I had occasion, on Wednesday, to meet with some other “mature” students at the mature social – well, it wasn’t so much a social as a PowerPoint with a few laughs – and I must say, much to my surprise and chagrin, that I was a little disappointed. With one exception, which I’ll get to in a moment, no one talked to each other. Sixty people in the room, and no one seemed to want to enjoy themselves; everyone seemed miserable, jaded, life-worn – as if the whole thing was a chore. Hey, maybe it was, I guess I’ll never know.
In making this assessment, of course, I am coloured by all the enthusiasm and energy the kids had brought to the earlier festivities – you know, chanting, cheering, and spinning, darn them: compared to that, this was a dirge. Of course, if I had skipped all that frosh stuff and just shown up for the mature thingy I might have been really pooped out by its energy level, though I doubt it.
The exception was one kindred soul – Tanya – my dear, I’m sorry but I don’t know your last name – who is the only other adult I actually *saw* at any time throughout the frosh ceremonies: we were in the same Arts group touring the Communications department.
Ah yes, I remember it well. A little more human bingo was organized (I now know this to be a getting-acquainted exercise) and in the course of this my brakes failed and I ran in to Tanya. Of course, I realized instantly that she was “mature” like me, and as if in cosmic harmony we launched immediately into the ancient tribal rites of “hey!”, and “up high!” and “down low!” It was incredible, but we just knew – viscerally – far beyond the number of rings in the trunk – that we were making a connection based on perspective and equality. She did not look “old” by any means, and I know I look like an 18 year old, albeit one who has let himself go for the last 28 years, but the point is we just knew.
I’ve been busy outside of orientation this week too, as you know. I’m volunteering for the campus paper and have already made ink with the grammar thing; when it’s online I’ll post a link. I’ve also worked with the sports editor to interview key members of the women’s field hockey team and have already written that up: it should be in the next issue. That’s a first for me, but I’ve promised to do it again, and soon. I find myself constantly thinking of ways to help them, and so help myself.
While there, I sat in the editors’ social area marveling at how natural it felt to be there, in that environment. I found it ironic that I chose not to pursue a journalism career out of York because I didn’t have the confidence to stick a microphone in someone’s face and drag information out of them, yet I somehow managed to carve a 20 year career as an insurance adjuster, sticking a microphone in someone’s face and dragging information out of them. What was it, the money? Hardly. That was when I realized that my favorite movie of all time is “The Paper”, 1994, with Michael Keaton, Glenn Close and Robert Duvall. You see, that’s my milieu: a busy place, passionate, energetic, friendly, devoted to words and the interminable effort to make them right, to make them do what you want them to – not approximately, not lazily, but with easy energy and positive anxiety. Eustress, not distress – the positive angst of wanting to be a part of things when they happen, of wanting to be a part of making them happen, and of making something tangible every day and wanting to be amongst like-minded people a the time.
Anyway, that’s just great, but back to reality and now that frosh week is all said and done, now that the courses are chosen, the books are bought and the bag is packed, and a large number of my questions are answered, I can finally get on with the business of learning.
That starts on Monday, and I can hardly wait.