My "studying" has been absolutely mind-blowingly fucking pathetic. It's been one week and I'm still on the same damn topic for one course. It's so mind-numbingly boring and utterly pointless (it's the only international law course that I'm taking - IL and the Use of Force - and we all know how I feel about international "law") but my personal feelings are irrelevant to the fact that I have to do an exam in this course and so I have to know the facts and the arguments. I decided to type out my notes instead of handwrite them so that I can organise them more efficiently, but that means that I'm working on my laptop which means that I don't work at all. It doesn't help that I've been doing a lot of extra-curricular stuff, like, oh, playing tennis and going out for coffee with a friend and sitting in Regents Park under the sun - the sun! the actual sun! - for 3 hours just talking; and after these activities, I come back and I do nothing for hours, and when I feel guilty enough to do something, it's like, past midnight and I'm too tired.
I hate hate HATE myself. I have tennis again at 2pm today. This means that my Sunday is fucked too. I just felt so inspired to play after I restrung my racquet, because there's nothing quite like playing with a freshly-strung racquet. On top of that, the weather is finally beginning to look like it's going to get better - it hit a high of 9 degrees today. 9 degrees, oh my god! And the sun blessed this perpetually gray city with its beneficent rays! What a miracle!
I'm also playing tennis on Monday afternoon, so there goes my Monday too.
I am so, so, SO fucked.
I went for this social tennis thing at Islington Tennis Centre on Friday afternoon. It was 2 hours of doubles matchplay, with rotations after 30 minutes of play. It was indoors, so that added to the incentive of me going to freaking Zone 2 to play tennis - doubles, no less, which I hate - with a bunch of strangers. (The main motivation, of course, was my new strings.)
(The difference between Zone 1 and Zone 2 is pretty stark. I live in Zone 1 and although my area is a shithole, it doesn't make me feel like I'm living in some rural area or whatever. Whenever I venture out of Zone 1, I feel like I'm not even in London anymore. I can't imagine how I would feel if I ever went to Zone 6.)
To cut a long story short, I got bullied by this mega arsehole during the last rotation. One of the many reasons I hate playing doubles is because I am not very good or comfortable at the net due to my unfamiliarity with netplay; when I'm playing singles, I only go in on a short ball from my opponent (where I'm propelled by the forward momentum to keep moving forward) or when I hit what I think is a good approach shot which I think would force a weak-ish reply from my opponent. These two scenarios don't happen often and although I tend to be more aggressive than the average recreational player, I don't go in that often; and when I do, I am flustered when the ball goes to my backhand side because my backhand volley SUCKS, and I'm not confident enough to always put away the volley, even if it's a pretty routine one.
The point of all this is to say that I don't stand at the net, like, at all when I play doubles. Usually the non-serving partner or the non-receiving partner will stand at the net, but I always hang back at the baseline. I've gone for a few social tennis sessions here in London and no one has openly taken issue with it...until that Friday. Mega Arsehole made me stand at the net. What the fuck? Not only that, he proceeded to spend the rest of the time critising everything that I did. When I was at the net and not close enough and missed a short ball, he said, "You have to stand closer to be able to get that ball." When I missed a backhand return, he said, "Do you know what you did wrong there? You didn't take your racquet back early enough." When I was at the fucking net and dumped a forehand volley into the net, he said, "You have to hold your racquet in front of you and not like you're hitting a normal groundstroke." When I was serving, he told me to put backspin on my serve and I had no fucking clue what the hell he was saying so I just did my usual thing; after that, he told me to just hit it down and not bend my knees because I was doing too much.
Oh my god, I just wanted to tell him to shut the fuck up and just fucking play. Mega Arsehole had a mega stick stuck so far up his arse, it's disappeared completely into said arse. At the start of the session, when he called game on his own service game, one of the guys at the other side of the net made the mistake of questioning his call, because he totally got into the guy's face and was all aggressive and rude. It became abundantly clear that Mega Arsehole had serious issues when, two minutes before the session ended, the guys who booked the court after the session came in early and Mega Arsehole started snapping at them. After the session ended, he started an argument with them.
I can't believe that I had the misfortune to meet someone like that, and worse, to partner him. It's not as if I don't already feel like a liability to whoever I partner because of my crap serve, non-existent netplay and inconsistent groundies. I don't even know why I go for these things; I think I'm just going to stop going altogether. I hate doubles anyway and it's not really fun to play doubles with strangers; not to mention half the time I'm just walking up and down the baseline and not getting to hit the ball much, which defeats the purpose of playing tennis.
Thankfully, I found some classmates who play tennis too, so at least I have people to play singles with.
Still, Friday was pretty okay overall despite the sour note on which it ended. I met this really nice elderly woman who nicely - NICELY - said that my serve was bad but I had good groundstrokes. There was also this super cute old man who literally moved extremely slowly and basically sliced every ball back. I felt bad for him when the guy that I partnered hit these hard balls at him that he couldn't get to. Later, he asked me where I was from and I said that I was from Singapore and was in London doing an LLM; he asked me if I wanted to qualify here in London and I said no because it was too difficult. To that he said, "Too difficult? I did it!" It turned out that he was a barrister. That was really cool. Too bad I couldn't understand most of what he said.
If I do go back again and see him again, I'll talk to him more. He seemed really nice and cute. Most of the people weren't very friendly; he and the elderly woman were the only ones that really talked to me. The rest were civil and polite but didn't bother making conversation. It's kind of weird like that.
I think this quote from Person of Interest is true: "In the end, we're all alone; and no one is coming to save you."
People always let you down in one way or another, even those that you thought whom you could always count on. There's no such thing, really. I have learned that there is an element of calculation in every human relationship, even if we're not consciously aware of it. We are friends with people only to the extent that they serve a purpose to us; and when that purpose ends, or when we no longer derive a benefit from the relationship, the relationship drifts towards its inevitable end. This isn't a cynical or Machiavellian perspective of human relationships; it's merely pointing out the obvious. I am convinced that there is no unconditional love outside of a parent-child relationship, and even that is dubious, depending on the parent and the child and the way they are built as people; but assuming that to be true - every other relationship between people is characterised by, based on, and/or defined by an element of calculation. I am friends with someone because of what I can get out of the friendship - companionship, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, someone to laugh with, someone to spend an afternoon in a foreign city with, someone to pass a Friday night with. A relationship is formed only if it is mutually beneficial; and so when the utility of the relationship decreases for whatever reason, you find yourself becoming more and more of an afterthought to the other party in the relationship, until you're not a thought anymore.
In light of the above, in which I firmly believe, why should anyone have any expectations of the people in their lives if there is incontrovertible evidence that the utility of the relationship is running on diminishing returns? It is simply irrational to have expectations; it is also irrational for other party to, simply put, care, when the relationship yields no benefits for him/her, for a host of reasons.
The fundamental problem with human beings, I think, is that we do not possess perfect rationality and reason. Kant would like to think that human reason is capable of overcoming base desires and instincts, hence his categorical imperative and moral philosophy that's centred on human reason; but I think he gave us too much credit. We lapse and re-lapse into the same pattern of futile hope, of second and third and fourth and infinite chances, of not knowing when to say enough is enough. Compassion is a weakness. My bleeding heart is nothing but sentimentality, and sentimentality is nothing but a liability. It obscures objectivity. It blocks reason. It undermines rationality. As much as I do not wish to become a cold, calculating machine, sometimes I feel like there is simply no other way to deal with the perennial disappointments that life throws at me, and the on-going battles that I fight on a daily basis.
On that note - I am seriously considering utilising the LSE counselling service for students. At least it's free, unlike the insane SGD200 counsellor I saw back in Singapore.
The only problem is that I'm too proud to admit to a total stranger that I have a problem. I'm too proud in general to let people see my vulnerable side.
I am super tired right now so I am just going to post this and go to bed.