Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee
College is mostly an ink blotch to me. To be honest, most of my life looks like that when I try to remember it, but college in particular. I know I attended. I know I spent four years at Duke University studying – what was it again? I’ll be damned if I could pin down too many of the memories, though.
Today I talked to a Freshman at UNC. Our conversation was brief. He’s going to school for business. He was wearing a purple polo, the slick kind, for golf. He had his hair done like every college Freshman. He was asking me questions but kept interrupting the answers.
I get nervous around people like that. I start to wonder how many of the same boxes I used to tick. It puts me in a nostalgic mood. I start thinking about school and try picking apart what it meant to me. I see a neon streak of faces. Some friends, some acquaintances, no-one I still know. There’s one crisp memory of standing in line at a coffee shop that doesn’t exist anymore. The barista’s speaking Spanish, even though he’s a white American guy, and it’s the first time I realize that people are complicated.
I had some bad dreams last night. I’ll spare you the details, but in each of them was a bright room I couldn’t get out of. Nothing like being trapped with yourself. I worry sometimes that I’m two people. Or three, or… In all these inky dark spots, who’s hiding? I think about the me that comes out sometimes – needy, scared, possessive. I think about the dreams I didn’t follow, and wonder how long it’ll be until they cannibalize me.
You know, the old myth, twins in a stomach, twisting the cord.
I used to think I knew everything. Yeah, I know what that sounds like, and yes, I was that much of a prick. In particular, though, I thought I knew everything about ‘me.’ I had a memory that stretched back two dozen years, all of it annotated. I could pin-point what I was doing most days from elementary to my first job after school. Now, though, I’ve lost that memory. It’s been gone for a few years. What I once took as ‘fixed’ looks ‘wavy,’ ‘certain’ became ‘confused,’ cats and dogs, etc. Giving it all up, I got a lot more humble.
Tonight had me thinking about college. I like to see myself in the Bryan Center, a student commons, eating food, thinking about you. Only I never know who the ‘you’ is and when I look down, there’s nothing on my plate.
Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller
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You’re sure your new roommate won’t be like the last one who wore tinfoil socks and had a tendency to occasionally urinate in the refrigerator. You’re sure you’ll pass Math 106 this time around. You’re determined to actually join some clubs this year and not just sit around in your dorm eating spray cheese from a can and watching youtube videos about cats.Patrick Rothfuss