Isolation in the Midst of Three Thousand
So, after spending a good deal of time fairly alone, why not write about it? It's certainly more enjoyable than the lecture and distracts me from my desire to assault the guy behind me who is persistently and loudly clicking his pen.
I have spent the past week somewhat cut off from the enjoyable parts of social interaction, shunted instead into the stilted repertoire of responses at meet-and greets and with barely-acquaintances in class.
It began when I planned my schedule. I use 'planned' loosely. Let me avoid the details and focus on the scene: I never stopped moving during past the week. At the end of one lecture, meeting, presentation, or movie I moved on the next one. I bought stationery in West London, attended company discussions in
Rosebery was a transitory location at best; I left quickly and returned to work, sleep, or change before setting off again. With classes in the morning, meetings in the late afternoon, and presentations at night I was kept from the canteen and our happy little pub, let alone rest.
And it was good. I learned a hell of a lot. I learned a large amount about what I like and how that translates into what I want to do. Three or four people from Goldman and Citi insisted that I email them later. I now own decent writing paper after a semi-epic struggle to find bastions of an older era of communication in
Yet I have here been plunged into a charming strangeness. I am older, reliving the same life as I did from freshman year, but with enough differences to convince me that I live in some parallel existence, rather than true déjà vu. At times I am a man apart, a transitory figure here but for a year, a beast unknown to the freshmen and a throwback from earlier ages to the graduate students. The freshmen form cliques, to my bemusement, while the grad students charm and have fun before beating an inevitable retreat to the books.
This sounds far worse than it is, because I subordinate reality to writing, putting my experiences in the service of communication, which I slant to entertain and add color to illustrate, if overvividly, my sentiments and recollections.
It wasn't as bad as I describe, I swear, and I did spend time with my estimados compañeros. Monday was the night of an unexpected swell of Roseberians going out together just as I returned from the City. I stuck with the four I’ve dubbed my clubbing freshmen, since we inadvertently and always meet whenever going for a night on the town and at no other time, it seems. One of them drove this point home, calling me a vampire until she later saw me in the sober light of day.
Another, more levelheaded group of freshmen went to see Jeff Sachs speak at
In the department of unexpected meetings, a kitchen run to check on chicken became a very long conversation with one of my floormates, skillet in hand the entire time as we chatted on subjects from Devil Wears Prada to planning a trip to Istanbul. And the chicken was delicious, thank you very much.