a deep philosophical debate about how water transforms into steam when it boils - in spite of the fact that no one in the room knows basic physics. Someone will insist on crowdsourcing the kettle, someone else will call the others reactionary bourgeois crypto-idealists because they put the milk in first...

And a small group will resign on principle because that's not how Lenin made tea in 1914.

Academics would draft a funding proposal, stare at a cup of warm water for a month, then hurriedly draw a graph, fudge the figures to make them fit a curve, and publish in the Journal of Applied Infusionomics - on why the kettle exploded.

I'm not joking about the philosophical debate, by the way. Engels, Trotsky and lesser figures like Ted Grant all used boiling water as a both a metaphor for social change and an example of something bourgeois ideology can't explain - and badly mangled their highschool thermodynamics.

Terms like convection and latent heat weren't even mentioned - which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't insist that they understood 'real' science better than the scientists.

Anyway, a week ago I got a call from a (non-socialist, actual scientist) academic, to the effect that they were being booted out of their flat, and needed short term accommodation - and did I know anyone who wanted a tennant?

So I found someone with a spare bedroom. The proposed date of moving changed three times, and the offered rent kept going down - and suddenly the bedroom wasn't spare anymore. Meanwhile my friend with the PhD had had offers from three family members to stay with them - which he turned down on the grounds that dear old Kapitano was fixing him up with something better. He told everyone Kapitano is good at fixing things.

I phoned around for an alternative - unfortunately my phone is full of socialists, who all want to do the right thing, but have something in their makeup which means they can't do it soon. Ah, the number of meetings I've sat through ponderously debating how to organise a, erm, rapid response to something.

So, four days before eviction, my friend took me and others out for an extremely nice (and embarrassingly expensive) meal, where I got to talk philosophy and politics with professors of fields I can barely spell. But as we were all drunk on expensive vodka, no one minded.

The tab was picked up by a very responsible fourteen year old boy, who'd been authorised by his father to entertain us on his (the father's) credit card. Somehow it made perfect sense at the time - though I hear the father is now being extremely frugal.

With three days to go, my friend said he could use some help packing...but first we could go out for a quiet drink, with optional hookah smoking and comparative religion discussion. About 1am the drink ended, and we were too tired to do any packing.

The same thing happened with two days to go, and I started to get the suspicion that maybe, just maybe, I had become the excuse for someone else's displacement activity. But I did get to do something useful, because he realised it would be a good idea, if he's moving all his stuff, to have some cardboard boxes to move it in.

So I scrounged some empty cardboard boxes from a friendly publican and a helpful shop owner. Forward planning is a useful skill, but not so useful as finding quick fixes when no one's done any forward planning.

With one day (actually nine hours) to go, we did all the packing. I'm not sure why one man needs thirty pairs of shoes (including a pair of rollerblades), four duvets and three large teddy bears...but I've got 50 teeshirts and every episode of Dr Who made since 1970, so I'm not going to judge.

There's the minor issue that the last-minute savior who said he'd provide accommodation isn't answering his phone, but as I haven't been called in a panic, that's presumably been sorted.

I did get something out of all this. Specifically, I got twenty pairs of castoff shoes, about ten kilograms of 'mixed spices', Two jars of 'Jordanian style coffee', a toasted-sandwich maker, some evil-smelling hair tonic (for my shaven head), a spare phone with a charger for a different phone...and quite a lot of green tea, which I'm about to try.

So this socialist is now going to make a cup of tea. Cheers.


  1. That's a long ass story just to tell us you were given free tea. :P

  2. Ah, but the point of the story is the telling, not the ending. :-).

    Which is why it's okay that most films fall apart at the end.

  3. A shaggy Kapitano story!

    I'm worried about the 20 pairs of cast off shoes. Are you daft, or canny? Do they fit? Are they rare? Is there a volatile shoe market you're going to corner?

    Captcha: reatheal - a tribe, possibly from the Aiel waste (Wheel of Time). Or not.