Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Crowded on a Velvet Cushion

Summer closes, even though the hotness lasts until mid-October. Summer closes when I go back to school and stop worrying about fast food and sleeping in until the next summer I'm not in school, when I will have the time and stomach again for both.

I have been working in a basement on campus all summer, with lots of time but a poor sample group for people watching, and will be happy to have new streams of squirming pink freshmen to watch wiggle upstream past the library and the X building to reach devotional every Tuesday. I'll be happy to again be properly scarfed and folded into the middle of a crowd of anxious students, like a piece of chewy meat into the corner of a wonton.

I will not appreciate you new fishies for a few weeks, it's true, I will be pseudo-bitterly mumbling at your excited screams and overloaded backpacks jutting into my ribs at first, like a cranky man defending his porch (my ribs). I would like to assuage your dreams of a freshman year by playing the part of the grumpy old college senior, while at the same time confusing you by playing the part of a grumpy old college senior as a round-faced 21-year-old with floofy brown hair who is often mistaken for the younger of the two when she goes anywhere with her seventeen-year-old sister and who doesn't actually own a rumpled plaid shirt or pricey leather school bag. Grumble grumble.

For now, I'll enjoy sitting on my usual bench to pass very quiet lawn mower-moments before nine AM and very beautiful dusk moments at dusk, without people. I'll sit on that bench to enjoy the comparative silence of campus without anyone on it yet, when you can still hear singular laughter across a lawn and the bell tower tolling doesn't make you instinctively believe you have forgotten something. I'll do zig zags and the mashed potato across the sidewalk, just because I can. If I tried that in a week, I'd be mowed down so quick you could use me as fertilizer for the hundreds of pansies growing just inches away from where I would have fallen. I will twirl occasionally and admire the little threes and fours of people dotting the gray pavement with color that will eventually become marching bands, giant continent-sized moving things whose corners you certainly cannot cut when trying to pass, unless you want a carabinered Nalgene or thermos in the face.

I gather my books, I empty the gum crumbs from my satchel bag, and I wait for you, crowds. Your wardrobes, comments, and acts of kindness will make excellent brain food for the unbearable last eight minutes of any class and will inspire me, I'm sure, to stay in the library longer, to try a little harder to help people when I see you opening a door for me, and to stand a little taller, because that's what you freshman do--stand a little taller in the adversity and winds that whip you in the face when you get here. It's scary to be a freshman, and I commend you in advance. Thanks for making campus cozy.

And for now, I'll do my mashed potato.


Brittany said...

when i was 6ish, my family visited campus. i hadn't been there since my birth and my parents hadn't been there since law school. my mother cried then and i didn't think i'd ever feel that way about some school.

i feel that way. and this way--the way you described. its so weird to love this place and its coziness, isn't it?

Rebeccah Louise said...

Mmm, so well described! I keep picturing crowded campus and imagining how I will be both grumpy and secretly pleased towards the freshman coming.

Mindy Robins Sagers said...

I love reading your blog. You are such a good writer and so hilarious. Keep up the good entertainment. haha.

Rachel EM said...

"like a cranky man defending his porch" is SUCH a lovely visual. Mmm.