Justiss and I prepare by going to the fresh fruit/veggie shop on South Street and then Tesco’s. We buy seven bags worth of food, including a lot of spices and sauce-making ingredients (heavy). But we stagger home without even being hit by a car or falling over at all and leave most of the purchases in Justiss’ room. Eight people are invited to dinner at eight. Dinner making begins at 6:45. At that point, we are joined by our hall-mate, Felix, who was going to make dinner for himself but decided to contribute vegetables and join us.
The plan? Noodles with peanut sauce and chicken on the side, sweet potato fries with turmeric and paprika, and lemon banana muffins (because we are unable to find poppyseeds or frozen blueberries to add).
Highlight: We’re nearly finished making all the food, and about to take it out to the common room when Justiss’ friend from her lab, Jenny, arrives and helps begin cleaning. The kitchen is hot. Something begins to beep. The four of us run back and forth the length of the kitchen, and also in and out of the kitchen and hallway that connects it, staring at the ceiling in hopes of finding the smoke detector. We discover something that looks like a British version of a smoke detector in the middle of the ceiling of the kitchen and begin to jump and wave at it. Felix goes for a chair. I try to shut the kitchen door multiple times unsuccessfully because the refrigerator blocks it. Jenny looks concerned and asks if it’s connected to all the smoke detectors in the building. Justiss begins to wave her sweater at the thing, madly proclaiming that there are buttons – “Watch out for the buttons!” Felix reappears with the chair, places it below the smoke detector, and climbs on. We all begin to shout “Where’s the button?” to each other, and then Felix says; “I don’t think it’s coming from here,” and gets off the chair. The three American girls shut up (for once?) and Felix bends down to the oven, which we had set some time before and presses a few buttons. The beeping stops.
Then Garrett arrives with eggs, which I add to the waiting muffin batter. We transport all of the food into the common room where Felix had already set out his dishes (the only ones we have) and spoons – I don’t know why we only had spoons for noodles, but that’s how it was.
Richard calls me to say that he and T-Man and another Jenny have already eaten because they were worried about the food quantity, but now they’re coming. He also mentions that Will is outside in the rain with his girlfriend, but that he doesn’t have my phone number. I go outside shouting his name and come across a couple having a really angry spat. In order to make my presence less awkward, I yell “Will” again and run back inside. Having not found him, I text Richard to give Will my phone number and then I go get food. Will calls and Garrett answers my phone and goes out to find Will and Rachel, with significantly more success.
But the muffins, which were looking ok about halfway through the baking process, come out and promptly begin to sink. They turned into banana lemon balls, with firmly condensed dough, and everyone eats them anyway, which was nice.
Justiss and Jenny leave for a night on the town and somehow the rest of us stay and gab long enough that I forget what Justiss has gone to do and when everyone else says they’re going out, I feel peer pressured and agree to come along if they text Garrett and me the location and I can change.
Somehow J and J end up in the same place with us, and have a creepy hanger-on, who is in town for the golf tournament and is also at least a decade older than any of us. But Justiss really acts like he’s a friend, introducing him to T-man and then seeming to bring him back to the table where we are all sitting. She is also reasonably upset with me for not texting her to say that I had decided to come out, but I just forgot we had phones, which happens sometimes when you live long enough in a strange country without them. I tried to make it up to her by helping get rid of the hiccups she had procured. First I taught her to drink upside down and then we did jumping jacks as a distraction technique.
And ok, it was weird later that she laid her head on my shoulder, but I thought that maybe she was just sleepy and feeling affectionate, so I patted her head affectionately back and didn’t understand that she was panicking and trying to get me to rescue her from the strange 40-year-old man hitting on her. Jenny, however, did know what was happening and told Garrett to get Justiss’ attention (discreetly) and engage her in intense conversation until the man left. That all happened.
Then we decided that rubbing your hands together wildly, poking friends intensely, or shouting across the table phrases like cortisone cream or do you have a tampon, would all be effective mechanisms for inducing a person to leave and simultaneously signaling your friends that you need help.