I never imagined I would miss anything about high school when I was there, but during the second semester of senior year, things were going well. I had two free periods when we were really only supposed to have one, so I always felt like I was getting away with something. On Wednesdays I had a two and a half hour lunch, and it felt longer and more satisfying than the nearly five hours I have between classes now. There was time to go downtown to the Main Street Cafe and get a cranberry and walnut salad with an oatmeal cookie and a big glass of water with ice and lemon. On real dishes. I brought a book sometimes--I remember reading Nicholas Nickleby. I went to Redwood Grove a few times, in January when there was water in the creek and the ground was muddy. I often just went home and had a mug of tea and some leftovers, watching VH1 on the couch, but as long as my mom didnít come home from work early I had time to sit and do nothing and had a real break between classes, and then I just went to physics which was always a good class, even when it was boring.
Thereís a lot to be homesick about even when I donít miss any of the people. I donít remotely have the mental energy to read an 800-page Dickens novel now that I have to memorize the dates of 90 prehistoric, Mesopotamian, and ancient Egyptian works of art by Monday. I go out to all the places I was excited about seeing in New York, but the Conservatory Garden is full of people so I canít take any pictures that donít have strangers blocking the view, and the Met is chaotic and loud, with alarms beeping when somebody gets too close to anything thatís not under glass. At home, my house was new and always clean. My dorm has scuffs all over the gray linoleum floor and old tape on the walls and the baseboards are permanently stained around the entire perimeter of the rooms. I canít taste the tea in my tea because all I can taste is the tap water. The microwave my roommate brought smells when itís running.
Did I idealize New York, and now Iím finding it wasnít what I expected? To a certain extent, I have to admit; though as soon as I got my acceptance letter I was already expecting to leave the city right after I graduated. I never expected to really like college. In August I stayed at home and never did anything, sort of thinking that if I bored myself as much as possible I would make myself excited for classes to start. It worked, temporarily, but the truth is, I like doing nothing. Read Tom Jones, go for a walk, bake tarts, take up embroidery for three days and quit with a half-finished project--thatís my idea of luxury and the only thing between me and it is this little issue of having to make a living somehow. While I definitely donít want to live with my parents any more than I can possibly help it, itís still true that I was closer there, than I am here, to my modest yet totally ridiculous and unrealistic dream of having a small, clean, nicely decorated house and the time to make muffins from scratch every morning. Instead, Iím up at 2:00 AM listening to the toilet flushing of its own volition every five seconds.