Note: I’m not even going to try to be nice in this post.
One weekday, last week, I sat at my designated table for formal breakfast, and was already having a relatively bad morning, when a monitor/prefect (I don’t remember who) said, “There is too much movement in the d-hall. Could everyone please take their seats now.” This announcement was repeated at last two more times, and I was flabbergasted. And then, suddenly, I was seething with anger.
Let me tell you what formal breakfast is like. You’ve got your designated table, where you have to sit for every formal breakfast and formal lunch. On your table is cutlery, milk, sugar, bread and margarine. We’re getting to the catch now.
There are water heaters at specific points in the d-hall for hot water. So you have to get up to fetch it.
The d-hall department has Milo available if you don’t want the tea or coffee beside the heaters. But the Milo trays are always placed on or near the stage. So you have to get up to get it.
On certain days of the week, there’s porridge or boiled eggs, or salad available. They are either in the front of the room, or at the back. So you have to get up to get them.
And sometimes, the d-hall kitchen staff do strange things like provide three plates, six cups and no knives for a table meant to be set for eight to ten people. If you want to get what you’re missing, you have to get up and walk to the counter for it.
There are more factors, but I’m sure you can see by now that on any ordinary morning, there may be a need to get up and walk a fair distance across the room at least once.
So when I heard this nonsense about “There is too much movement in the d-hall” coming from a prefect/monitor’s mouth over the microphone, I was like, alright, who’s pulling the strings here? And what possible logical motive could they have for pulling them in the first place? There is absolutely no identifiable reason not to just let the strings be, slack.
I am telling you, this “too much movement” business was killing me. People were moving about exactly how they moved about each morning, and even if they weren’t, I failed to see how this was a legitimate problem.
- Would the number of A*s and grade 7s have decreased if people overly utilized their legs before 7am?
- Did every extra step a student took cause one more patient to die quicker in the hospital?
- Would the world freaking end unless people’s botosses were firmly glued to their chairs (while they starved because they couldn’t get to their food)?
Now, you see, I don’t believe whoever made that announcement was silly enough to have thought of it him/herself. The idea that our student population is “an intellectual community” has already been established to be a fallacy, but we aren’t that silly – not on our own, at least. No, this was an obvious case of Idea Postulation. Some teacher had gotten it into his/her head, straight from the invisible speakers manned by the Controllers, to try fixing ish that ain’t broken. He/she had, in turn, whispered into a monitor/prefect puppet’s ear the instruction to do the dirty-work of announcing it, and just like that, all their strings were pulled at once.
And so I was there, not so quietly ranting out of bewilderment and frustration to my table-mates about what a splendid show of daftness this was, until I realized, much later, what the truth was:
The school’s puppets were trying to turn us into Harry Potter!
It was all a trick, a gimmick! They’d all realized, in terms of magic powers, some of us were blossoming too late, and so took it upon themselves to awaken our powers by force/necessity. It all makes sense now. All we need to do is start practicing our summoning spells, sitting down!
Accio, hot water!
Accio, Tom Brown!
And boom, the stuff is on your table like you’re a certified witch/wizard. A simple stunt to sift off the Muggles from the gifted Purebloods, right?
Ugh. I’m tired of it all. Seriously.
Last Wednesday, I went to semi-formal supper (which is like a formal meal, except with slightly more relaxed dress codes, and you can sit at whichever table you want), to find that there were pieces of paper distributed to each table, demanding the name of the table and all its members.
Later, the explanatory announcement came from a monitor. Somewhat paraphrased:
“It has come to the attention of the d-hall department that there is too much movement during formal supper. So there are papers placed on your tables – write the name of the table and the names of everyone sitting on them, and these lists will be printed and sent to the whole school. From now on, this is where you will have to sit every Wednesday night.”
LOL, I was legit going mad in my head. There were so, so many reasons why this was all bull.
For one thing, the d-hall on Wednesday nights has half the tables set with rice, and the other half with fried yam. What if I want yam this week, and rice next week? Yet if I sit on a yam table and walk over to a rice table to get food to bring back, I’d probably get either a “Why didn’t you just sit on a rice table in the first place?” or a “There is too much movement in the d-hall!” Absolute nonsense.
Secondly, what on earth do you gain from taking away an aspect of our freedom that isn’t even harming anybody? Of course, during semi-formal supper, people tend to sit with their friends, or people they’re comfortable with. And in fact, the way humans are, we fall easily into trends – so much that it’s likely that 90% of students sit in the same positions every week, anyway. So you might think it’s not a big deal to make us do something we were going to do already.
But it is a big deal, to take away my freedom to choose! Say your favourite dessert was ice cream, which you ate every Saturday afternoon, by choice. How would you feel if you were suddenly told, “Okay, now you are not allowed to have anything but ice cream every Saturday afternoon for the rest of your life, and if you decide one Saturday that you don’t feel like ice cream, you will be punished”? Like, what effery.
And every time something like this happens, I find myself willing in my head to whoever is announcing, “Please take a moment to listen to the nonfa [redacted] coming out of your mouth and stop pretending like you think it’s worthwhile and sensible. Use your head. Use your power to fight back to the puppeteers. Please, please fight back.”
Interestingly, this school is a place where I’ve realized the prefects and SRC have no power.
The dining hall appears to be where majority of the puppet activity happens. I remember when one of the daftest instructions for formal supper seating came a year or two ago, the prefects were told to enforce it. But it was stupid, and some of the ordinary students tried to tell some of the prefects that it was stupid, but I remember being shocked speechless when one of the prefects (which, by the way, achieved major recognition for her fantastic IGCSE performance) responded, “It’s not me o – orders from a higher power.”
I’m telling you, that day, I gave up.
Anyway, what am I doing, still ranting about this? I need to go off and practice my summoning charms. Accio, yam! Accio shito!
If you’re still not getting any of the Puppets analogies, refer to this post which has the link to my novella, here.