- Chantez et vous trouverez votre chanson -

Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.
     -George Bernard Shaw

It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves- in finding themselves.
      -Andre Gide

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fresh Air, Old Memories

Warning: This post may not hold any interest if you did not attend St. John's University.

Yesterday I needed fresh air, so I went for a long walk - the in 20 degree weather no less.  It felt good to be numbingly cold.

I wandered through my neighborhood and around the frozen pond down the street (where do the turtles go when the pond freezes over?), over to Jamaica Estates (Starbucks/Barnes & Noble stop), and then made the return trip.  I passed college friends' old apartments and remembered the fun we had in them and cut through St. John's campus and saw the changes and remembered the way it looked all those times I trudged through the snow to class.  It all seems so long ago already.  Specific moments flew back like a stream of consciousness. 

Walking past the house on 168th Place (the atrocity next door is finally built - complete in pink sandstone and adorned with large stars, ha), I remembered sitting helpless on the stoop one morning after I'd lost my cell phone and my dignity and needed to apologize, but couldn't wake anyone up to answer the door for me (What was I thinking?  What college kid would be up at 9:30am on a Saturday??).  And then the time I locked my keys in my car and we made a mad dash on the bike (complete with me on the pegs... hilarious in hindsight), whizzing past high school kids on 164th St. at 8 in the morning to find the spare keys in my apartment before alternate side parking came into effect at 8:30 (oh the guilt of making you race around with me to find them...I felt ridiculous standing on those pegs, and heavy, haha, you shouldn't stand on pegs past age 9).  At least we made it in time!

Now on Homelawn, I walked past another group of friends' house and thought of that awesome summer post-college, right after you guys moved in there and none of us realized life was going to change that much after we got degrees (kind of a bummer that it actually did).

As I approached campus, I remembered the moment I first set foot on campus (Is this what college is supposed to feel like?  Is this the right school for me?  Will I fit in...be homesick?). Oh and now the Great Lawn... ultimate frisbee on those sunny days and our ill-fated bake sale (that included some delicious melted chocolate pudding pie and lots of help from friends). Passing the church, I remembered when it was first built, and RCIA classes, and racing back every Tuesday/Thursday afterwards for lunch with everyone at Montgoris.  Remember when the St. Vincent Stairs didn't exist??  Now that was ridiculous (...cutting through 2 or 3 buildings just to get to the other side of campus... no sense).  Good ol' Montgoris - group dinners, morning-after brunches, stealing lunch trays for sled riding (and eating the same meal, the only one I could stomach, everyday... deli sandwich and cucumbers with ranch dressing).  Oh man, and then I saw Donovan Hall.  I looked up and saw all of our bedroom windows... the smoker's rock outside is gone now (God, I wish I was a freshman again).  Oh and that back fence that we'd hop to cut the corner on the way to Traditions... lots of cuts, ripped jeans and bumps from doing that every week, ha.  

Leaving campus, I remembered that dumpster/cafeteria stench and the air conditioner "rain" by Gate 6 (now that's actually just really disgusting, haha), and waiting on the curb for cabs to Bogarts  or - gag - DNA, hahaha.  That scary ROTC building with the barbed wire is now the Public Safety office (sans barbed wire, thank god).  Ohhhh those mundane nights of scanning IDs for Public Safety to make minimum wage.  Sgt. Anna!  She scared me and looked so tough.  Always thought she was a lesbian, but learned later she was preggers, so who knows. 

Then, I found myself en route to Traditions... We never wore appropriate outerwear, thinking it took away from our "hot" outfits for the bar.  Therefore, we froze our butts off during the walk and would borderline run and pretend we weren't cold.  "It's summer and we're wearing bikinis!!"  "It's so warm - all I'm wearing are shorts... and a top hat!"  Haha, don't ask.  There were so many walks (and stumbles) to and from that bar.

Funny how "fresh air" can bring back so many old thoughts and memories.  And that was only one side of Union Turnpike.  If I had gone to the other side, I would've passed two more old apartments and tripled the memories.

I guess it was a nostalgic day.


Anonymous said...

You hit it right on the nose...ohh the memories

an american girl said...

Glad you liked this post...it was written more for you than anybody else I suppose. :)