What can I say? We all love to complain about Cambridge–the restrictions about walking on the grass, the constipated expression on the face of the lecturer, and the rate at which the number of essays causes our pens to run out of ink. However, living and studying at Cambridge is more than simply an inconvenience–it can be fatal.
In fact, I’m surprised that around town, there aren’t fewer of these signs:
…and more of these signs:
So now you’re simply dying to know the ways in which Cambridge life kills. Well let me tell you…
Insane bicyclists (and unexpected motorists)
Can I really blame England for my impending doom? Sure. Here, I could be nonchalantly crossing a street to get to Chemistry, glance over my left shoulder to ensure that no cars are coming my way, and be surprised by the reckless grocery truck zooming from the other direction, on the wrong side of the street! Thank God I have friends. British friends. Who know which way to look and grab my wrist when I start walking into the oncoming traffic.
Bicyclists, however, are an entirely different matter. While inherently less fatal than the aforementioned motorists, they are far more likely to end up seriously injuring you. They seem to materialize right in front of you, moving at speeds only possible on the flat streets of Cambridge, where not a single hill can deter the overzealous cyclists. Sometimes, they try to be considerate, and give you some notice of their approach: they ring a little bell on their handlebars, causing you to freeze right in their murderous path and stare at them like a deer caught in the headlights that bikes here are required to sport.
Tourists at lunchtime
Yes, I realize that breakfast is the most important meal of the day–This is why I eat breakfast food for lunch when I sleep through breakfast on a Sunday morning. However, when I have to wake up for lectures, I don’t get that luxury. Nonetheless, I sleep in as long as I can, and thus, my breakfast consists of coffee and a granola bar that I sneak into math class. This leaves me quite ravenous by lunch time, so I attempt to seek out food as quickly as possible. Usually this is not a problem, I either head to Hall (our awesome version of a cafeteria) or snack on something in my room. When I haven’t gotten around to grocery shopping for quite some time, though, the latter option is cut out, and on Saturdays, when we Natural Science students are the only ones holding our eyes open for lectures, our college only serves brunch.
This past Saturday, I didn’t have food in my room. There was no lunch being served at King’s. I had to find something to eat! After several collisions with bicycles, I arrive at a cafe, but the line of tourists stretches out of the door. I try another place. Same deal. I could continue describing my failed attempts at getting lunch at a cafe, but I’ll just say I ended up getting a falafel from an outdoor stand (which is one of the things that goes under “Parts of Cambridge that Keep Students Alive”).
Cambridge tourists also tend to block streets and ask where to get a taxi, wasting a student’s precious time.
All right, so tourists are only an inconvenience, not an actual threat…
See, England isn’t used to weather. So when it snows a few inches, (a) people get really excited, (b) tourists get really excited, and (c) the world comes to an end.
See, what happens during a snowy winter, is that besides snow-men, ice forms on the roads. And those motorists I’ve already complained about are either too excited to care or not used to the fact that snow exists, and thus skid through the icy streets, on the wrong side of the road. Also, you know that salt that gets put on the roads in times of snow? It seems to be scarce here. And running to Chemistry on ice is quite difficult. Maybe I should prioritize getting a helmet before I get a bike…
The beautiful old architecture of Cambridge is often rather valued: we brag about it all the time. Take a look at King’s Chapel. Be jealous. Come visit. Join the hordes of tourists.
However, there are several dangers associated with living in a very old building, like I do. First of all, apparently some of the water pipes are broken or rusty, so the water isn’t 100% safe.
Turns out other parts of my hostel are broken besides the pipes. Like, let’s see… the water boiler. Yep, this morning, our really old boiler broke, and a fire alarm drove all the inhabitants of Spalding out of bed and into the drizzly Cambridge streets. There wasn’t a fire this time, but maybe I should start worrying about living five minutes away from the exit…
So if nothing else convinces you of terrible danger I’ve put myself in by going to college at Cambridge, I’ll leave you with this: