Of hair and housing
Another round in an ancient battle played out today. I mean, of course, the battle that has raged over the length of my hair. There is a camp that encourages it to become ever-longer: a camp served by apathy and thrift on my part, but opposed by my will. Short hair is manageable hair, which does not become an embarrassment if briefly slept upon or subjected to a hat. The viability of the hat option makes temperature control more feasible. In short, the advantages of short hair are legion. Of course, the longer-hair crowd always wins out in the short term, as the stuff extends day by day. I always win in the medium term, once I muster the energy to blast it back. The first red line is when it becomes capable of touching my eyes; the second when it begins sticking out over my ears; and the third when it starts behaving unpredictably on the back and sides of my head. By then, it has become a dangerous snarling mass.
When you think about it, winning in the medium term is the best we can ever hope for as human beings. I'm now probably mostly made of Oxford tap water, where once I was made of Vancouver tap water. My ability to continue rebuilding myself out of water and digestive biscuits is ultimately capped by entropy: the central reason for which we are all doomed in the end. As such, it if in the 5 to 50 year time scale that we have the opportunity to snatch what victories we may from the jaws of irrelevance.
Speaking of medium-term victories, Kai and I may have found a suitable flat for next year. It's located right near St. Antony's, on Church Walk. It's farther from Sainsbury's and the centre of town, but about the same distance from the Department, and closer to Jericho and some nice commercial areas. It's a basement suite, located underneath some kind of institute. As such, there will be nobody upstairs to bother us or be bothered evenings and weekends. It also includes a sizable back yard: almost as large as all of Library Court. We could definitely hold some nice garden parties there. The three bedrooms all have safety windows looking outside at ground level. (The third bedroom would be occupied by our silent partner.) The kitchen looks good and even the smallest of the bedrooms would more than adequately serve me.
At £85 a week for the two large bedrooms and £75 a week for the small converted living room, it seems quite pricey. That said, my termly battels in Wadham have exceeded £900 for each term and inter-term break period. Having a better kitchen would also encourage me to eat in more often, as well as affording me the chance to actually store prepared food. Those prices include power, water, and broadband internet access (obviously the most vital of the three). In short, the flat itself is very nice with advantages of location and design.
The biggest potential problem has to do with availability. The lease runs from September to September, which is standard, but the three current residents are all moving out in April. They are looking for someone to serve out the rest of their lease, then take one on for next year. My accommodation in Wadham runs until the 17th of July, but I am inquiring as to whether I could move out before the start of Trinity Term instead. Then, I could live in the new flat from the start of April until our exams end in July 2007, at which point we would presumably find people to play the same lease-finishing role as we would be playing from April to September of this year.
This will be the first time I've actually lived in accommodation that is private to this extent. I say 'to this extent' because the building does belong to St. Antony's College and it would be through them that we would be letting it. Even so, it is much closer to private accommodation than Library Court, Fairview, or Totem Park have been.
I am excited about the prospect of living there.
PS. The haircut, which I got from the same place on the Cowley Road as the last one, is neither the best nor the worst I've received. The best was in Venice and now comprises the picture I show to barbers; the worst was in London, and I am sure it's now part of my CIA dossier. This one is slightly worse than the last haircut I got in Oxford.