Man, I love school.
Okay, okay, it’s only the first day. Nothing due… yet. No papers to write (this week), no projects to finish, no tests to take, no assignments to read. Well, okay, I do have reading assignments to complete by Friday, but no sweat! After all, isn’t that what school is all about? Reading cool stuff under the direction of someone older, smarter, and wiser? Every class is a directed study. Or should be.
And then, of course, there’s seeing everyone again. “Hey! How ya doin’?” “What’s up?” “Have a good Christmas?” Each semester is a time to start over, another chance. The first day of class is a prime time to say hello to everyone you might ignore out of familiarity later on. I say I can live without people. I say I could walk away. And I do. But, I forget how great it is to see them again.
“Do you know anyone who’s majored in General Studies?” asked a girl named Robyn, as I sat in the hallway, feverishly filling out my class registration forms. We got into a discussion about majoring in undecided before moving into the classroom. Paul came in too late to get a seat front and center (where I was sitting). “Hello,” he said. Someone greeted him with a “good morning.” He responded with something questioning the goodness of it. “Every morning is a good morning,” I insisted, “It just goes downhill from there.” He blinked in response. Too early for a good comeback, I suppose.
It should be a good class. There’s a bunch of fresh meat in there. Almost everyone was bunched around the front and center of the room. Dr. Schaefer asked how many presidents we’ve had. “Forty-two I answered. Each day he said he’d start out by telling us weird facts about a president. Today, was George Washington, who died while taking his own pulse. (Can you imagine it? “Uh, Martha, I don’t feel anything…”)
Paul and Marie and I stayed afterward and chatted while Dr. Schaefer listened to Wyatt and signed my schedule. When Marie mentioned taking the GRE test for literature, Schaefer said, “Dr. Garner has a bunch of anthologies she’s getting rid of. Would that help?” Paul and I perked up, “Free books?” We all followed Schaefer down the hall to the offices and ran into Dr. Allums, cornered him into Dr. Garner’s old office and made him talk about this literary club/directed studies thing. We invited Schaefer to join us and then snagged Mashburn on his way to class. The triumvirate all together. It was a wonderful sight. We agreed to meet on Wednesdays, starting at 3:30 till whenever. Allums said a couple of other people were interested in a directed study, so we might end up with quite a crew. Allums offered Moby Dick and Go Down Moses by Faulkner as his selections for reading in this “American Myth” course. Schaefer put out d’Toqueville’s Democracy in America, and Mashburn had to get to class. I’m very excited about the whole thing.
Leaving Paul, I went to stand in line at the business office to register for classes. Suddenly, something slammed into my left shoulder. I turned and saw Jeremy, uncut hair slicked back, a Van Dyke framing his grin, with his fists in front of him. “You wanna fight? Come on!” I rolled my eyes, slid my book bag off onto the floor, widened my stance, and lifted my fists. “I’m here to pick up my records,” he said, throwing a punch I blocked with my right arm as we circled in the crowded hall of people, “I’m not coming back.” “So I’ll never see you again.” “That’s right.” “What are you going to do?” I asked, testing him with my right fist. “Working in Atlanta,” he said, trying to slid a punch under my block, “Financial consultant. And my mom knows a couple of people in TV/movies production, so maybe I can go somewhere with an acting career… We better stop,” he straightened up, laughing, “There are too many pedestrians.” I wrote down our phone number and my dad’s work number for him while every other girl who walked past paused to screech and hug him. “I can’t remember the 800 number,” I apologized. “See! See, that’s one advantage I have over you,” he exulted, “_I_ can memorize numbers!” We stood in line, him to get his records, me to register.
I headed over to the bookstore and, miraculously, found all the ones I needed. As the lady at the checkout copied down the titles onto my bookstore charge, she observed, “Taking a lot of interesting classes.” “I hope so.” Carrying the plastic bag, nearly bursting at the seams, I met up with Karen and Elizabeth, who were on their way to Russian Literature and Culture, taught by everyone’s favorite Russian, Dr. K. Karen was evidently overjoyed to see me because she gave me a hug. We looked out onto the quad from our vantage point on the third floor of Weaver, admiring the green smiley face on the grass. “It’s spreading,” said Karen, indicating the green smudge around the mouth. “No,” I corrected, “They must have sown some more seed. See how the older grass is taller?” We returned to the room, my two companions talking non-stop until our professor came in. “Aren’t you going to write something up on the board?” asked Karen. I guess I achieved a reputation for pre-class graffiti last semester, so I found something suitable about death in the book of short works by Tolstoy and scratched it into the board. I decided the room was too cramped and boycotted the front row. No one dared to scab. This is my first class with Dr. K. that has been mostly English students instead of Political Science freaks. I kept drifting off into daydreams if I watched her talk, so I spent most of the class intently listening about patronymic names while sketching a mutant tulip on the back of the syllabus.
Karen and I went to the bookstore, where I showed her the hermaneutic stack and we harassed one of the track jocks, who ended up in God and Suffering last semester. Then, since I had parked way out by the office trailers where she works, I walked back over there with her to come home.
I had to pick up my plaster sculpture “Thing” from the special events office today, after it had been in the New Year’s Eve juried student art show. I realized when I went to the show with Denise just how selective the jury had been.
Tonight, I was positively hyper at supper. Makes up for being in the depths of depression yesterday, eh?