I grew up just down the street from a public school and on warm days you could hear kids laughing and screaming on the playground. Couldn’t see them, because some houses and trees across the street from my house were in the way, but you could definitely hear them. It was always weird when school went on break and all of a sudden my family’s mid-mornings and noons were quiet, since those were the times that kids had recess.
The window of the dorm room where I currently live faces the street, a street with a lot of frats and sorority houses on it. My freshman year dorm room was pretty quiet because it didn’t face that same street and was five stories up, but this year I’m on the second floor so my roommate and I are much closer to all the noise from parties and whatnot.
Yesterday evening I was curled up in my chair next to the window, absorbed in a novel* I’m reading for school. To tell the truth, my mind is pretty much off in its own world, doing its own thing because I’m constantly daydreaming about stories I’ve read and stories I want to write and so on and so forth… but that is especially true when I’m reading. I forget what’s going on around me.
*A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, in case you wanted to know. It’s a retelling of King Lear that I was assigned in my Literary Retelling & Impersonation class. It’s really well written and captures the Midwest very accurately but at the same time it’s sooooo heteronormative and it’s just like cAN YOU NOT.
So there I was, spaced out – and half-asleep to boot, because I’d studied all day – and I kind of forgot where I was, as I often do when reading. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been reading high fantasy or whatever and glanced up only to be startled that I’m wrapped up in blankets in bed and not, like, prowling through mysterious shadowy passages in an ancient castle somewhere. It happens.
My attention narrows down to only the words on the pages before me, at first, and then eventually all I’m envisioning is the scene that is being described. So, yeah. I get really into stories like that. I think what happened last night was that I dozed off for just long to become really disoriented and think that I was at home the raucous shouting and laughing from the frats and sororities was coming from the playground at the elementary school just down the road.
Hey, it made sense to me because, as I said, the sounds were basically the same. Plus, I’m anxious for the semester to be over so I can head home, relax, and pack for my study abroad session in Dublin. WHYYY ARE FINALS STILL LIKE A MONTH AWAY.
Anyway, the reason I’m telling you all this is that it made me laugh because I realized that in many ways, my peers and I haven’t changed all that much from who we were in grade school. We’re ridiculous; we’re still loud. (Maybe not as shrill as little kids, I will concede.) We may have exchanged chasing one another round and round the playground equipment for drunkenly stumbling around the yard of a frat, but when I’m lying in bed, in the dark, on Friday and Saturday nights, sometimes I honestly couldn’t tell the difference.