Thursday, January 19, 2006

Late night nostalgia

Sometimes I think I was at my best when I was about 15, and it's all been a casual slide downhill since then. This is, of course, only the ought-to-have-been-expected result of being thrown into the real world (insofar of course as this venerable university can in any way be considered real at all), where popularity is not defined by grades and you no longer have to fold (not roll) your socks down such that the width of the fold is at least 1.5cm. Ankle socks with frogs on are now allowed, thank goodness. (I don't actually own any ankle socks with frogs on, although a debating coach when I was 15 did, and we loved her for it.)

But then again, that is too pessimistic a view. So here we go, a little of the good and bad (in all honesty, cross my heart etc.) approximately five years on. (I think I lost some years in between, mostly to exam fever and non-salaried copywriting drudgery, but nevermind that.)

THE BAD (because I am a sucker for happy endings)
1. When did it cease to be easy, socially? I never expected to even have to think about it. People are lovely when you get to know them -- underwater, next to sheep poo, in dance class -- but I have yet to get the hang of the whole making friends over a pint business. This does very little for one's self-esteem, which does little for small talk abilities, which makes it one big vicious circle (on the plus side, I have now developed very thick antisocial skin).

2. Goodbye hobbies. I spend more time sitting cynically with coffee and Stephen Fry (or Begon, Townsend and Harper's Ecology when all else fails) then industriously charcoal-ing or harping on about sunsets and apples. So perhaps I was never destined to be Whistler or Wordsworth, and it happens to everyone, but still there is a bit of a loss.

THE GOOD (it was a pleasant surprise that that didn't last long)
1. Scientific geekdom is a pleasant place to be antisocial or not in, as one wishes, particularly when you have the prospect of doing most of it underwater in the Indo West Pacific. Fish never expect you to be clever, witty and sexy (or maybe they do, but you don't particularly mind disappointing them). And they can be reliably depended upon to do interesting things (swim, feed, have sex, lay eggs, fan air over nests, brood young in mouths whilst starving, etc.), unlike some human specimens. You just need to have the right frame of mind.

2. 20 poems. (I'm only ever cryptic about You Know Who, no not the scary evil wizard, yes I know that's a bad joke.)

3. So yes, I've lived a little in some other country out of SE Asia and not from mummy's lap, as I was itching to do when I was 15. Some of it has been breathtakingly beautiful, most of it has been grey, much of it has been peaceful in a solitary kind of way. The thick skin developing and the delayed teenage angst has been largely dealt with. So now I can feed my duckies and do my own laundry in peace (huh, where did that combination of riveting activites come from?). On balance, it's been nice. And I'm far from done -- the HDB towers will not take me yet! (As I've tried to explain to many people, Singapore simply doesn't strike me as a place to be, well, young.)

4. Old friends are truly wonderful beings. I was silly to half-expect to move on entirely, and I'm very very glad that I haven't.

There we go, more goods than bads without even trying. It is too late, I will be sleepy tomorrow morning, I hope this entry doesn't sound awfully cryptic and self-serving tomorrow such that I will be tempted to delete it. Happy Chinese New Year everyone if I don't get round to another entry before then!

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Big Apple

Just a redirect to a group blog at me and four 4/1 friends in New York over Christmas and New Year's; be warned that you may understand very little of it!

Back in Cambridge now and absolutely loving it. Ah, the comfort of my room, the heavy English coins, the nonstop drizzle, the 4pm loss of what daylight dared to poke its face through the clouds. It feels like home. Back on the show production job; academic work shall soon raise its guilt-inducing and frankly quite terrifying head.