Thursday, February 18, 2010

Waxing Nostalgic

I really miss dorm life.

Ok, no, I do not miss teeny twin beds covered in plastic or living in 9 square feet or sharing my bathroom w/ another 9 girls and 10 boys (showering was interesting to say the least, what with drafts and people taller than 5' 11" seeing over dividers), but I miss living in that community.  No, I do not want to live in a hippie commune, or any other such weird-ass place. I don't even want to live in the suburbs. I actually want to live in Italy where I can only see neighbors in the distance past a vineyard and some cypress trees... but that's a different dream.
   My fantasy when I was graduating from college was that all my friends and I who were already planning to move to NYC, would all move within 5 square blocks of one another, if not the same building, so we could all get together all the time with minimal effort. Possibly still wearing pajamas like that last-ditch run to MoCon before they closed the doors for breakfast on weekends. My dream kind of came true, in the sense that about half a dozen of my friends all lived within 3 blocks of each other in Brooklyn when we all graduated. Unfortunately, I was living in a lovely Gramercy neighborhood in Manhattan that was nowhere near my friends.  (I know, another tiny violin...)
   As time passed, my friends married or upgraded their homes and so moved around a bit, but they are all still basically within 3 subway stops of each other in Brooklyn. I however, married and moved farther away. We could technically have stayed in the same apartment, except the rent became too high. So we moved to the west side, uptown, for the express trains to the Bronx for Mike's teaching job. And I no longer had the excuse of "I'm right off Union Square!" to entice my friends to visit. Even having cable wasn't enough to draw a crowd very often (tho I did host a viewing of the finale of Sex & the City which was widely attended...  tho I saw the movie alone on cable. Full circle I guess.)
  Basically I just really miss having friends close by. Now everyone has day jobs (like ya do) and you can't pop by at 11:30 for a study break, or call because you're watching a silly BBC show and you wanted to share with a friend because it makes you happy and want to connect, because people have to get up and can't skip their 8AM Art History class anymore. Now everything is scheduling and trains and "I have a meeting" or whatever grown-up crap constantly gets in the way. And frankly it sucks.
   I often wish I were back in college, but only if I were 19 again. Because I am well aware that I could not pull it off now. Not just the fact that I'd be the random 30-year-old (albeit one who can pass for 25 without too much trouble) at the house party on Fountain. I also know I can't pull all-nighters anymore, and writing 3 term papers in 2 days is just no longer in the cards for me. But I miss the oblivious happiness. Sure, lots of bad shit went down while I was in college, but even major illnesses and funerals couldn't cloud my general happiness of where I was and what I was doing. Hell I didn't even really notice that I'd put on 20lbs since I arrived Freshman year. I was just happy. And there is a part of me that pines for that easy joy. And really that easy connection with people. I was in the same boat as 3,000 other people, and really we could start a conversation at any time about any thing. Now things are much more complicated, and everyone is moving in their own directions. And I no longer live down the hall, or within a mile, or within five miles of anyone I know. And it sucks.
  I never really had any negative feelings toward Brooklyn except that it remains far away. And the only thing I worry about is transportation. My local line is CONSTANTLY under construction, especially on weekends, and so we are always trying to get home from random stops. When I go to see a friend off the F train, I invariably end up doubling back via the G to what should be an F stop because of rerouting and I just panic I'm going to make the wrong connection. Otherwise it's just the 2 running local and the added 40 minutes to the ride.
  But somehow living where I do has separated me from the everyday with the people I know. I'm the alien living somewhere else, so I'm not convenient for impromptu hangouts or bad-tv watching that also serves as bonding hangout time. I may as well live in NJ for how far I am (but thankfully I am not that freaking far, as those trains cost more and cut off at 1AM. Lame.)
  So, I miss Hewitt 8 Well-Being-Accidental Placement and making huge ∆K∑  football brothers nervous about peeing just because there was a girl around (Nico!). And hanging out on the all-boys hall of Hewitt 10 building human pyramids and learning from Bill Cosby to "Tell 'em, tell 'em No."And I miss annoyingly loud Bruce being blared by a roommate in A1 Steak-sauce and sharing a kitchen w/ 9 other people. I do not miss rooming with inconsiderate models who let doors slam between their inner room and mine in WestCo when I'm sleeping... but I miss living within a few square miles of 3,000 people I mostly know or recognize. It was a great feeling. It was a great time in my life.

   Instead I sit in my lovely faraway home and think and write, but mostly think, and wonder what I would change about the direction my life took. And the answer is that I really wouldn't change much of anything. But that doesn't change the fact that sometimes you want to be able to just say "hi" without setting it up days in advance.

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