Friday, September 16, 2011

Typical Midwest College Experience

Describe a typical day in college or university.

Okay.  First of all, that's not a question.  Just so we're clear.

I suppose that the Journal Jar is full of writing prompts, not questions.  Now I know.  Learn something everyday.

So how do we write about a typical day in a non-typical experience?  College was typical when I was procrastinating studying or doing my homework.  Or when I talked myself through the snooze bar abuse and finally decided that it would be better not to brave the weather and freeze my nosehairs and just stay in bed and let the good little students have their class without me.

It's not like I didn't care at all.  I tried to pass the classes.  But my priorities weren't there.  I wasn't into academics by then.  I was into social studies.  Cultural studies.  Mating rituals.

I wanted to belong, wanted to know who I was and how I was doing it.  I wanted to find my way, find myself.  I wanted to have fun, push envelopes, escape the drudgery.  I wanted to fall in love.

That would come much later.

But before it would happen for me, I would dabble in love, thinking that I was getting somewhere.  I would try a handful of relationships, but none would last more than a few weeks.  I was hung up on this perfect, romantic, fairy tale vision of what love was supposed to be.  And it ended a lot of relationships for me.  Because I felt that I loved the person, but I wasn't in love with them.  Or something like that.

Some of the typical things that I did while in college were things like... well... eat.  I had to eat.  I didn't always have money, so sometimes I would be out with friends and they would stop somewhere and everyone would get something to eat, but I couldn't bring myself to ask for a loan, and so I'd sit with them and watch them eat.  One time I chewed on the paper wrapper from a straw until it disintegrated and I swallowed it, the only nutrition that I got at that meal.  It's not like I was starving, but it sucked not being able to indulge with my friends.  And now that I think about it, it wasn't typical.  I usually had someway to partake in the fun.

I remember walking to class in the winter, with the wind freezing my cheekbones and making my eyes water as the cold singed everything that wasn't covered by coat, hat, or scarf.  My shoes crunched through the snow and slid around as I walked, as if walking in sand.  But I didn't dare go barefoot.  One pair of high-top sneakers lasted for a winter or so, but soon the wet melted snow seeped in through the soles and doused my socks with searing cold.  It was sad to see those shoes go-- they had been a good friend.  It was more appropriate that I should wear my "Big Momma Boots" anyway.  They could handle the weather, and even assist well in kicking through snowbanks.

There were typically warm days too, however, where I had trouble staying awake in class because it was just to warm to pay attention.  I remember taking off my shoes and placing my bare feet directly on the tile floor to experience the coolness in an attempt to keep me awake.  But some lectures were just laced with sleep agents.  It wasn't the student's fault.

My favorite textbook was from a Political Science class.  "Contemporary Readings in American Politics," aka "C.R.A.P."  Okay, so I loved the title of the book.  Never really read any of it.  But I still have it, so I could eventually pick it up.  No, really.

We spent a fair amount of time goofing around.  We played frisbee in the hallways of the dorms, nearly decapitating unsuspecting floormates coming out of their room.  We drank for the sport of it, then placed empty cardboard twelve-pack boxes on our heads and grabbed 2-liter plastic soda bottles and raced at each other through the hallways, a makeshift game of joust.  We played team quarters, speed quarters, anchorman... we placed our thumb on our foreheads when we burped and the last person to make the gesture was sentenced to drink.  These were typical things that made up my college experience.

It was typical to laugh.  I don't laugh anymore like we used to laugh, and I miss that.  We were freer then, to yuck it up about things so funny.  Life is so much more somber when you're older.  And that makes me sad.  But there's still some levity out there.  Just have to hunt for it.


Laura said...

Yes mike, I hope you hunt for the levity and laugh until your gut hurts, until tears roll down your face. It's still there, you just have to find it. Xoxo

Gerri said...

There is levity in many things, especially when you are sharing with friends. I so enjoy my Bunco group because we have those belly buster laughs!