We Don't Like Perfect People

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Picaresque pt. 4

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It’s Spring break! Woohoo!  Punky hit the ‘nip at eight o’clock Saturday morning, and she’s been raging ever since.

If you didn’t guess, I am at the fabulous party destination of My House, where things are gettin’ all wild and crazy because my dad just got home!

He keeps falling asleep sitting up because South Carolina is eight hours behind Bagram time.  At first he was in an armchair, so it was no big deal.  But the last four times it’s happened he’s been in my brother’s desk chair.  This introduces slightly more danger to the situation, as the chair has no arms and is near a treadmill with many corners and metal parts.  If I were in Dad’s position I’d just go to bed for the next sixteen hours, but apparently such behavior is a sign of weakness.  Now that I think about it, I used to get jet lag when I traveled between South Carolina and Mississippi.  And as you know, I am a total pansy, so maybe the two are connected.

I finally did convince him to go to bed.  I pointed out that it would suck to spend his time at home suffering from a concussion instead of doing fun things like going hiking and letting Mom drag him off to IKEA to look at sinks.  I think what really convinced him, though, was the memory of the last time he ended up incapacitated on the floor in the company of his immediate family. This memory does not give the impression that we are good company during a medical crisis.

He and my brother, who was three at the time, had engaged in a duel with a pair of toy lightsabers in the hotel room at Disneyland.  I will not describe precisely what occurred next, but I will remind my readers that three-year-old children’s prime striking zone is exactly at crotch level.  As my dad rolled on the floor, in too much pain to speak, my brother and I sat on him, bouncing up and down and demanding that he stop playing dead so that we could perhaps hit him again.  Our mother would have restrained us, but she was laughing too hard to get out of her chair.

Okay, so that was thirteen years ago.  But I hear tell that the mere memory of such pain can override all rational thought.  Besides, we probably would still laugh at him, once we’d ascertained he still had a pulse.  And Punky would most likely sit on him.

I took a nasty fall down the stairs last summer.

No matter how amusing I find the cruelty that runs rampant at my house, as the title of the post indicates, I am now obligated to continue my tale.  So!  Oxford of Emory.

I spent the first month or so in a state of supreme self-satisfaction.  Every room in the dorms had that stupid torch logo on the number placard, which served as a constant reminder that I was now certified as one of the Smart People.  The only thing keeping me from becoming unbearably smug was the knowledge that I still wasn’t at “real” Emory, and probably couldn’t have gotten in if I’d tried.  I was only a second-rate smartypants.

This distinction stemmed more from my own flaming insecurity than from any actual persecution.  Oxford isn’t really Emory’s red-headed stepchild.  Some of the Oxford kids get into the downtown campus as well, but elect to go to Oxford for a small college experience first, as sort of a best-of-both-worlds kind of thing.  The students at the downtown campus are aware of this, so they keep their shunning of Oxford residents to a minimum (though they don’t abstain from it completely).

However, as time dragged on, my sense of smell overpowered my sense of satisfaction.  My roommate suffered from a laundry list of psychological ailments, including agoraphobia.  She tended to avoid going to the cafeteria, as it was large and full of people and made her twitchy.  I am a Zoloft-taker myself, so I can understand the need to avoid psychologically stressful situations.  I did not mind her eating most of her meals in our room.

But dear lord, did she have to eat tuna salad at EVERY MEAL?  And was she frightened of showers too, or did she just have poor hygiene?  I bought a plug-in air freshener, but it didn’t change the fact that our dorm and everything in it smelled like the seat cushion of my great-grandmother’s wheelchair.  It clung to my clothing, and lurked in the depths of my purse like a stubborn miasma.  It was truly foul.

I spent two weeks consulting with various campus professionals about the best way to address the problem of body odor in a person who has been hospitalized twice for psychiatric treatment.  I became plagued by dreams of her chasing me, in a murderous rage, wielding a samurai sword.  Ultimately, because I am a pansy, I decided to just change rooms.  I told her that the reason I was moving was to take advantage of the opportunity to live in the new dorms.  This was partially true.  Just not totally.

After that little hiccup, things should have gone more smoothly.  Instead, I began to sleep through my classes.  It’s usually a struggle for me to get out of bed—it’s a shame there are no careers in sleeping, because I am a champion sleeper—but once I do get up, I’m usually glad I did.  Not so at Oxford.

At first I thought it was my usual difficulty with new places and people, though that usually subsides after the first three weeks or so.  I became more involved in extracurricular activities, trying to find something that would make my days feel worthwhile.  Nada.

Next, I wondered whether I was suffering from a new bout of depression, perhaps as a sort of karmic retribution for the shitty way I’d treated my former roommate.  She seemed to know I had ulterior motives for changing rooms, judging by the dirty looks she shot me every time I saw her. That, or she had Katrina de Voort syndrome.

I knew the steps for declaring insanity, having followed them my junior year of high school, when I was prescribed the Zoloft I mentioned earlier.  I made an appointment to talk with a counselor in the student health center, but their schedule was so packed with regulars I had to wait two weeks for an opening.  This was frustrating.  However, it gave me time to consider whether I was actually going crazy again.

I came to the shocking conclusion that I was not.  I just really, really hated Emory.

Spoiler for next time:  smart people can be shallow, too!

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Written by Estie

March 9, 2010 at 5:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. This is quite the page-turner (screen-clicker? screen-scroller?). And anyone that uses the word “miasma” in her online blog is okay by me. 🙂

    Literary Dreamer

    March 12, 2010 at 7:03 am


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