Home at Last

I’m home!

I took my second midterm yesterday morning, ran two miles, worked for one hour, stopped to pose in UMM’s MN United photo (with about twenty other people), and then hit the road, with my friend Gretchen at the wheel.

It was a long 3.5 hour drive back to the cities, deliciously punctuated by a trip to the Chipotle in St. Cloud.  There, we ran into three friends from Morris!  I tell you, Chipotle’s draw is strong.

I slept for almost twelve hours last night, and woke up this morning feeling more like myself than I’ve felt all week.

Today has largely been spent reading trashy celebrity magazines, pilfering Sunday crossword puzzles from the newspaper bin, and watching copious amounts of Gilmore Girls.

We had steak for dinner, and now I’m diving into my Senior Seminar research for about an hour before mom and I head to the gym for some running.

It’s been two whole months since I’ve been outside the Morris town limits, which is hard to believe.  I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to not recognize professors in the grocery store, or to wake up to quiet (as opposed to muffled Frank Ocean).

Happy Weekend!

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Mi Sofa Es Tu Sofa

My gentleman caller and I were hanging out last night, and when it reached 11:30 and no more Virginia Woolf could be absorbed, nor more Latin American history terms memorized, I walked him downstairs to the front door.  The living room was pitch black, and so I was naturally startled when a voice emerged from the darkness: “Hello?”

“Uh, hello?” I said, gripping my cell phone, and hoping the screen wouldn’t crack if I used it as a bludgeon.

“Is Joey asleep?” The voice spoke again.

Whew, so he wasn’t after me.  I wondered how proficient Joey was with a cellular bludgeon.

“Yes, I think so.  I’m sorry, who are you?”

My eyes adjusted, and I could make out a figure laying on the couch.

“I’m Josh.  From Minnesotans United for All Families.  Joey said it was okay that I stayed over, but the house was dark when I got here, and it looked like everyone was asleep, so I just made myself comfortable.  I hope that’s okay.”

“Oh, of course it is.  Sorry, I didn’t know we were expecting anyone, but of course it’s perfectly fine.  Make yourself at home.”

Then I said goodnight and awkwardly retreated upstairs, shaking my head.  Only at Bag End do twenty-something-year-old politically-active visitors show up in the middle of the night to crash on our couch.

In other news, one five-hour copy editing session, two Social Science Office work shifts, two midterms, one two-mile run, and a 3.5 hour car ride are all that separate me from Fall Break.

I can do this.

First Snow

First snow tonight.  We were walking home, admiring the purple rim of clouds that clutched the treeline, when suddenly there were white flashes in the palisade of street lights surrounding the police station.

My sleeve was dotted dark, and although we couldn’t see them, faint pellets hit our foreheads, stinging and colder than the air.

It reminded me of freshman year, when we watched Underworld in the Cow Palace, and went outside halfway through to find an inch of snow on the ground and fat flakes falling.  Of that night, the only written record I have is a small journal entry: “October 9th and it’s snowing in Morris.  I love it here.”  Still, I remember how amazed we were, how even Evan was in disbelief, how quiet the campus was, how lovely with white draped over roofs and tumbling softly down gutters to the sidewalks.

But I’m inside currently, having dragged myself away from such sentimentality for the research that has been tugging at me for some time now.

There was an open mic night going on downstairs; I had to open the door carefully when I came in, for Joey was crouched on a chair reading from a book I’ve never heard of, and a dozen of my friends listened with cocked heads and clutched guitars or sheets of poetry or warm beers.

The party went out a few minutes ago, though.  They’re going to a house called The Bakery, which is self-explanatory, I think.  Before they left, someone shouted up to me:

“Bye Holly, I love you!”

“Bye Zak, I love you too!” I returned.

And then the door shut and the house inhaled and I turned back to my work.

Bring President Obama to Morris

My darling little sister, who goes to school at the University of Wisconsin Madison, got to see President Obama speak today.

As in, after the debates last night, he and his suited minions boarded a plane and flew to Wisconsin so that my sister could wait in line for eight hours and then stand mere feet from him as he delivered a speech.

As in, love you Amy, but you weren’t the one who voted for him in 2008 (I’m disregarding the fact that you were at the time fifteen).

Why doesn’t Obama come to Morris?

Probably because it’s in the middle of Nowhere Western Minnesota, and because we have 1800 students, as opposed to 43,000.

But that’s just my guess.

Scenes

One year ago

Tonight

Funny, but both scenes look equally beautiful to me.

Scenes from today:

1. In which I wake up at 5 am with the worst shin splint of my life.  I say “splint” because it was only in my left leg.  Apparently, I run cockeyed.  Or cocklegged?  After whimpering in pain for a few minutes (not my finest hour), I braved the cold hardwood to snatch a bottle of ibuprofen from my purse.  I read The Faerie Queen by flashlight while I waited for the sweet relief to kick in.

2. In which I leave my iPhone at home, and am unable to retrieve it until 8 pm.  I’m embarrassed to tell you that it felt like I had left a finger at home.

3.  In which I learn what it feels like to truly mess up as a student government.  And what it feels like to look around the room and to see the same terrified look on everyone’s face.  And what it feels like to have to take a deep breath and vote “aye” once again, because there’s simply no other option.

4.  In which I decide that breastfeeding in public is gross.  I was taking the minutes at a division meeting, grumbling to myself over the sad fact that professors simply think themselves to be above Robert’s Rules, when suddenly the professor at the next table, who had been holding her five-month-old on her lap for the past half hour, stooped to grab a large scarf from her bag.  Before I could avert my still-scarred-from-too-much-TLC-in-high-school eyes, she draped the scarf around her shoulders and over the baby, and began the feeding as if there weren’t fifty other people in the room.  Gross.  I realize that it’s not fair that you should have to be a pariah just because you have an infant, but still.  Gross.

Last Day of Twenty-One

It’s a glorious day to be twenty-one.  Winds are high, the air is sharp with cool, and Friday seems to have shaken itself out over campus, draping everyone in bright cheeks and worn-in jeans.

Tonight will contain the last few episodes of Game of Thrones (season one), perhaps striding the streets of Morris, grinning under flickering lamps, and pausing at the Met Lounge to see friends who have come into town for the weekend.

Tomorrow, unbelievably, I’ll be twenty-two by the time I wake up.  There is a promising pile of packages sitting by my bed; I will attack those first.  And then I’ll likely draw up my knees and think about the enormity of being twenty-two.  It’ll feel enormous, I suppose, because I remember being eight, and fourteen, and (heaven forbid) sixteen.  I remember all those years and yet somehow now they’re all lodged inside me like little bundles I only draw out for nostalgia’s sake.  And I’ll be forced, beginning tomorrow, to trudge forward into the age that means the end of school, at least for a while.  That means leaving my friends and my professors and all the wonders of college.

After a few minutes, I expect I’ll shake my head and begin getting ready.  There’s a parade tomorrow morning.  It’s not in my honor, but I’m pretending it is; I’m marching in it in support of a local DFL candidate.  I don’t know said candidate, but I’ve been bribed with a free t-shirt.  That’s really all it takes to make me happy.

Tomorrow night is the enormous birthday gathering I’ve planned for myself.  It seems sort of vain to throw a party for oneself, but as I haven’t had a ‘friends’ party since I was eight, and as it’s my last chance to throw one with my UMM friends, I’m going for it.  I tried to think of a theme: something about the Beatles, perhaps, or something literary.  But then I decided that the important thing is to have all of my friends under one roof.  And to have a potluck so that said friends can eat and be merry.

Head for Shelter

Storms come up quickly on the prairie.

One minute you’re walking home from campus, chatting with a friend, and the next the wall of black that was in the distance seconds ago is looming overhead, bending trees and tossing hail the size of golf balls.

We ran, my friend and I, to the only refuge in sight: the liquor store.

Amidst the glinting bottles we waited, dripping onto the linoleum and ignoring the stare of the cashier.

He didn’t even ask to see our I.D.s.