I now find myself obsessed with the strangest things

Oxford Mail: Jeremy Smith. Jeremy Smith.

It’s a been a week of minor details. Or rather, astonishingly minor, inconsequential, unbelievable trivialities. Last Sunday week for instance, I became obsessed by a chest wig.

I was taking part in the annual Strictly Oxford dancing show at the New Theatre on behalf of Vale House, and I wanted to project a manly torso. Although, that’s actually lying – I didn’t want to – I had to wear a chest wig because I needed its flamboyance to ‘up’ my game.

Unfortunately, it was considered inappropriate for me to do so and that’s fair enough, those were the rules, but at one point during Sunday’s final rehearsals I did find find myself in a heated discussion over the pros and cons of chest wigs in formal dancing competitions (incidentally, it’s still at home unopened). Indeed, to my shame, I can actually remember saying out loud, beside the box office: “Don’t you understand, that chest wig is an extension of me...”

Then last Thursday, I was invited to judge a cake baking competition at Windmill Primary School in Headington.

In all, I think 160 entries were submitted by the pupils but thankfully my judging panel had only to taste and evaluate 68.

Sounds easy doesn’t it? But let me tell you, despite the fact that every mouthful we swallowed was no more than the size of a postage stamp, by cake 33 all of us looked green and would have killed for a bag of chips (anything savoury in fact).

What was interesting however was how heated we became in our assessment of each cake; indeed, something as small and seemingly inconsequential as a trace of gooseberry in a multi-coloured sponge drove us to distraction (grown people, I kid you not, arguing over the inclusion of an unexpected flavour is something Rude Youtube would beg to screen).

And on Friday, I found myself obsessed on the bus in from Kidlington by the behaviour of Oxford’s cyclists.

No criticism you understand, I’m bored by that argument – I just found myself bewildered and awed by the complexity of their swerving, their queue jumping, their over-taking, and all without either hand on their handlebars and their headphones welded on. Astonishing.

Fortunately, the weekend passed without any particular obsessions, apart that is from my fanatical devotion to washing and ironing my white shirts. I’m not kidding – I think I may even need a course of Beta-Blockers – prescribed to control rapid heartbeat and trembling in anxious situations – to reduce the tension I feel every time I prepare my shirts for the Hotpoint (I wanted a Miele or Bosch but couldn’t afford either).

One shirt (out of six) looked less than shimmering (despite the two added sachets of whitener and Vanish stain remover) and I felt suddenly and powerfully winded.

‘Sad’ doesn’t even come into to it.

For me, I’ve only ever been able to see the trees rather than the woods.

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