I’d like to think that, when Sally Mapstone sits down in the morning before accommodation allocations, she looks ahead at a spreadsheet full of names and Q&A answers, and personally selects exactly who should room with who. A few rowing nuts here, one or two humanities students there, a med student to spice things up – you know, just the perfect mix of personalities all melded together for a loving experience of first year, where no one really knows anyone, and you tend to cling to the first person you see putting their stuff away in their kitchen cupboard.
Obviously – and rather unfortunately – this isn’t true.
But I wanted to tell you about quite possibly the strangest woman (read: child) I have ever met: my flatmate Anna.
Now, not only do we both share the same first name, but we also share a very peculiar connection that I think not many other people hold in this world – we always seem to know exactly when the other person is going to do something stupid. Now, I pride myself on not doing many stupid things, but the other Anna? Well, she’s a completely different kettle of fish.
So, I thought, as a nice way of appreciating her weirdnesses and showing you what you could end up living with, I’d expose her on the internet. With her full permission, of course.
These top ten examples range from our first few months together in Year One, where we tried (and succeeded) to be normal around each other for approximately four days before giving up, to now, living in our little flat together and trying not to either (a) break a window, or (b) burn the building down. So go grab a cup of tea, get comfy, and be ready to lose all your respect for someone you’ve never met.
A little side-note before we begin, though – I do absolutely love her to bits, and if I wasn’t belly-laughing on the floor at midnight every night, I don’t think I could cope with the stress of university. I love you, wife!
Oranje Is The New Black
I begin with our most recent event, which happened just the night before I wrote this article.
Because of a desperate desire to be cute, we bought a whiteboard for our fridge, with appropriate space for our two schedules and a shopping list, so that we can be functioning adults. Last night, we decided to fill in this shopping list before a quick trip to Tesco on Sunday.
Anna picked up a pen, took up position in front of the fridge, and began to write.
Complete silence followed, and then, the laughing started.
I was on the floor, Anna was on the floor, the pen was on the floor – and we both struggled to breathe as we realised that, despite evidence to the contrary that she’s actually quite smart, she hasn’t grasped the concept of basic English.
I’m not sure if ‘oranje’ is a thing that actually exists, but I’m being honest when I say I will not leave Tesco until I have one.
‘Documentering’ Orange Juice Sieving
Now, Anna is a very particular person, in that she will only let very specific food items enter her body. This isn’t because she’s healthy and wants to watch her carb intake – this is because she has the tastebuds of a four-year-old child who can’t cope with the slightest alteration to her diet. She honestly eats fish fingers and chips (which we’ve named ‘fish fongers and chops’) every night.
But she also makes mistakes. Copious mistakes. And one of these mistakes was when she came home from Tesco with orange juice – with bits.
Now, any normal person would probably just have sucked it up and drank the juice with the bits – it isn’t that hard to do, and, with the rate that she actually drinks orange juice, she could probably get through it in about an hour.
But not Anna. Anna used a tiny sieve to physically force the bits out of the juice and put them in the bin, a process which took about twenty minutes to do, and she lost most of the juice in the process. While I filmed her doing this, she asked me whether I was ‘documentering’ the process. Again, a stellar example of her prowess in the English Language.
I seriously considered calling the ASC.
‘When I Was Smol, I Slapped A Bird.’
Most nights in DRA would be spent lying on the floor in front of the coffee table, our heads propped up by the sofa cushions, probably watching YouTube compilations of Gemma Collins or falling gradually in love with Richard Madden in Bodyguard. One night, as we spoke about our childhoods, something came up.
‘When I was small,’ – read this ‘smol’, since she also speaks like a baby half the time – ‘I slapped a bird.’
Before you call the RSPB, this needs some explanation, and after some more painful laughter, and a bit of coaxing her up off the floor, we managed to get the full story out of her.
When Anna was a child, her parents bought her a pet bird, which she hardly remembers (shows how much it made an impression), but which she seems to have loved very much. As she was giving the bird some much deserved attention, the bird did as birds do and nipped her.
Anna slapped it.
The bird was swiftly gotten rid of, her parents never really spoke of it again, and the trauma was buried until she was reminded years later.
Rest assured, she still feels guilt. I plan on setting up a candlelit shrine to him in our new flat, just over the fireplace.
Sharkfiq & Racoopey
In order to procrastinate, both in new flat and old, Anna and I indulge in the rather well-known game of Overcooked. An extremely wholesome and stressful co-op, this game takes you through various kitchens, where you have to work together in order to meet orders in increasingly difficult settings, and probably end up not speaking to each other.
In this game, you can choose specific characters to play as, both humans and some more… ‘different’ additions. We quickly found, as we went through the game, two specific characters we liked the most, and, interestingly, they merged into our last names.
Anna was Sharkfiq, and I was Racoopey.
Anna, quite obviously, played as a shark. I played as a racoon in a wheelchair. After a particularly difficult level, with plenty of screaming at each other, Anna told me – and I quote – ‘I can’t wait until you’re not disabled anymore’.
I’ll just let that sit for a moment.
Quickly, she realised what she’d said, panicked yet again, and then we laughed for about ten minutes while both our flatmates looked on at us in concern and the game music just kept playing.
As you can probably tell, she doesn’t exactly think before she speaks.
Good (Tear Duct) Vibrations
Sometimes, when I’m sat on the sofa, writing an essay, or cooking, I hear a quiet noise coming from Anna’s general direction. Sometimes I think it’s the fridge, making one of its various strange noises; sometimes, I think I’m going slightly mad; most of the time, I think it’s the traffic.
Every single time, however, I’m proved wrong when I look over to see Anna, lying on her back, making what can only be described as a hybrid of a cow and elephant noise. The reason?
It makes her tear duct vibrate.
Yes, I know – like a baby discovering its own limbs for the first time, Anna finds inordinate joy in her ability to make her face ‘feel weird’. Sometimes I wonder why our landlord chose us.
Milk In The DRA Canteen
Continuing in the vein of Anna being an overgrown baby, we move onto her favourite drink – aside from orange juice, of course.
Last year, when we were living in DRA, we were both catered, and without fail Anna would get a mugful of milk. Of course, you might think there’s nothing wrong with that, and I don’t have a problem with it either – she’s looking after her bones, and making sure she gets plenty of calcium.
However, one day, as we were sitting down to eat, she realised she’d forgotten something. Her milk. So, standing up, she ran haphazardly back over to the cutlery section to see if she could find it.
There it sat, in the middle of the counter, being stared at by an extremely suspicious canteen worker, who looked even more worried when someone who looked like an actual child in pyjamas and a hoodie snatched it up and walked back, all the while trying to suppress laughter and looking a little bit like she was going to throw up. Classic.
When we got back from the Christmas holidays last year, Anna turned up to our flat with two massive bags of chocolate crepes. The deal was organised with her father that, because they were going to go out of date, the five of us would make sure to eat them before that day, and then it would all be fine and dandy.
Needless to say, while a lot of them got eaten, most of them served another purpose.
Whenever you walked into our flat, you would be at risk of either Anna or our flatmate Matthew lobbing a crepe at you from behind the sofa. This would happen when you were working, cooking, crying, gazing out the window at the sky and wondering whether you’d die if you jumped – you were never safe. It became a sort of guerrilla warfare in Flat 12, with four participants (one flatmate was severely uninterested), and we walked away, when the crepes were finally finished, with nothing bruised but our pride.
Fighting will resume the moment we get another bag of crepes and sneak up to Bell Street to attack the ones who retreated to different frontiers this year.
The Corbyn Christmas Tree
Anna and I are both staunch Labour supporters – surprise, surprise – and, when the General Election was happening in December last year, it coincided with our Christmas tree being somewhat depleted of decorations.
We thought for a long time – what would be appropriate for the topper? An angel? A demon? A captured cat?
Then we came to a conclusion – Corbyn.
With her fantastic artistic skill, Anna drew a beautiful rendition of the ex-Labour leader’s face and framed it in a heart on paper used from her maths revision notes, and the Jeremy Christmas Decor Range was born.
Of course, then Labour lost. We still kept it up, though.
We also sent Jeremy a video. And some photos. He is yet to reply.
‘If My Grandmother Had Wheels, She Would’ve Been A Bike’
Sometimes, when we’re exhausted and can’t be bothered to work anymore, we sit down on the floor and watch some good old daytime TV compilations. Whether their subjects be Gemma Collins, Lady C, or Phillip Schofield, we’ll lap them right up. But one of our particular favourites is Gino d’Acampo.
As you may know, Gino is a chef who appears a lot on This Morning, and he’s done various things across the years – cooked naked on live TV, for example, or started shouting at the camera because they wouldn’t let him cook.
But I’m sure you’ve heard of his greatest moment: ‘If my grandmother had wheels, she would’ve been a bike.’
This is a common Italian expression, which doesn’t quite work when translated into English, but, when faced with it during Gino’s carbonara-induced rage, Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield rightly lost it.
So did we.
In fact, we laughed for about half an hour, continuously rewatching it and finding it even more funny with every replay. The boys in the flat thought we were going mad. We really were.
But Gino, if you’re reading this – we love you. Please come shout at us in Italian.
Finally, I can’t finish this article without talking about The Coat.
One day, as Anna got ready to leave, I noticed something on top of her head. I took a closer look. She was confused as to why I was getting so close to her, because I normally keep quite a wide distance (due to crepe-induced fear, obviously). I laughed, grabbed my phone, took a picture, and turned it around to show her.
Anna looked like a budget Teletubby – you know, the one who got kicked out for wearing too much black and asking everyone what their favourite kind of off-brand carnation milk was.
She went on to walk all the way to her maths lecture with the hood up, and the memory of the forgotten Teletubby, Ugh (named after the sound she makes when she has to get up in the morning), will live on forever in my heart.
Some Honourable Mentions:
Of course, I couldn’t fit everything that’s happened in one little ten event list, so here are some smaller, more tantalising highlights:
- When our lovely fellow flatmate Harry Burrows killed a mosquito for us with a slipper while we both screamed and hid.
- An absolutely atrocious rendition of Wonderwall.
- When Anna tried to open a cupboard in our DRA kitchen and fell right on her arse.
- When I Grow Up performed underneath a pink blanket, with perfectly-timed head-bobbing, as the rest of us looked on in abject horror.
- When she sat across from me as I was writing this article, eating Coco Pops, and the spoon squawked like a chicken.
Thank you for coming on this journey with me as we explore the strange new addition to the mammal family, Anna. She’s weird, possibly needs institutionalising, and everyday she annoys me more – but I wouldn’t have it any other way, because if I didn’t have her strange Chewbacca noises, I don’t think my life would be the same.
And no, I don’t have Stockholm Syndrome.
If you’d like to hear the absolute degeneracy of us two, check out our Twitch at AnnaSquared.