In Cambridge, walking down lanes with memories. Piss Alley (Kings Lane), the way to my old college. Round the backs. Is that the house where…? I remember wandering about like this on the morning after the one May Ball I ever went to, and a picnic on the green patch of island across from the Mill pub; long-forgotten, I would never have remembered it without coming back here. I drank in the Anchor because I lacked imagination and friends, except for that time after Finals when I drank in the Eagle and met a man who was ready to die. I never cycled in Cambridge. I got a 2.2. I was never named in reviews of plays. Anonymous boy. Anonymous man. Nothing changes. The river still flows.
Despite the tone of this, which I wrote on Saturday night on my way to a drinks reception, I had a very pleasant weekend in Cambridge, staying in student accommodation at Christ’s College and attending a workshop on the Uses and Abuses of Biology.
I wasn’t entirely anonymous at the workshop – I introduced myself to a few people, had some enjoyable chats and learned a lot from the speakers. But there are always those moments at lunch, or having drinks, when I am on my own without a good idea for how to not be by myself in the crowd. Now, I don’t mind at all being by myself – until I think someone else thinks it is odd. And maybe it is odd. And that’s when I start to think of ways to mask my public isolation. Which only draws attention to it. Which is when I get most awkward. But people are often nice and sometimes come up and break me out of my exhibition of introversion. For which I am grateful.