I am doing something utterly ridiculous tomorrow: I am going to London to fix my iPod.
First of all, it is mind-boggling how shitty Apple products are. I've had my iPod for four months and already the screen has died. I'm able to sync it with iTunes and at one point it could still play music, but the screen is now completely black. I've tried resetting and even restored it to factory settings, but to no avail. It is really very annoying. I don't even know what happened; one minute I was on the cross trainer machine in the gym listening to music (Britney's Womanizer is a great song to work out to) and the next, the screen became misty and started malfunctioning. I thought it was perhaps due to the tiny bit of liquid that I found on the surface of the iPod, presumably from the water bottle holder of the machine (in which case, ew, gross), and so I put it in a bag of rice for two days. I did the rice trick when I dropped my phone into the toilet bowl and it worked, and so imagine my utter perplexity when I retrieved the iPod from the bag of rice, plugged it in, and was greeted with a flickering screen.
That was on Sunday, which leads me to: Second of all, Cambridge kills me sometimes; it really fucking does. The whole reason I am going to London to get it fixed is because there are no available appointments at the one Apple store here for the next week. On Sunday, I walked all the way to the shop (okay, it was maybe 7 minutes) to see if someone could quickly look at it and tell me what I should do, but no, I had to make a freaking appointment for that. I hate this stupid appointment business; it is inefficient and silly, especially when there are no slots available for a week.
This village really tries my patience sometimes. I need my iPod to survive: I use it when I go running, when I'm at the gym, when I'm doing my reading in the law faculty and I can't be bothered to lug my laptop. My phone has some music and so I can use it when I read and when I'm at the gym, but it's too big to run with. That was exactly why I even bothered getting an iPod (Nano, to be precise): to go running. And so I am not waiting a week to fix my screen.
It is also really inconvenient because I really did not want to go to London on a week day. I really wanted to work on the background reading for the paper that I want to write, and I really wanted to do it on Tuesday. I am so unproductive and today was just...filled with stuff. I wanted to go to the library in the morning before French class but I had to do my laundry since I can't do it tomorrow because London, and that took fucking ages. By the time I got to the college library, it was 11am. Read what shit, right? So all I did was email my editors (of the law journal) to tell them that I will be assigning articles for review, and get my 16-25 rail card application form stamped by the college. That was all I did before lunch. How ridiculous.
French class was fun, as usual. I learned the different forms of 'in' which vary according to the gender of a country, whether the country is singular or plural, and whether the place is a city or an island. It is perhaps not surprising that Singapore is considered an island, and so one says J'habite à Singapour, but it still struck me as a bit weird because Singapore isn't an island the way Bali or some random Greek island is an island. Also, the French word for a block of flats - un immeuble - is quite disagreeable to my pronunciation skills. Finally, if I need help on how to get to a particular cocktail bar when I'm in Paris, I can now do so in French: Où se trouve Le Comptoir Général ? But as my teacher pointed out, I would need to be able to understand the answer...so maybe the next question is, Excusez-moi, je parle un petit peu français, alors...parlez-vous anglais ? (I can't be bothered with the accents!)
I'm totally loving the French classes. I've been wanting to learn French for the longest time, probably since I was 16, but for reasons entirely due to my laziness and passivity, I'd never got round to it. I am finally doing it. It's all obviously very basic, and I can only count to ten, and I can't pronounce things properly, but it's great!
Actually, when I was talking to Arthur (who is French Belgian) at formal on Friday and I told him that I'm learning French, I gave him some examples of the things that we are taught. I told him, 'Je parle anglais, chinois et un petit peu francais' and he said my accent wasn't too bad! Ha! In all honesty, though, I am better at judging whether someone is pronouncing something correctly than at correctly pronouncing the said something myself. I know what the language is supposed to sound like; I just can't do it properly all the time. But that's why I'm taking a class, no? It is good fun.
I had a get-to-know-you meeting with my editors at 4, and French class ended at 3, and so I had a lot of time to kill. My new friend from class, a Singaporean maths undergrad Jie, very kindly kept me company as time was killed. We walked and talked along the river, taking the route that one would take if one were to go to Grantchester. When we reached the motorway, he said, 'Where are we going?'
I said, 'Isn't this the way to your house?'
'No!' he said. 'I was just walking randomly!'
It was pretty funny. He's a nice guy to talk to and he's pretty good at French, so I think he's going to be my speaking partner for the exam...whatever exam it is that's coming up at some point. I'm really not on top of things, am I?
Meeting my editors was nice. It ended quite early as people had things to do, so I went to White Stuff and spent 120 pounds or something like that on a new jumper and two new shirts. Yay!
I had coffee with Barry on Sunday. He asked me about my love life and eventually he observed that I sounded a bit desperate.
I guess the only saving grace here is that there is a world of difference between actually being desperate and coming across as desperate to the person of interest (assuming that there is one). I'm not sure that I am desperate; I think that's taking it a bit too far. Am I impatient? Yes, I am. I don't like waiting for things to happen; I prefer to make them happen. And since I still cannot be bothered with dating apps for reasons that I don't really know myself, I am pretty much waiting for things to happen. And it's kind of boring.
But he was right about one thing: why should I get hung up on or worked up over whether one guy replies or not to my messages? Maybe it is the aftermath of the whole fiasco with G, but whatever it is, I have come to really dread the part where I wait for the guy that I messaged to message me back. But why should I care that much? I should care only to the extent that a reply is reasonably expected when one asks another person a question via electronic communication; no more significance should be imported into the reply.
And so after putting it off for days, I texted Antonios yesterday, telling him that I'm going to London tomorrow to fix my iPod; was he free for coffee? (I made sure to specify an activity instead of leaving it open to interpretation, such as 'Are you free to keep me company?' or whatever.)
I didn't see his reply until 45 minutes later, probably because it showed up as one of those banner notification things on the phone when he replied, and so I saw it only when I looked at the Messenger application and saw that I had a new message.
He'd replied two minutes after I'd sent my message. 'Yes - new phishing scam you want to disclose?'
'Haha! Maybe something more interesting. :) Let's arrange something tomorrow!'
He was curious, he said; let's talk tomorrow. On hindsight, maybe I should've been more specific instead of saying 'something more interesting', which is clearly open to different interpretations. But whatever. Today, I told him where I will be and at what time; he said he has class until 1.45pm and a meeting from 4 to 5, and that we could get coffee before 4 and do 'something else' after 5. He suggested that we met outside a cafe in Soho. The repair shop where I will send my iPod is in Soho.
He gets points for 1) saying yes immediately; 2) prolonging our meeting beyond my initial suggestion; and 3) fixing the meeting place somewhere that is convenient for me. I wondered if he'd make me go to South Kensington, and although I don't know where his meeting is, it is still a good impression that he didn't make it convenient for himself. And of course, saying yes immediately is always a very good thing.
He may lose points if he adopts a less-than-decent interpretation of 'something else', if he thinks we'd pick up from where we left off the last time we saw each other. If it comes to that, I'm just going to be straight with him, tell him that I don't do sex outside of a relationship. This is advantageous for two reasons. First, it fits my style: I prefer to be direct and honest, and I really cannot be bothered to hint and tease and play games; it takes too much work and I'm really shit at it, as is obvious from my failed attempt to elicit a dinner date from him last week. Second, if he loses interest, then it's clear that he's not my type, and all the similarities that we have can lose their significance, and I can get him out of my system.
So here's the thing. I could have just told myself to forget about it, considering the reservations I had (and still have) about Antonios. But I'm just - I'm someone who needs to know things. I can only really forget about something once it's tried and tested; for instance, I had to see G when I was back in Singapore over the summer to finally be able to forget about him (and I'm pleased to say that I don't miss him anymore). Despite my reservations about Antonios, I was nevertheless intrigued by the things that we have in common. The one common thread that runs through my failed relationships is the lack of things in common, important things, fundamental things. And so this needs to be tried and tested so that it doesn't linger at the back of my mind as one of those 'what would have, could have, happened if I'd just...' musings that I force to the front of my mind every now and then when I despair about my love life.
Can I admit that I am looking forward to seeing him? I am also bracing myself for my reservations being proven right, which is probably going to be the case, but well, as a random psychologist character said in Gilmore Girls,
You don't really seem to have him now, at least not the way you want to have him. You won't get anything unless you ask for it. And if you ask for it and you don't get it, maybe it wasn't worth having in the first place. Some things are just never meant to be, no matter how much we wish they were.
Lastly, I have come to realise that I am a bit of a serial monogamist. I cannot do the casual thing, and I seem to not enjoy being single anymore. I've had a boyfriend every year since 2009. It's become such an entrenched part of my life that I can't remember what it was like when I was mostly single between 2003 and 2008. This current period of singlehood (5 months and counting) is probably the longest that I've gone without a boyfriend since I broke up with NEB in 2007.
I don't know what to make of this. I don't know what it says about me. I don't know how I feel about it. I don't know what it is that I crave for: companionship, stability, security? A connection with someone else? Someone with whom to spend my free time? A travel companion? But I like to be by myself, and I can't seem to find the perfect fit, and neither of these two things explains why I jump haphazardly from one relationship to the next.
But there's one thing that relationships have which casual dating doesn't: security. By this I mean the security of his attention, to the extent that it is possible for me to be sure about these things. I think one reason why I can't be bothered with things like Tinder right now is because I dislike the idea of a guy talking to girls other than me at the same time. I find that to be an affront to my pride; sometimes I genuinely think, 'Why would he talk to other girls when he can talk to me?' All things being equal, this wouldn't be a problem at all in a committed relationship, whether long- or short-term. But it is a problem in casual dating, and I simply cannot accept that. My ego demands his undivided and complete attention. Perhaps that is why I've become something of a serial monogamist.