ramble: a stream-of-consciousness

Thursday, February 12, 1998

There is a particular horizontal row of tiles in the bathroom at about belly-button level that stand out against the white walls. They're small, about the size of scrabble letter tiles. I like them because they are copper colored, sparkling with penny-tone glitter. That bathroom is nice because it doesn't have stalls -- it's just one room, where you can look in the mirror without other people there to see you, and you can fart without others there to hear you. Last spring, during a class break I opened the door to that bathroom and accidentally stepped in to find someone sitting on the toilet with a surprised look of embarrassment on her face; the door's lock was broken.

Every Thursday I get depressed. Every week builds up to Wednesday afternoon for my Modern Comp. Lit. seminar. Everything just comes crashing down on me the next day when the pace suddenly stops, my adrenaline worn off and my work pressure at a low. Then I see what I've been sweeping to the backburner at increasing levels all week when my time was devoted to reading Dostoevsky, Freud, Nietzsche, Kafka and others. Everything feels chaotic on Thursdays as my mind refocuses to the reality around me. I feel lost. I can't find me. Where did I go? I'll watch my behavior in daily interactions, and I feel like I'm passively sitting in the back of a bus observing the people a couple rows in front of me. The words that come out of my mouth are formed from habit. Why do they ask me how I am doing if my answer has to be summarized into a millisecond soundbyte?


Today when I was walking to my multi-media sculpture class, I caught a whiff of an enticing breeze. I couldn't pinpoint what it reminded me of, but I liked it. The air felt clean and almost warm, fluttering the wet leaves that stuck to the ground. I stopped in my tracks, standing outside the door into Beardsley; I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. For a second I forgot where I was. I smelled a change of seasons, though it didn't necessarily seem like a transition from winter to spring. Fall's personality somehow got mixed into the flow of air that traveled up my nostrils. It felt good to just stand there with my eyes closed, using my other senses to process what surrounded me. In Intro to Psychology a couple semesters ago, we learned about the stages of sensory development in human babies; at a certain point, little infants can think that as soon as they close their eyes, the things around them no longer exist. That's how I felt today, standing there on the campus path with my eyes closed. I could pretend like nothing was tangible anymore. Only the smell of the transitory wet air.

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