One of the most common stereotypes about England is that it always rains. Whilst I’m sure I’ve read in the past that Hamburg has the same amount if not more downpour than England, most people here will still mention constant rain no matter if it’s true or not. It is, however, true for most bank holiday weekends. Most joke beforehand that it’ll surely rain on at least the Monday, but very often it rains the entire weekend.
I decided to make the most of the sunny Saturday by spending a large chunk of my time in the Oracle, sitting in the sun and reading a book. The Oracle, unlike the rest of the towncenter was packed; there were children running around everywhere and all the steps were occupied by people. Not to mention the large number of ducks running over the water and the occasional boat or two. In short: bliss!
Oblivious to the world I suddenly found myself surrounded by a large group of teenagers, maybe 15 years old. There were about twelve of them on the steps near me though they were by no means the only group on the Riverside. Thankfully the quieter one though!
Even after observing them for just a couple of minutes, the order of the group became clear:
- The alpha female. Loudest, brightest clothing and constantly jumping from one person to the next demanding everyone’s attention. She often repeated sentences if she felt no one had heard her and she also jumped from topic to topic. She was the one to dictate where they sat, who sat next to her, who should take a picture of who and when to leave.
- The groupies. Four boys, dressed in the same ‘uniform’ and all wearing a Justin Bieber style haircut. Yes, I know what the Justin Bieber haircut looks like and yes, I’m ashamed of myself enough! They spent a large amount of time trying to either catch the alpha female’s attention or following her ‘orders’.
- The female tag-along’s. There was a large number of girls that either ended up there by mistake, for example through the friend of a friend or tried to unsuccessfully catch the attention of one of the Bieber clones. Several of them seemed very uncomfortable in their dresses or with the way they looked and some seemed downright nervous. They all were mostly quiet apart from agreeing with the alpha female or talking when they seemingly ‘were allowed to’!
- The different girls. Two of the girls clearly attempted to be different to the rest of them. This was displayed through different clothing styles, getting their lunch from Boots versus everyone else’s McDonalds and standing a little bit further away. Close enough to follow the conversation, far enough to not have to constantly massage the alpha female’s ego.
- The outsider. One of the boys was clearly an outsider. He had short hair, glasses, wore mostly black and couldn’t have looked any different to the Bieber clones! He also sat at one end of the group and, when the sun turned, he moved to the other end closer to the alpha female where he was ignored even more. The entire hour they sat close to me he spoke maybe five sentences.
The group dynamics reminded me a lot of some groups I’ve either been part of or observed in the past. Sure, not every group has a set of groupies or an outsider, but every group has an alpha male or female. The patterns are very similar.
Similar patterns is something that I’ve thought about a lot lately. It has taken me nearly 27 years, but I think I’m starting to realise certain patterns in my life. I’ve realised that I only ever do certain things or have certain routines during certain times in my life or moods. The past eleven years of my life can only be described as a constant roller-coaster ride with me moving countries far too many times and generally not being settled. Being settled involves planning the future at least to some extent and it’s always been easier to just move or go away rather than dealing with issues at hand.
I also realised that I seem to have come full circle with my life back in 2007/2008. There are a scary amount of similar routines I have ranging from living arrangements to friends to daily activities and general interests. And judging on a private journal from the time I seem to be having the same daily issues at pretty much the same time of year, some even almost the exact same days which is rather surprising.
Even though the next ten days will be difficult, I know that I’m a different person than I was in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and, especially 2008. It doesn’t matter that I have to keep telling myself that!