The path along the Cam takes us past the Fort St George. Today, the path was crammed with people. We walked around it and discovered that the back of the pub was also crammed with people. We managed to squeeze past them and wandered around the fair, loud mainstream dance music pulsating in the air, the mid-afternoon sun beating down on our skin. He tried to make me go on a ride with him - a scary one, called Extreme, one that spins you around in your seat as the arms of the machine lifts you higher and higher, its body rotating faster and faster. He said he would pay for my ticket - a grand total of 3 pounds. I told him flatly, 'I would pay you double that if you go by yourself.'
He eventually did, and I couldn't help but laugh as I video-ed the whole thing and heard him screaming as the machine spun faster and faster. When the ride was over, he was all weak in the legs, and said, 'Okay, I know why you didn't want to go on the ride.'
It wasn't just that these rides scare the shit out of me. It was also that I was in a nice new dress - a red halter neck dress with floral print from Dorothy Perkins - and I was wearing my Rolex, and my outfit simply did not agree with the idea of going on a ride. But it was mostly because these things scare the shit out of me. John, on the other hand, appeared to enjoy being flung into the air and spun around at top speed and feeling as if the soul were forcibly separated from the body - a physical demonstration of the truth of dualism if there were ever to be one.
Anyway, we walked around the fair a bit more - and that was when we began to really notice the people at the fair. The women were especially notable, but the men shared some of the same characteristics too. There was a pungent smell of cheap perfume in the air, mixed with a lingering smell of cosmetics. I looked around me and I saw a contingent of fake tans, faces crudely painted with too much make-up, crimped voluminous hair, skin-tight outfits, high heels that looked like they were made out of plastic. We were surrounded by a sea of orange and cheap-looking clothes, cheap-looking make-up, and it mattered not how old or young they were: girls that looked like they were 12 had the same heavy make-up, the same plastic heels; slightly older girls and women in their 20's and 30's had sprayed-on tans. Some of the men, too - they looked too orange.
I'm not sure what makes me so special that I felt entirely justified in my negative opinion of them. I'm not sure what kind of person I am if I felt it strongly as a matter of truth that my real tan is vastly superior to their fake ones; that my sense of style is superior to theirs because it is classy and theirs is cheap; that, simply put, my sense of superiority can be justified, is reasonable, in any way at all. What makes me better than them? Why does it matter at all that both John and I found them extremely unattractive? Maybe it is simply a different way of life. What makes my way of life superior, what gives me the right to look down on these people based purely on appearances?
I am too old for this gratuitous snobbery. Do not judge a book by its cover; an idiom that I learned when I was a child. Clearly, I had never learned its meaning. It is especially rich that I should have thought myself superior when I am seemingly languishing in this perpetual boredom, this perpetual dissatisfaction, this lack of fulfilment, lack of purpose, lack of meaning. Maybe they are superior because they have what I don't have, but so desperately want. So I need to get off my high horse.
I suppose the bright side is, I realised all that before I found out that those people were a group of gypsies/travellers, that the Cambridge Midsummer Fair has been going on for a whopping 800 years, and that it was customary for travellers to stop by the fair and basically have a good time. But I don't feel worse for my snobbery after knowing this; it shouldn't matter if the people that I'd unjustifiably looked down on have historically faced systemic discrimination or not, and it would be hypocritical and disingenuous of me to rein in my snobbery just because they were gypsies.
On another note, I played a mini league match against Olga in the morning and I won quite comfortably, and so I have beaten her 3 times in a row now. I have won 7 of my last 8 matches. I think I'm doing quite well.
But oh my god, why do I always get so moody when I play a match? I was pissing and moaning after every missed return as if I expected myself to make them all the time, especially because her serve always sat up and begged me to punish it. I was honestly surprised that I didn't lose a service game of mine that started off with me dumping the easiest put away of all time into the net. I don't even know how that happened. I was so disappointed - so disappointed even though I was in the lead.
This is the problem with being competitive and a perfectionist at the same time. I don't want to just win; I want to win properly, hit the ball properly, hit the perfect shot. And so I was actually really satisfied when I actually set up properly for a backhand and hit a winner down the line. That was awesome.
I still feel bored and restless. I am trying to deal with it. I don't know what the underlying problem is.
I am reading Plath's The Bell Jar for the first time and I am so disappointed with how colloquial the style is. I should have read this when I was a teenager.
The punting didn't happen yesterday; Matt texted at 11.30am to say he was not feeling well, could we postpone to next week? I saw him today when I went to get food and he was looking quite bad. Poor thing.
Honestly, that triggered a bit of the Gareth fiasco, how undesired and unattractive he'd inadvertently made me feel with his flakiness, and so I wasn't feeling too great yesterday. The feeling lingered and stayed with me all morning until I'd won my match. Basically: tennis is great. Dating is not. I think I should swear off men for a while.
Two other things I'm swearing off: alcohol and sugar. I'd been drinking way too much, and it came to a head at the Magdalene May Ball when I found myself drinking sugary cocktails at 3 in the morning and stuffing my face with delicious salted caramel brownies. This will not do; I am too fat and I can't stand the sight of my body. Kate Moss totally knew what she was talking about when she said, 'Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.'
I wanted to go alcohol-free and sugar-free for a month but it's my birthday soon, my parents are coming and we are travelling, and I just can't not have alcohol and sugar when I'm on vacation, right? Sigh. We will see.