I feel like a cynical old man at the age of 19
I’m one knee blanket and a cough syrup away from starring in the Benjamin Button sequel.
Let me set the scene for you.
I am visiting friends at their house for what I thought would be a glass (or ten, let’s be honest) of Sainsbury’s finest wine and indulging in a casual bitch about the day.
Lord behold I stumbled in, completely unawares, on a pres for an ARCSOC event. All da kewl kidz were there and God knows I’m not one of them.
The vibe was what the youth are calling “wavey” these days: the charming rhythms of neo-jazz-newyork-deep-garage-post-modern-anti-proletariat-house was in the air.
High on the buzz of their own self-aware relevance, everyone was gently rocking and sipping away at G&Ts, sharing obsessions for niche avant-garde art galleries and love for brutalist architecture.
Everywhere you look: vintage jeans, grubby caps, and faux-leather dungarees. I’m not going to lie, they’re rocking it.
Yet there I was, saddled with my bag, my books, and the unforgiving stench of an 8-hour day at the UL. I was an emblem of the mediocrity Cambridge had to offer.
My face was an awkward grimace – imagine the face you’d make if you had to take a stubborn shit whilst opening a Christmas present you hated from your Aunty at the same time? Yeh that’s the vibe I was working with.
I was the awkward out-of-place gangly outsider. I was the star of my own terribly awkward British Sitcom (Stephen Merchant would fit the part) and I couldn’t help feel taken aback by how all these people were my age. Sure, some of them had a trust-fund/gap year photo album more than me, but there was something to my separation I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
They tell you to make the most of what you’re born with. And I’ve been told since a young age how “mature” I am and how I act “so much older than your year”. Now I can’t help but think that when you reach University those traits just become a bit of a setback.
At your 4am snaphact story in McDonald’s I’ll tut, and at your grubby adidas high-tops I’ll sneer, and at your indecisiveness in the baked goods section I’ll be damned sure to make a point of loudly complaining about it. I can’t, and I won’t, help it.
If anything’s wrong with structural oppression, it’s the inherent belief that anyone who opts for a quiet night in deserves to be banished from all the mainstream fun. That somehow, you’re the one that’s wrong, that you’re boring, that you’re definitely “missing out” (I’m convinced snapchat stories were invented as propaganda for this very reason).
Or so society would have you believe…
Because on that night, I was reminded by my own cynical normality… and I fucking owned it.
I embraced the fact that my visit was only fleeting – I was soon to welcome my taste the difference white chocolate chip and raspberry cookies in my bed, with open arms. Sometimes it’s as if I’m cheating on my friends one Desperate Housewives episode at a time.
But surely this is just the true modern day love affair?
Each night out in Cambridge is just one variation on the same theme – sipping on VKs, flinching at the guffaws of John’s boys, rocking all the Regina George you can muster, and bumping shoulders with people you’d rather see exiled to Anglia Ruskin. Each night is more boringly repetitive than the last.
Everyone blurs into the same, unimpressive, hazy mass of “fun”. Whenever I’m stood outside clubs in the bitter sober cold, I can’t help but think of how much I’d rather be in my room: getting drunk on something that doesn’t taste like a Jelly-baby and vinegar love child, being able to hear actual conversation over something other than mainstream trash, and escaping all the wandering strays of Cambridge seeking social validation at clubs with as much integrity as Donald Trump’s hair.
Maybe it’s just a second year thing. Or maybe it’s just me. But in the proverbial words of Kylie Jenner, 2016 is the year of “just realising things”.
And I’ve realised my old-man cynicism, my Regina George philosophy, and my generally indifferent ideology.
And if that makes me boring – so fucking be it.
Seats at my table are for all those who, like me, bask in the glory facebook’s ‘Everything is Terrible’ dinosaur sticker – so I’ll see ya’ll in Hell, I’ve made reservations xoxo