Letter to: My scout

Away from Oxford, we realise who we really miss – our scouts.

Hi,

I’m the awkward person in Room 9 who panics at the sound of your Hoover outside on the day I know you’re coming to clean my room. I’m the one you see peering out of my door at you when you’re going about your business because I’m trying to work out when to time my tactical exit to the kitchen, because I find it too uncomfortable to sit in silence fake-typing at my laptop while you work in my room. I’m also the one that has to chase you down afterwards because I accidentally left my key in my room when I was tactically exiting.

We also seem to see each other ten times each day because, in the few hours you’re working in my building, I’ll leave for a lecture, come back (probably early), head to the kitchen to make a second breakfast, take it to my room, go back to wash up, return to my room, then maybe go briefly across the hall again. At first we’ll smile at each other and say hello when we pass each other, but on the fourth or fifth time it’s just awkward. My tendency to wander around doing not much and eating multiple meals before lunch is exposed.

You’ve been here a lot longer than I have and I realise you’re probably used to all different kinds of students, even ones as awkward as me (I’m also sorry about the breadcrumbs on my floor). I’ve recently been reminded how privileged we are to have Scouts in our buildings. You treat us better than I would expect to be treated by my own parents. You bring us fresh laundry every week, you empty our bins without commenting on how many Twirl wrappers there are in there, you clean up the disaster that is our kitchen on a Monday morning, and sometimes you even end up doing the washing up (which I’m pretty sure isn’t part of your job). Compared with ‘normal’ student life, living with a Scout is like living in a hotel. Maybe the reason I feel so uncomfortable with it (apart from the embarrassment of my domestic habits) is that I know how fortunate and undeserving we are to be spared the responsibility of even having to refill our own toilet paper.

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I’m sorry for being weird and vaguely creepy – thanks for everything you do.

Room 9 xx