That digs column

By Stephen Galanis

So you’re wondering why no one ate the last 12 cheese curls last night? I don’t know either. They go all soggy overnight – and it’s scarcely for nutritional concerns that the average student refrains from eating a cheese curl now, is it? And a half-empty glass of wine is no fun to clean the next morning, especially with two drowned cockroaches floating on top. Yuck.

But no! One ought not to dwell on the following afternoon when you’ve woken up and need to clean, but on the happy thought that you live sufficiently far from campus to use it as an excuse to miss a period 7 or 8 lecture. Which you do.

And digs is not only about wild parties your friends have that you knew nothing about. You get to meet people you’ve never seen before – in your own house, helping themselves to coffee – without going anywhere! I feign excitement here because sometimes impromptu socialising can be quite a task when your football or rugby team, which you’re heavily emotionally invested in, loses a big game. Then
the thought of yet another party with yet more soggy cheese curls and cockroaches is too much effort, if vastly appropriate to how you feel.

And the parties come apace. Oh yes. You see, sly friends in res lack the breakable glassware and space to do any half-decent job of staining the carpet, so they do that in your digs, which adds character. Such
consoling thoughts aside, space is nevertheless a huge drawcard.

Have a hammock in the back! A real stove! And, (pause – that is what a comma is for), enough space to
put clutter. This is necessary for all the odd things acquaintances and friends leave behind. With exams
lurking in the background, those living in digs can expect to be more cut off, so you’ll have to hang on to
the nondescript items of clothing for a while against your will. Make a note of the braai tongs and cutlery
you lent out too; you’ll want those back. Not the chips, though. Those can be thrown away.

Do the clever thing and return the visit. Society really does have claims on us all. Now visiting another digs is an art in itself. You must be pleasantly surprised that they name their couch and be appropriately intimidated by the vague name of the digs itself.

At some point, since we are ostensibly students, we’re meant to study. The lack of curfew however means that it’s easy to procrastinate over coffee until 1am, talking with friends studying the same subject, but about everything except that subject.

There is often no one to scare you back into work mode, or to scare away your guests – who ought to
get on with their work too. And this is a drawback. Having spectacularly intelligent conversation at unearthly hours usually does not translate into a good essay, and once again leaves too many mugs to clean on the morrow. Alas.

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