Woke up feeling ill this morning. Think I pushed myself too hard yesterday, cleaning the new room and unpacking my shit.
After calling in sick and going back to bed I dreamt I was returning for another semester at Oberlin. The thing that made it not just another nostalgia dream was that it was a sophomore year semester, a semester without the friendly familiarity of the halls and the dorms and the green spots. It was an Oberlin I knew, but a new Oberlin, into which I was taking none of the things that make it special to me, like Will returning as a sophomore four years after he was a freshman. Not post-Oberlin, where my friends are going, where I guess I am going, but something entirely new. No late-night chill-out sessions on Union Street or Nerf battles in North. No concerts at the 'Cat and dancing at the 'Sco. No Anna, Kate, Tom, Erica; no Eric, no Todd, no Heather or Will; no living in a little green house with Andy, Mike, and Phil; no worship night with OCF; no losing the game in the lab (you just lost the game); no pretentious English major parties; no running through the halls of an empty Science Center with a female kindred spirit. A clean slate, with none of the good memories and none of the bad. Just a big, strange campus, with the vague smugness of past experience.
I was living in a double in Phillips Gym, which had been converted into a dorm and was occupied entirely by enormous jocks. I introduced myself to my RA, an eight-foot crew-cut Asian troglodyte, telling him that in the past I had always made the mistake of never getting to know my neighbors, and he smiled at me and welcomed me to the dorm and told me not to let his door slam shut when I leave because he fucking hates it when people do that.
The Asia House lounge was full of strange young faces. Very '08. There was some kind of social going on so everyone was in costume or fancy attire, standing or lounging about on a series of couches. Yoshi was juggling flames in a circus mask, Eric Michaels was fencing a freshman, Aries and Liz Hibbard were looking out the window and holding hands and smiling. All the lights were turned off, though the streetlamps of the North Quad outside were more than enough to bathe the room in orange--groups of froshlings babbling to each other, couples under the wisdom tree, a half-moon over the Science Center. Trees. I looked outside, and thought of all the research I needed to be doing. I wondered if I would ever manage to leave.
But you already have, I thought.
This is just a dream.
And I woke up alone, in the dark, on an enormous double bed, in a room with no windows. With a whinging headache. I fumbled for the light switch but the bulb was burnt out. Familiarity told me otherwise but I knew that this was real life and that was the dream, and, well.
It was only after maybe an hour of sitting up, staring at the empty walls, awake, that I could bring myself to get out of bed.