This is one of my many posts written on a train. We’re somewhere between Aberdeen (got something to prove? Oh ahahaha, I slay me) and Wilmington and I feel like I should write this now and fall asleep at a decent hour in preparation to have to start going to bed and getting up 4 hours earlier (the rest of the world isn’t on DST yet, luckily). I am quite sure that my dinner of donuts and sweet tea will help me achieve this goal.
Anyway! It was another lovely day in paradise, albeit a bit weird and disconcerting as my alma mater continues to change and add things so as to completely destroy the alumni experience. At one point, North and I stumbled on an entirely new quad and set of buildings, all exactly in the style of the old buildings. It felt like those dreams you have where you are looking for something in the back of your closet and suddenly find a trap door with an entire other apartment on the other side. We had to sit down several times.
There are so many new and great things every time I come to campus that it begins to rankle you, how different your experience might have been with zipcar stands, free shuttles everywhere, new housing, new shops, a coffee bar in every building, a complete building devoted to Jewish life, an archeological museum, etc. My friends, these are not happy thoughts.
My happy thought, instead, is this: it is better to be older and wiser. It just is. You get to reframe your previous experiences and are better able to handle the difficult new ones.
The title of this post comes from a construction worker who asked us this just a few moments after we got on campus. It was next to the building that Jesse Eisenberg walked out of in The Social Network because it was supposed to look like it could be Harvard. I also took several classes there. One was a sociology class with North where I wrote fiction throughout each session and North would read it, hot off the presses. One was a history class with College Boyfriend after we had broken up where I was thus hugely conscious of his presence every moment. One was an Adult Ed class on office software where I learned WordPerfect, Lotus123, and dBase, all for DOS.
I suppose we looked lost. We were walking slowly and dazedly. We looked confused and perhaps nauseous. We were older than the students and anyway, it is Spring Break so there weren’t any. But the question stunned me. I said, without the slightest hesitation, “no, not at all.” But you know, I was back then. The good news is, when you gain age and life perspective, you can find yourself.
Ladies and gentlemen, Wilmington, Delaware will be next. Please check around you for your belongings and personal items. Wilmington. Wilmington, Delaware.