Sunday, January 16, 2005Hello, Vermont
Whoooooo... yeah, okay, sure. Vermont. Marlboro. Hi, howya doin'?
Yes, I feel considerably better today, thanks for asking. Still a little woozy, a bit weak, had a rough couple of nights and I am admittedly a bit more disoriented than I might normally be... but then again, this is such a strange experience, maybe I only think I'd be less disoriented. I'll spare you the gruesome details of my misadventure with the fish, but suffice to say I haven't been that ill since I had a run-in with an egg-and-bacon croissant purchased from a sandwich shop at the Leicester Square tube station a few days before my 24th birthday. The upshot is that I'm a little behind in my unpacking, and doubly so since, when I arrived yesterday, the previous occupants of my room had not yet removed their belongings. Fortunately, sick as I was, even a bare mattress on the floor of an empty dorm room felt as welcoming as mother's arms; I was in no condition to be picky.
Nothing has changed here. Nothing. And yet, everything has changed. I took a drive through Brattleboro yesterday, and was astonished to find that everything was essentially just as I'd left it, with only a few positive-looking additions on the main drag. Mocha Joe's is still there (there are even two of them now), Brown and Roberts Hardware is still there, Sam's is still there (not the wholesale club), even the Save The Corporations From Themselves shop is still there. (I was sure that one couldn't last.) Rap City is gone, replaced by one of two bike shops, but Underground (admittedly having moved several times, and who knows how often since I was last here) is still there. Sarkis Market, sadly, seems to be gone. Oh well.
The campus is weirder still. At first glance it doesn't look much different -- a few new buildings, but no massive changes. I should've twigged how much things might've really changed from Marlboro North (my dorm)... massive remodeling has been done on the first floor. I, however, am living in one of the upstairs rooms, basically untouched in the intervening seven years. Randy, if you're reading this, I'm in your old room... nice to be put somewhere with some good memories.
Once on campus and wandering around a little, other subtle differences became apparent. A vague sense absence clicked into place when I realized the old maintenance building was gone; the dining hall is exactly the same, but better equipped. And then there's the library... apart from the addition of the science wing, it looks the same from the outside. Then I went in, and discovered that the maps in my memory are not even remotely relevant anymore. It's so clean, so spacious, so nice. I have no clue where anything is -- it took me ten minutes to find the new computer lab (though it's damn impressive), but they do forunately have handy maps at the enormous check-out counter.
I need information. I don't know how the college phone system works, I don't know how my internet connection works, I don't know anyone (although I've gotten a few looks of "do I recognize you?" from random staffers), but then again, I didn't really come back looking to make any close new friendships. I'm here to finish up old business, tie up loose ends, get a foothold someplace outside Memphis, and anything else that happens is just gravy. It would be nice to have someone to talk to, though.
Other random notes from the journey: Friday night (before the fish), lost in Schenectady, New York, I was startled to see a car with a DeSoto Co., Mississippi license plate driving in front of me. What are the chances?
The fish incident was especially unfortunate in that, already having an aloof attitude towards fish (I'm very picky about anything that comes out of the ocean), getting a bad bit of haddock really didn't encourage me to add more fish to my diet. Frankly, I don't think I'll be able to look at fish again for quite a while... I'm getting queasy just thinking about fish. Ugh.
Thanks to my beloved mother for her post; it's not half bad, maybe she should start a blog of her own. I will strongly encourage her to come visit before my time here is up, if for no other reason than for her to experience the way I feel being a lone liberal in blood-red DeSoto County. You can't walk twenty feet here without running across some anti-Bush slogan... ahh, my people. |