The perils and peevances of Cambridge town

Heather Stewart

Faculty: Science and Engineering
School: Vision and Hearing Sciences
Course: BOptom (Hons) Optometry
Category: Vision and hearing sciences

12 May 2015

Cambridge is a kooky place to live at the best of times, but now it’s spring coming on summer and every man and his dog seem to have come out of hiding, and are buzzing around the town like a student fridge with too much cheese in it. Fancy a nice chill out away from campus, in the graveyard next to uni? Every darned time some unleashed mutt is going to come up to you and sniff you with a wet nose, or worse – attempt to be petted. How about a quiet country walk to clear the old sinuses and get away from your desk? Yet more dumb little dogs – the smaller the dumber – are going to get in your way, even run directly into your ankles.

But it’s not just the dogs, people live here too. Perhaps the thing that annoys me most in the world is going up to a pedestrian crossing, pressing the button, seeing it light up, waiting, then some moron comes along on the opposite side and pushes the button again. It’s lit up already, you foul beast! Why do you think I’m standing here: for my health? Even worse is when they do it on the same side of the road as you are standing – I’m sorry – am I invisible, did I not just press the button? Do you think I blew in during the last storm? Curse you! A pox on your house! I’ll tap you on the head with a bus ticket and send you to an infernal little spot just outside Gallop, New Mexico (watch The Lost Room if you didn’t get that reference).

Perils: the peril of walking under a spring tree – having unknown items drop on your head as you walk underneath, and hoping that they’re not a bug of some sort. Of walking by water – swallowing countless tiny flies etc, and having whoever you’re with tell you it’s just extra protein. Of the Cambridge winds – having all you hair cover your entire face so you look like Cousin It from the Addams Family as you walk to uni. Of trying to find a computer to use at this time of year – there are none, go home. Of the cows that wander by the cycle paths – you’re very cute and make me not want to eat hamburgers, but please don’t get in my way. Of food shopping – it might be on offer but you’ll never use it all up before the end of term. Of shared kitchens – everyone is slowly leaving and losing the will to live as far as washing-up is concerned. Of howling like a wolf on campus – it’s not big and it’s not clever.

And I haven’t even started on exams, revision or uni. However, the obvious stresses and peevances of exams and revision are a subject I think everyone will be familiar with, and so elucidation of their more infuriating properties is hardly something I need go into here. Suffice it to say that we have to learn things we will never need to know in the ‘real’ world, memorise things we will gleefully forget five minutes after the exam, and the system of examinations is so tailored to annoy students to the maximal possible degree that we just, can’t, even. Thankfully this is the last week of teaching, so for now, we need know nothing more than we already do, until next year.

Not that I don’t like it here – I do.


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