Tuesday, September 4, 2007

School Is Starting and We're Not Who We Used To Be

So today is the first day of school. You can tell. The East Village has gone from mildly overcrowded to fucking ridiculous and everywhere are very, very excited, very, very young people. I know you're probably rolling your eyes right now (and this from a 25 year old, you're thinking), but really, these people look young. To me.

And then there are the outfits. No incoming NYU student is just wearing clothes. No, no. They've finally arrived, they're at NYU, in New York Fucking City, and they know that this is it, the chance to redefine themselves as the coolest, most accessorized people they know. They've got the hipster asscrack jeans and the ironic hats, they've got all their rings on and their shirts are carefully torn. They're still figuring out the best way to smoke their cigarettes and line their eyes. I live on a street with a lot of bars and last night, over the rattle of our failing AC, I could hear the howl of NYUUUUU! NYUUUUU! NYUUUUU! from some kid with a fake ID having the best night of his life.

I start class today, too, though with much less forethought and wardrobe preparation. I'm in Paule Marshall's Craft of Short Fiction class, but I have to say I'm a bit ambivalent about beginning what will likely be my last year of formal education. I was hoping to graduate with a novel, but then this summer changed my entire life and I can't even begin to guess where I'll be come May. What before was a clear cut path is now shadowed and weedy and I keep trying to remind myself of July's sharp, shocking lesson: plans, while nice things to have, are not magic spells. The universe brings people to you and takes them away, and it isn't until they're gone that you realize they've taken you with them.

3 comments:

cynthia said...
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Robin said...

First days for so many. I can't help but think of Kyle being missed on his campus, in his classes, at his hangouts, and by his sweetheart. There's empty ceiling space where he once stood. I think folks will be glancing up to watch for his beautiful face, straining to listen for his distinct voice, and discovering that he is sadly missing. All that energy will create time and space for Kyle to live today - in hearts and in minds. Kyle will be remembered today, on this first day of many, many more.

Alicia said...

A few days after Kyle passed one of my co-workers also died very unexpectedly at age 25. It was all so overwhelming, but also quite a bit humbling. Sure we can go to work everyday and do well at our jobs and volunteer a couple times a year so we feel like good citizens, but so what? I definitely learned to live more mindfully this summer, and I am thankful for at least the benefit of that lesson. We have so many opportunities at our fingertips. It is not just our privilege, but our responsibility to embrace that.