I dedicate this, my longest post, to my dear friend, Caleb, whose excellent stories are always long and sometimes entertaining.
This is my second semester here at IUPUI, and it’s never for a moment felt like home. Ball State was home. After two years in my beloved Elliott Hall at BSU, I transferred to IUPUI for mostly financial reasons. And I was determined to have a bad attitude about it. I might have had to leave my college, but I didn’t have to like it.
I started at IUPUI last fall, and I had one really good friend here, but I didn’t see her very often. I became friends with a guy in my Science Inquiry (read: dumbest class I’ve ever had to waste my money on) class who looks like Ashton Kutcher and a Canadian girl who shares my name in my U.S. History class, but aside from those three, almost everybody at this school seemed cold, annoying, shallow, stupid…
I told you I was determined to have a bad attitude about this.
Then I started hanging out with the Catholic Student Organization, which is interesting, since I’m not Catholic. Now I do crazy things like going to Mass twice a week and making pilgrimages to Washington D.C. and sleeping with a rosary around my teddy bear’s neck. My dad keeps asking me if I’ve started “swinging incense around” yet. Not yet, Dad. But I love my Catholics to death.
Still, just because I met my crazy Catholics at IUPUI didn’t mean I had to like IUPUI, or even feel like an IUPUI student. I actually told people that “I’m a Ball State student. I just ran out of money and now I have to finish up my degree someplace else. But I’m definitely not a Jaguar.” So how long do I have to endure this place before I become a Jag? I hate hating my school, but I’d feel like a traitor if I actually liked it a little bit.
Well, I was completely unprepared for how rainy and disgusting today was. I spent the night last night with my favorite Catholic who lives downtown so I’d be close to campus this morning for my 7:30am Logic class (and you wonder why I hate this place), and it was lovely outside last night. So I packed slacks and a nice top to wear today.
Oh and by the way, I don’t believe in umbrellas.
I mean, umbrellas are fine for other people, but they make me crazy. I could probably write a whole post on how umbrellas make me crazy.
So I walked to Logic in the rain at 7:30 this morning, and after that, I walked to Music Fundamentals. Now, usually I don’t mind a little promenade during a spring shower, but in case you didn’t notice, it was cold this morning. And it was spitting rain. How rude. Spitting is never nice, so I’ve always considered spitting rain to be the worst kind. And of course Music Fundamentals is in the opposite corner of this vast campus from Logic. So this was a half-mile, cold, spitting-rain walk.
I arrived late and dripping and shivering to Music Fundamentals, where my classmates were already square-dancing to “Shake Them ‘Simmons Down.” I had almost warmed up by the time class was dismissed and I had to make that same walk back to the same corner of campus I’d originally come from in order to get to my next class, Movement Experiences for Children (it’s “how to be a gym teacher 101”). It was the same walk, but the first time it was cold. This time it was freezing. The first time it was spitting. This time it was drizzling.
Actually, in the vein of spitting, let’s call it drooling.
So the sky was drooling all over me, and the worst thing might have been that I was wearing my glasses, not my contacts, which meant that I couldn’t see anything except through a lens of drippy fogginess. Any shred of sanity I still maintained was forfeited when an SUV drove through a puddle near me and I was drenched by the tsunami.
After the initial shock wore off, all I could do was chuckle. I trudged across campus to the bookstore and dripped a rainy trail all the way across the floor to the “collegiate wear” department. A sympathetic employee let me use a storage closet as a dressing room and I emerged in my new duds: a red hoodie emblazoned with “IUPUI” and the Jaguar logo and black sweatpants with “IUPUI JAGS” in obscenely large capital letters down the left leg. If I’d been sporting Pumas instead of Chuck Taylors, you would have thought I was here on a volleyball scholarship. No longer dripping, I sheepishly made my way to the checkout and asked if I could just cut the tags off here and pay for my stuff so I could wear it out the door. When the transaction was complete, we remembered the security device fastened to the back bottom edge of the sweatshirt. The cashier got a real kick out of having me walk around to the employees-only side of the register and sit on the counter next to the remover thingy so he could get rid of the security tag. Glad I could make someone’s day.
I left the bookstore looking every inch the proud IUPUI pupil and athlete, shouting my allegiance with overpriced JanSport apparel. No one would have guessed my Hipster tendencies (they didn’t know the sweatshirt was made by a fair-trade company in the Dominican Republic). Now I’m sitting here, waiting for my next class to start, warm and dry in my IUPUI propaganda. And for the very first time, I’m feeling quite at home.
When does this place become home?