Saturday, 22 March 2014

The panic rising.

I always feel worst when I'm on the brink of doing something wonderful. Anticipation, nerves, fear - they all turn up like unwanted strays, scratching at the door for scraps. You open up and let one in, just for a moment, and suddenly your house is full of wild cats, yowling and making noise at all hours when you just want a bit of piece and quiet. The house being me in this case.

In round about 36 hours, I will be on a plane to South Korea. I have no idea what we're going to do in South Korea, except that we are staying in a hostel in Gangnam purely for the "Gangnam Style" jokes, two years too late to be funny (and also because it looks lovely). We are going to the De-Militarised Zone, because it looks interesting, and hopefully going to see some temples - but really, we have no idea what's going on.

That's what I'm looking forward to. The endless, non-linear nature of exploring. It's a real-life sandbox game, with all the exhilaration of having no rules to follow. At the same time, it's downright terrifying. We have no set itineraries or things to do.

My only rule is "come back with stories".

It was what my friend wrote to me. He sent me a card, bless him: he posted it to me at home, and informed me that I had to come back with stories to tell him. He said the best words came from the heart, and that was what he wanted to tell me. Funny, how people always compare our relationship to something romantic. We have a deep platonic friendship with lots of cuddling, and somehow people always assume we must be dating. Only our minds are dating.

So, I have 36 hours to my flight. I haven't packed, and right now I feel like any attempts to be witty and gracious and charming to the people I meet in hostels will inevitably end with me being laughed at. I can't wait for the new people, the new friends, the new ways to waste my nights under foreign skies, but I'm so so scared I'm going to balls it up.

What if it's not worth it?

What if I don't get any new stories?

Deep breaths, I tell myself. Breathe this world deep. Everything will be fine. The panic will pass, and soon you will be flying.

After all, you have too much to do to be worried.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Nerds with Nerf guns taught me stuff.

Presented without context.*

- If you find a potato on the street at 5am, you should always always pick it up.
- If you are drinking wine at 5am at your friend's house, you should probably not have anything too important planned for the next day.
- It is perfectly acceptable to send drunk Snapchats on trains at eight in the morning.
- It is also perfectly acceptable to spoon on the floor of trains. Especially if you are still drunk from the night before.
- Apparently study drugs are "fantastic but taste like balls".

- Taking no spare clothes to a field full of mud is a really bad idea.
- Trying to run around on less than five hours' sleep in the last forty-eight hours is really hard.
- Running around while sleep-deprived is easier when drunk and harder when hungover.
- Nerf gun bullets are capable of doing actual damage, judging by the bruises on my arms.
- Sheffield is a demon hill surrounded by demon hill spawn and no matter which way you walk, it will be uphill. 

- Trams are great.
- Sexist tram conductors are not great.
- Friends who stand up to sexism in its insidious day-to-day forms are great.
- Taking an oversized hammer on the tram is great.
- Oversized hammers are great.
- Unexpected punchlines to hammer jokes are great. "Stop! ... Collaborate, and listen!"

- Blue hair will not always help you get spotted in a crowd.
- You should bond with people over your suspiciously similar hair colour.
- Dexterity beats brute force in any fencing match.
- People actually want to be your friend and sometimes they go out of their way to help you.
- Sometimes people you have only known for twelve hours will lend you their pyjamas while they wash your jeans and socks and let you borrow shirts when you have no change of clothes. These sorts of people are to be treasured.

- Furries are not what the media want you to think they are.
- Frozen is still amazing.
- It IS possible to order £700-worth of Domino's.
- There is nothing wrong with playing Cards Against Humanity over breakfast.
- Mentioning Prince Albert piercings in a group of guys will cause much confusion and squeamishness. This is doubly so if one of the guys in the group has one. And it has a fairly large gauge ring in it.
- Twitch Plays Pokemon has made the leap from weird internet phenomenon to something that spawns intense esoteric debates about religion, community, free will, and the power of technology.
- Running around a park with fake blue and orange guns is cooler than whatever you did with your weekend.
- Everything is awesome.

*This weekend was Assassins Varsity in Sheffield, for student Assassins Guilds across the country. About eight different universities were represented. That's all you're getting.