The clock had just struck midnight, and a young man stood up front. He was dressed like me at home on a Sunday morning: comfy shorts, unfussy hair, white print tee with a logo from long ago.
We forget that college students, especially freshman, may not have much experience talking to strangers. They may be coming from towns smaller than this one, or have only interacted with adults in easy, predetermined modes, like teachers and parents. If you haven't worked a summer job (especially a customer service gig), entering college can be bewildering, like high school without the training wheels. Let's not take them to task for their adorable awkwardness or staggering lack of street smarts; I want to be welcoming to them out here in the world. How else will they grow to feel comfortable?
I amiably engaged him, and he amiably responded.
"Are you going to Broadway?" I asked.
"Naw, I'm going down by Schmitz hall."
"Oh just right there, perfect!"
"Yeah, I'm going to Odes, time to study."
"Tight. Man, I've spent so many hours in there, up all night getting ready for finals, up editing something,"
"Gotta do watcha gotta do, you know,"
"Yeah," he said. "I mean you could kick it with your friends for a while, but only for so long."
He was unwittingly elucidating a point from Tom Wolfe's I am Charlotte Simmons. I furthered it: "Yeah, that's the thing, everybody likes to talk about how they go party, they go out, but what all of them are also doing, is hitting the books. They don't say they're doing it, but they are. 'Cause that's the only way to get anywhere!"
"Exactly, it's the only way!"
"You just gotta do it. No one says they do it, but you better believe they do it."
"Yeah somebody told me there's three things. Social life, good grades, and personal needs. And you gotta sacrifice two, or, you gotta sacrifice one in order,"
"You can only have two?"
"Yeah, you can only have two at a time."
"You know, that's so true, because even now, after school, I have to choose between either time with friends, or time alone. I can never have both."
"Yeah! God bless!"
And with that, he was bounding off toward Odergaard Research to get it done. My circumstances these days are similar; you know from recent posts I'm currently in a "Hermit Mode" of sorts, trying to establish headway on a few major art projects. The social life, blog, and personal needs are taking a temporary back seat as I plow ahead on film work, blog book, and advanced Korean study. I like his rule; maybe mine is that I can only have three things in my life simultaneously, not six. I look forward to a time in the near future when I can return to more regularly sharing the world of the road and all its revealing, delicate, sharp-edged beauty with you.
For now, check in soon for a humorous breakdown of what I've been focusing on (or to use the more accurate term, pulling my hair out–) of late! Stay tuned!