Friday, March 11, 2005

Well. That Was Exciting.

It's been a strange and busy week, Dearest Readership.

On Sunday I went to see my best friend from high school preach at a local church. He lives here in town, but the fissure that cracked open soon after he came here for college 15 years ago has grown into a chasm. When I learned that some fellow RAs go to his church (he's the assistant pastor), I agreed to go with them because back when I first moved to Laramie, my friend helped unload the U-haul one afternoon and I promised I'd come see him preach sometime. So my buddy was eager to see me and I was eager to see him, but the things he believes now are very, very difficult for me to swallow. That said, I realized as I listened to him preach – and in fairness, he's really quite good at it – that any given member of a congregation doesn't have the same understanding of God and in fact, they literally can't have the same understanding of God. Although everyone in the room agreed in principle on most things this church teaches, they physically could not perceive everything the exact same way.

So as I sat there thinking about how each brain is different and how centers necessarily shift (that Derrida bastard will haunt me for the rest of my life), I realized that people don't necessarily go to church just for the thumpin.' They go there for the fellowship.

Deep, eh? Yeah, well, it's taken me roughly 12 years to realize that.

So now I'm thinking I might try the Episcopal church here in town. I'm still firmly in the undecided camp, but to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, a hardcore atheist until age 31, "one must come to terms with one's maker." This world of ours is either a divine or statistical miracle; I like to think that once I answer that question for myself I'll find at least some peace.

Sunday afternoon I went to the pool session and snapped off some clean rolls in my kayak.

Monday morning I went to the gym and pedaled my ass off on the recumbent bike. Monday afternoon I worked a little on my project in Quantitative Reasoning.

Tuesday morning I returned to the gym and pedaled my ass off on the recumbent bike. Tuesday afternoon I sat in on an RA interview. I didn't ask any questions, just sat there and listened.

In Tuesday night's Young Adult Literature class we split into small groups to discuss assigned readings. Our group's assignment was the book Holes, which is simply amazing. The other two people in my group didn't seem too engaged in the discussion, and that kind of brought me down. In the end I think we did okay but there for a while I almost strangled those two.

Wednesday morning I went to the gym and spent the rest of the day working on my Quantitative Reasoning project. Wednesday night in Senior Seminar, a partner and I presented Foucault's theory of power in discourse, and how language outside the accepted discourse is labeled as either "insane" or "inspired." The presentation went alright; we also got our midterm exams back – 89%. Not horrible. But you know me, Dearest Readership. I prefer A's.

After class on Wednesday I went to a concert in the student union. And here I need to back up for a moment.

Three weeks ago I went to another concert at the union, where I struck up a conversation with a woman I'd seen around town. I got her number, called the following Friday and left a message, and then spent the weekend obsessing over her (I'm 32, and I still get anxious waiting for telephone calls from women). She never called back.

So I saw her Wednesday night, and got even stranger vibes – as in, it was like she didn't even want to acknowledge I was there. Luckily another RA from Orr was there and we talked for a bit. I split after about half an hour, a little bit because of her, but mostly because the band was boooooring. I mean, I can only take so many instrumental grooves in 4/4 time. But apparently drunk hippies just can't get enough.

Thursday morning I went to the public library because they have an awesome young adult literature section. In a desperate attempt to flirt with the cute woman behind the checkout counter, I cracked a joke about the Left Behind series, which have now sunk their filthy little rat claws into the young adult market. She looked at me like I'd just insulted her religion. Because I probably had.

Later on Thursday afternoon I was scheduled for more RA interviews. When I called the lead interviewer to find out where to meet, he told me we only had one candidate and I didn't need to show up. Small mercies! I spent the rest of the afternoon working on my Quantitative Reasoning project and worked a desk shift for two hours later that night. During the shift I got in some studying for today's exam in Linguistics.

After the desk shift I headed to the bar across the street. They were having an open mic, but I'd tried to play guitar earlier in the day and my calluses were shot, so playing was agony. No open mic for me... I had a pint with some other folks and then split early.

This morning I got up and studied for the Linguistics exam for a few hours. At the moment the Illini were tipping off against Northwestern, I was peer reviewing a classmate's Quantitative Reasoning project. Back to Orr for a quick one hour desk shift. Hung out with one of my favorite people in Laramie, who's going through a rough patch right now. (You know who you are. Say the word, and the M&M's are on me.)

The Linguistics exam went okay, but there were some questions that I simply didn't know. An A in the class is unlikely at best.

After Linguistics I handed in my Quantitative Reasoning project, which seems like it should be okay. I had designed some unit assessments based on the young adult novel Feed, a remarkably savvy piece of science fiction.

After class this afternoon I got back to my room and more or less collapsed. The lobby desk closed at 5 tonight since it's spring break, and we remaining RAs went to Appleby's for dinner. I stopped off at the liquor store to pick up a bottle of Tullamore Dew for St. Patrick's Day (I'll call you tomorrow to discuss/plan the visit, Willie). I had also planned to invite some other RAs up to my room for a little nightcap, but everyone's pretty much holed up for the night.

And honestly, there are other things on top of all this, mostly involving financial hardship, the aforementioned (and an unmentioned) heartache, and a certain degree of anxiety that seems to be waning the further I get from the Linguistics exam.

Meanwhile, my room is broiling and my window is wide open – it's not freezing out and it's a rare treat to have silence blasting from the frat houses across the street. I think I might watch some basketball highlights and go to bed.


Anonymous Sir Dennis F Potten said...

Excellent blog Paul - as always.

Fellowship is a great thing and can be found in abundance in churches. There's often even great women who attend church! Keep up the great work and forgive the coffee vs espresso maching mixup!

Regards... Dennis

4:31 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

I absolutely love C. S. Lewis, or St. Clive, as some call him. What works of his have you read?

6:39 PM  

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