To begin the story at the beginning, read "Part 1: Post 1: Beginning Again," published in January, 2013. To consult a description of the campus, read "Part 1: Post 14: The Greening of Campus," published in March, 2013.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Year 2: Part 3: Post 7: What a Person Can Do

Well, my plan to do everything I’ve signed up to do hasn’t worked out. There aren’t enough hours in the day. I can’t go running with Ollie anymore, I just don’t have the time.

I do my trail work in the morning, so he and I warm up and stretch together before he goes running and I walk into the woods. Sometimes he comes with me instead of running so we can talk then. But that’s it. I’ve also had to stop going to yoga and Karen’s morning exercise class, except on mornings when it’s raining or something. I’m going to class with Karen on Tuesday, so it’s not like I’m not getting any athletic coaching, but this way I can work for about three hours straight every morning before breakfast.

And no, I’m not getting enough sleep. I’ve started taking a nap over lunch instead of hanging out with Charlie, which is probably just as well, since somehow my schedule has ended up otherwise full of him. It’s particularly striking at the end of the week; Thursday afternoon I have Creating Campus, which he teaches, and then I have Paleolithic Dinner with him. Then, Friday morning, I have my horticulture job, Messing Around Outdoors in the afternoon, and then Saturday I have a horticulture shift again. I imagine he’s kind of tired of seeing my face.

Anyway, the thing is I’m completely occupied, no time on my hands at all. I’m always either in class, working, doing homework, working, eating, or asleep. I mentioned this to my mother on the phone the other day, and she said I must be really stressed out. And the thing is, I’m not. I just feel kind of full.

The thing is, there really isn’t anything major that I wish I had time for and I don’t. I wish I could go running with Ollie, but he sometimes comes to do trailwork with me, so that’s ok. I really miss starting my day with yoga, but Reiki on Tuesday evening feels kind of similar. Anyway, getting up early in the morning and getting outside feels kind of similar, too. I still listen to the birds, trying to keep track of how many different kinds I can hear—both because I want to and because Charlie is still sending spies, now and then, to check to see if I’m still paying attention. Listening to them, or noticing what’s in flower or what’s sprouting every day, is relaxing and centering. And I really like the other things I'm doing.

For example, we had an assignment for Psychology of Magic that had to be done in pairs, and my partner was Andy. We had to take turns telling each other either true stories or lies so the other one could guess which one was which. Then we took notes on what made a statement believable or not. Andy said he's not as good at lying as he used to be, which I guess is a reference to his history of drug use. He is very self-consciously Christian now, and the thought of lying, even for the purpose of a game, made him uncomfortable so that he giggled the whole time. The thing is, he giggled and fidgeted even when he was telling the truth, so then I started getting goofy, too, and we both had a great time. It was technically homework, and we finished the assignment, but it didn't feel like work.

I hadn't spent a lot of time with Andy lately, so it was good to catch up with him. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it, but technically this is his first year in school here. The thing is, last year he needed a lot of health care and other services that would have been very difficult for him to get for free if he was enrolled in school.So, the masters talked about it, and quietly decided not to enroll him until after his health was better. Now, it's better.

So this is really his first year as one of us (they entered in his coursework from last year as advanced standing, as though it were transfer credit or something like that).

It's a pretty sweet deal, really. Since he wasn't enrolled last year, he couldn't be charged tuition, so the masters balanced the books internally by treating him as a member of an employee's family--someone entitled to free tuition and room and board. Now, he is being charged, but he's working on the maintenance crew, and the work he did last year was credited forward and covers his room and board fees. He's starting a part-time job in town next month at a bicycle repair place, so he'll be able to save money and rebuild his credit. He's really putting his life back together.

I used to wonder why the school was doing all of this for him, when obviously they can't do this sort of thing for everybody. They don't offer scholarships. They can't afford to. I asked Sharon about it once, I mean, not like I'm not glad of it, Andy is a great guy, and this school is clearly the best thing that could have happened to him. But why him? Why did the school choose to help Andy?

"Because we can," said Sharon, simply.

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