October 14, 2003

Basic Transportation

Last night, I drove to the Cities to stay with Melissa for the night. We hadn't seen each other in over a week, and the phone can grow tiresome, and eventually the itch to just BE with her overcomes the realization that driving to and through the Cities is an absolute pain in the ass, particularly when you consider that I'll be back on the same road the next morning before the sun is even up.

Driving back to Rochester today, though, as the sun crept over the horizon and illuminated the rapidly changing foliage colors, my thoughts were transported back in time to a similar morning ten years ago.

I was about one month into college, and I spent that first month basically in a haze of trying to learn a new way of life. Dorm life. College life. Dorm life for me consisted of a huge brick building located about three miles away from campus. Lourdes Hall was an old nun's quarters, and boy did it look it: plaster walls, tile floors, soaring ceilings crisscrossed by pipes, and steel doors that reverberated down the halls when they slammed shut. The rooms were about as Spartan as you can get. There was also an old heater in the corner that once melted my shoes from two feet away during a particularly cold winter evening. I hated that dorm room.

And I hated the dorm bus to campus even more. Lourdes Hall offered a free bus service to the main campus each morning, a loud, smokey, gigantic bus (with a hinge in the middle for better cornering) that arrived at campus about 45 minutes before I even had to be in class. I hated dragging myself out of bed so unnecessarily early to catch that bus every morning. But, I was told that Winona State University encouraged students to take the bus, so who was I to bitch? I was just doing as I was told.

I remember, though, as autumn progressed, watching the turn of the season each morning as the bus rumbled along and the sun poked through the surrounding bluffs. I remember the leaves: orange and red and yellow. They were being choked off from the tree, but during those brief moments when the sun flashed over their surface, they looked radiantly alive. But, more than anything else, I remember the bus ride drowsiness. It was a drowsiness that can only be achieved by valium. It was a drowsiness that made it painfully clear that my fencing class that morning was going to be an exercise in sluggish reflexes. I would sit in front of the gymnasium each morning, my head nodding as I tried to catch a precious half hour of sleept before class started. I hated those early mornings. I hated being so sleepy.

Then, one morning, about 10 years ago to this day, actually, as the bus pulled away from Lourdes Hall and made its way to campus, I noticed a student getting into his car and driving to campus.

"Hey," I thought to myself. "I have a car. In fact, we're passing by it right now. Why in the hell am I not driving to campus rather than catching this bus almost an hour before I have to? Why?"

Why, indeed. I never rode the bus again after that day, and I grew to savor the extra time soaking in the warmth of my bed. I felt monumentally stupid that it didn't dawn on my earlier that I had a fucking car, but that stupidity only lasted for a short while, because I'd fall back asleep again, and dream of naked women.

Posted by Ryan at October 14, 2003 10:15 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!