"Oh my god I'm getting sexiled no way."
What quaint and strikingly brilliant things the natives here seem to say. My, my, my, people here just have a way with words, don't they? How are the poets gaining the inspiration for these incredible works they're doing? We must have poets...what is a major university without its glorious poets, immortalizing its starry sky-kissed columns? Or do we just have the same inspiration-deprived jackasses of yore, the same thespian types who overran the high school with their maudlin, poorly expressed sentiments?
Am I too harsh? Oh, do tell me about how awfully harsh I am, when my roommate cannot wait for me to leave so she can have sex, the girls who live on either side of me are... [trails off and decides to go to sleep]
Something else interesting—I think that, with many of the activities I'm seeking out these days, I'm merely attempting to somehow regerate the feelings of satisfaction derived from being around people from high school... Case in point: I found myself, upon walking across campus, randomly thinking about joining set construction up here...
Another aspect of this, I think, may be automotive deprivation. Freshmen here may not possess cars on campus. And yes, I know, it sounds as though I'm complaining idly like some spoiled [surprise!] college student. But nonetheless, I find it demeaning that I am not allowed—in a city that is virtually defined by the ubiquity of cars—to own anything resembling that primary mode of transportation. I am forced to rely upon (1) my parents, because unfortunately I'm going to school in the city I grew up in (2) other students lucky enough to have easily accessible transportation, who I don't know, who it would be a hassle to get to know... (3) public transit, which is ridiculously inefficient, as any St. Louisan knows, or (4) activities that I can join where they'll—oh glory, hooray, yippee—transport me to the inner city, a night club, or some other unpreferred destination. Perhaps they believe this will foster a sense of closeness with my peers. Yet I believe it does the opposite—I probably grow more resentful of my peers and the school in general because I can never leave. There is no way to gain relief through escape from the other rats in the cage, so I must learn avoidance tactics, which probably harm my psyche far more than a lot of things.
*Phew* So those are my frustrated thoughts upon walking through the heat (and it will be the same in winter, just with more cold and chafing and slipping and suffering) past cars cooling on the lot that lies as an obstacle between me and my place of residence on the South 40. Some may think I'm merely bitching, and perhaps that's true. Yet, as with any gripe wherein someone actually bothers to provide examples and refutations, I just might be on to something.
We need more studies...always more studies to tell us what our intuition and common sense already know.
This is a research institution, after all.
Me: I want to have a car
Me: and drive off campus
Me: just off campus
Me: nowhere crazy
Me: it's this cruel paradox
Me: the road out of here goes right past my dorm....right under my window, even
Me: it goes and goes....but I don't
Boyfriend: what road?
Me: Shepley Drive
Boyfriend: where's it go?
Me: around the dorms, out to the Place of the Backwards Stop Signs
Boyfriend: this sounds like some weird pseudo-college but pseudo-african mythology
Boyfriend: The place of the Backward Stop Signs, where the pavement people dance when they have died
Me: That's the point—it's the mysterious Other, the Unknown, Out There. Not on campus...
This all happened to me so very fast... Just think about it—there I was, during the happy gorgeous warm end-of-spring, inducted as a Thespian, going to the library almost every other night, dinner/phone/and park with Dirk...Man oh man, I wasted all of that. Just think—gorgeous fun wonderful youthful prom, gorgeous borrowed lavender satin dress... (Thoughts disjointed, yes, and ooo, that rhymed.) Gorgeous spring, sunsets, warmth, friends...and then I came here—altogether too soon. The summer was great, but the work, the pain, the suffering, plague, and pestilence that have insinuated themselves into life-as-I-know-it since... Not that anything then was truly better, per se, but it was familiar, and, boy, the idealized version looks nice nowadays. Now I long for my far-away chap, I download movies, I then burn CDs of those movies, I talk to people online, and drag myself up 3 flights of stairs to (1) get home (2) see friends in other dorms (3) pass the time....
As Kerouac so concisely put it: "Where go? What do? Sleep."
Although one of my last statements there raises a rather curious question (is that redundant? ^_^):
Is this home, truly?
Will it ever be home?
(Yes, I know, I have an overdeveloped sense of the dramatic. My h.s. physics teacher once told me that's essential to being a writer, along with being jealous of every wonderful piece of writing that's not yours... He was kidding, of course, but it's nice to think that I may have the "writer's temperament," so to speak. Whether that temperament means I'm deranged or not, well...)
Where Do We Go From Here?
Well, it just occurred to me, as of the last few days, that it is now most definitely getting on towards fall. That, my friends, is a glorious thing. Just imagine. Fall. Nice walks down leaf-strewn paths late in the cool night...man, that's the stuff to live for, no kidding. Nights when the heat on the third floor won't suffocate you...now those, those are to be treasured. But who, pray tell, who shall I walk with? The guy's so far away...
Yes, I realized that last real sentence ended with a preposition. Yet, one must ask the question—one that has been asked many a time as of late—does it really even matter?
Anyone Who Actually Looks Happy to See Me Is Preferred...
This is not summer camp. It is now getting on to fall. The leaves are falling already. I'm going to be here all year, aren't I? And then for perhaps the summer, and then three years more...and then grad school... Yes, this is obvious. But I just did my first load of laundry in a month and listened to my stereo for the first time in about as long, and yeah...this is real, isn't it? We don't just go home after a few weeks or a month or so...we stay, and we work, and we get thrown in with other people and watch anime. Watching anime is fun, too. But wow. This is it. This is the end we sought in h.s. Not that it's bad, just ... different. (Although, of course, I merely say that with my audience in mind, no reason to let those who don't know me very well, yet who nevertheless have my screen name, worry needlessly over me, now is there?)
No, I Don't Hate Everyone, Yes, I Have Friends, Yes, the Dorm Is a Fine Place to Live, But Here're My Thoughts Today
I identify with the guy with the burned-out face—and perhaps it's because I assume that he, like me, is somehow apart from this smush of sex and wild youth that rages on campus each weekend and some weeknights—he, too, may be held back by some force beyond his control, namely the little devil bacteria that colonize his skin, eating him alive. I just walked past him, and as I open the door to my dorm, I catch the scent of—what is that? Summer? Fall? Spring? Just the scent of leaves, perhaps, a scent that goes with the changing of the seasons. Yes, it's a cliché that's as old as, well, the seasons themselves, perhaps, but it's a true one. That scent...it's hard to believe that it's September 20th already, and that, as of tomorrow, fall will be "official." Somehow it feels like I haven't yet "taken ownership" of my place here. I can't even speak of there being "my" place yet, because no one place, social or locational, truly belongs to me yet. Perhaps it's because I don't "own" anyone, per se, on campus yet. (Always with the "yet"—what am I waiting for? But perhaps it's not so simple, even, as waiting for something—although I get the feeling that something, anything, some undefined event must happen before I can open myself up to this place, give myself to a location again like I did in high school.) There is no one's time that I can tug upon, no one's will that I can bend, however so slightly, to pull that person to my dimension, and that seems to bespeak a lack of importance here. It makes me think of the way people stare off into space while eating dinner with me... But perhaps the problem is one of being stuck between mental states, really, or, if not stuck, refusing to take a position which I don't truly believe is necessary to take: I don't want to be like everyone else, playing up a false sophistication just because—what?—3 months have passed since I left high school? Consciousness is a process, the neuroscientists will tell you, and it doesn't have definite divisions.
The Above Idea Continued
It's so maudlin, the false sympathies, the sentiment that each person on a freshman floor professes to feel for all the others, regardless of age, sex, creed, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, &c. Why don't people just come out with their biases right now? Oh, yes, but then they would say, No, I don't have biases, you must be biased yourself, accusing me of such treachery. "Bitch!" they'd say, snorting with disgust at my bluntness as they'd walk down the stairs, recounting random episodes from their daily lives, glorifying in something, I'm not sure what it is that they seem to revel in, but it can't be anything true, for I'm defender of that—yes, how lofty of me, to speak in such terms, but what I mean is that their drinking can't be considered lofty, their ambitions are mediocre at best or, if not, they are destined for failure, for who can be said to have truly succeeded in all aspects of life? Although this brings into question my own ambitions or lack thereof—I have an ambition to succeed in an as-yet-unknown field, doing something...it's all rather vague...and yet I also have hope to sustain some sort of lasting partnership with a member of the opposite sex someday, a pursuit which will most likely be at cross-purposes to the rest of my goals... It's all so confusing, and it's all a big digression from the here and now—which is what I always do, as of late, when confronted with the reality of my life here—I withdraw to idle speculations on the future of all of this, which, although definitely necessary, (planning is always necessary, the putting-together of puzzle pieces in advance is key, one must look at the picture on the box sometimes to know where to go, what to do...) is still just that, another step back, a way of putting it all aside... But who knows.
This floor I live on is like the pop-culture-meets-community-service-people floor...it's weird... They all play guitar, or some other rock 'n' roll kind of instrument, and my dorm is the "Leadership and Service" dorm...specifically catering to all of the fake, insincere people who put "Community Service" down as one of their interests on the application because they think it'll cover up the fact that they're really drunks... It's as if everyone here is an MTV Real World wannabe... Look how hip we are, living in the midst of Forest Park, St. Louis, MO. After all, if Cara (a university graduate) could get on the Real World, they seem to think, well, hey, there's a whole world of fake reality TV shows out there for drunkards...uh, I mean, wonderful beautiful people...like us...
But, see, I scare myself with all this depression—again, not because I'm stupid and want to kill myself, but because I just can't deal with things or people or deadlines, and I don't want to be one of those stupid casualties, the kids that fall by the roadside that girls here pity and say, Oh, I really feel sad for so-and-so, she went home for good...
Not to mention that I could ruin the possibility of having that kind of future I want if I just become a college drop-out...I don't know what my problem is...although I know other people are having the same problems I am yet somehow miraculously getting past them...
Ah, reminds me of this really satirical cartoon in Guitar World magazine one time: "Productive?" the guitar guy says, leaning haphazardly over the other guy. "Ants are productive." Then, proffering some pills, he slurs, "You wanna be an ant? These'll get you there..."
About The Isolation Theory
You simultaneously want to be taken care of and be in charge...there's a dichotomy...the isolation theory says that you want to be better, and you know you're the only one who can do it right, so you take it upon yourself and keep everyone away, because even if you want them there they'll screw it up and you don't want that. They don't understand you anyway. Then there are new people, and you do the same thing with them, you still want to be taken care of and be the best. This is normal—if you're human, you've gotta have something, neh? But you want to have it all, you want to do it all yourself, and this is the fundamental problem we're facing here. Socialization vs. propriety vs. getting work done... To be the best, you have to have other people agree that you are, so you need the other people, you lean on the other people, but is that the same kind of leaning you do when you're leaning on someone for utter helpless lifeline type support?
The older people we know had to move on, had to change, but when they didn't come back and take care of us it kinda did seem like a betrayal... When they came back they hung out with people they'd formerly despised, and then we got the notion that, hey, wow, they've become jerks, they've lost their sense of judgment, and they don't take care of me anymore. They don't say, Aw, you're wonderful, cute, talented, they just go hang out with [name omitted to protect the innocent] or something, because they don't know any better.
"Where can one find you?" the question asked. Well, this is me; you have just found me, captured on paper. Here I am, a collection of statistics, a distillation of test scores, number 00748 in a continuing series; a variation on a theme. I have been a part of x, y, z, and nearly 23 other letters besides. Sometimes it seems as though that is all one might ever need to know about me, as long as I appear to subscribe to the standard modes of reasonably intelligent thought. Appearance is all, as some would say. Thus, you find me here, in the rank and file of numbers and percentiles.
"Wait!" cried another question, just as I appeared to be getting ready to leave. I could not help but grimace with irritation at being stopped, and the question meekly addressed me. "Miss," said the question, "that cannot be all. Where do you find yourself?" I would not even deign to answer such a question that day, but my mind kept returning to it in idle moments. It taunted me with its complex simplicity.
A simple answer to such a question cannot exist. Where I find myself—I am in so many places. Usually, I find myself in the wee hours or in stolen moments on weekends. I find myself strolling between raindrops and between the lines of the 70+ novels I read in the last year; I see myself in every folded-over page corner, where I have partially destroyed a book in my haste to mark the presence of an irresistible idea between its covers. Often I find myself on the judo mat just after being thrown, adrenaline and endorphins flowing despite the fact that my face has just been crunched into the canvas. I leave a little bit of myself in the wrinkled mat; a bit of the tension and excitement of my judo match gets caught in its fibers, waits there for the next two participants.
I see a reflection of myself in the serifs that adorn the letters on this page. I could not help but smile when my own voice came through in my scientific research paper on mutant lab rats that I wrote at Saint Louis University; I revel in the sense of self that comes from such recognition. I have been trying to find myself a new philosophy; in my research this past summer I learned to solder tiny screws to use as electrodes, but now I must learn to solder gossamer ideas together with tiny filaments of silver thought. I would like to continue to collect such silver filaments at the university. My interests mainly lie in philosophy and psychology; thus, I find the idea of the university's interdisciplinary major, Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology, almost irresistible. I would one day like to complete original research in the area of cognitive psychology—as of yet, no one has completely demystified the mystery of consciousness, with many of the brain's quirks relatively unknown. I am confident that I will never completely find myself, nor the causes that underlie consciousness, leaving many filaments unconnected; but the interest lies in the search, not the consummation. In this way, I will forever be occupied, forever searching.