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peak:

My truck has a new alternator and four new tires. I'm glad that's out of the way.


valley:

I didn't spend my last full day in town with Jessie.


noise:

Silence. Though I've got SportsCenter muted on the TV.


sustenance:

Some high-quality H20.


thoughts:

Summer's over... and for the first time in a while, I'm not really wondering where it went. I've spent many a summer being a lazy ass. This wasn't one of them This was a good summer.


sorta 365:

(August 19, 2000) The future of my journal.


monday, august 20th

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Quote Du Jour:
"Freedom is that instant between when someone tells you to do something and when you decide how to respond." - (Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein)

This is my last real night of freedom.

Wednesday, what should be the last fall semester of my college career begins... But tomorrow, it will be time to move back into the dorms. Of course, living in the dorms isn't really squelching my freedom. It's the fact that for the first time since December 1999, it looks like I'll be stuck with a roommate.

I've lived in one dorm room or another during seven semesters of my college career and had roommates for the first four. But after dealing with conflicting schedules, conflicting social calendars, lack of alone time, being subjected to weird roommate sex, strange tastes in incense and language barriers, I decided that having a dorm room to myself had crossed the line from luxury to necessity.

I've spent Spring 2000, Fall 2000 and Spring 2001 with a pad all to myself. This was a wonderful experience. Perhaps its the wrong attitude, but I thoroughly enjoyed not having to worry about someone else. I was free to invite anyone over to my room at any time of the day or night without having to ask permission. No longer did I have to slip into the room when returning late at night nor did I have to get undressed and slip quietly into bed in the dark. If the inspiration to write hit me at four in the morning... I was free to turn on the lights and write. If the need to take a nap at three in the afternoon hit me... I was free to black out the place and snooze. Tomorrow, all of those freedoms will probably come to an end.

You see, my university is imploding. About six years ago, our student population approached 12,000. With the help of terrible management, student apathy and better universities nearby, our enrollment has slipped to below 9,000. My university is also becoming more and more of a commuter school... and the lack of warm bodies on campus is only making the overall enrollment problem worse. This spring, the school announced that they couldn't afford to keep all of our dorms open and decided to close our large, high-rise male dorm.

When I first arrived at State University at Oakdale, the high-rise dorm in question was the slum of the campus. The rooms were very small. The elevators were problematic. The residents enjoyed making lots and lots of noise. And folks residing on the upper floors often made a hobby out of hurling objects down to the parking lot or even urinating onto unwary pedestrians below. Of course, every freshman was required to live there (including me).

As soon as the semi-decent students (including me) had 30 hours under their belt, they hauled ass to other dorms leaving nothing but the thugs, hoodlums and really brave souls in the high-rise. (My university had open admissions which meant we let everyone in -- even thugs and hoodlums.) While moving into these other dorms, many people took the opportunity to get a private room, too. Afterall, the declining enrollment left plenty of rooms to fill.

The problem now is that with our ghetto high-rise closed... the males are being forced into the remaining three dorms on campus. My contacts in the residential life department tell me that the new freshman dorm has a waiting list of folks trying to get it (it's the best of the three choices on campus and is where I had been living). The other two are at capacity with no private rooms available. When I heard this news, I said aloud that not going back to school would be better than living with a roommate. I was joking... sort of.

I want to go back. I want to be with my friends. I want to get my degree. I want to move on from the hell hole that my university has become. But I really wish I could do it without a roommate.


Whew. I'm glad that's written. You don't know how long I've wanted to write that entry... or any entry really. For the last week, my brain has been overflowing with all sorts of thoughts... but I haven't been able to put them into any sort of order.

Tonight, the plan was to go to Jessie's apartment and spend the night with her. We could sit on the couch and talk... and then I'd try to convince her to go upstairs with me and massage my out-of-shape muscles that hurt from being forced to exercise. Maybe we'd lie in bed and I'd unload all of my frustration about everything to her... and even though she knew what I was I was going to say before I said it... she'd lie there and listen. 'Cause she's my best friend... and that's what she does for me. We'd fall asleep, I'd wake up and, "head off to Hell" -- I phrase I sometimes use to refer to going back to school.

But instead, I sat on my ass for a while. I spent some quality time in the 3WA chat room. I ate spaghetti for dinner and I took a nap. I could have slept all night, but I woke up shortly after 10 and got on the computer. I wanted to write this entry but couldn't. I poured a Coke, went to the other end of the house and sat at a big desk we have there with pen and pad. I wanted to write this entry but couldn't. Finally, around 1:15 a.m. (we've now moved onto Tuesday morning, I guess... but this is still going to be Monday's entry), I changed into some shorts and went to the track.

I do two miles there. The track is a quarter mile long and I've been walking the curves and running the straightaways. I'm too out of shape to run the entire track like I should and alternating between running a lap and walking a lap doesn't keep me moving enough. My back hurt. My legs hurt. In between mile #1 and mile #2, I laid down in the bleachers to stretch my back out. I looked up and, even though I was in town, I could see plenty of stars. I thought for a moment about not running but I got up and did another mile. Why I did that mile and why I hope to do many more miles will (hopefully) be my next entry.

When I returned home, I drank a glass of water and sat at the computer. I piddled through a few web sites and then... with my body mentally and physically purged... everything fell into place and, after six days, the words seemed to flow once again.

copyright © 2001-02, Thomas Fletcher. all rights reserved.