So a song came up in my random lineup today. The song is called “Friends of P.”, and it’s by The Rentals, and the first time I ever heard it was the first semester of my freshman year of college. My roommate always had the college rock station on, so instead of my usual diet of Indigo Girls, Danny Elfman scores, and Sinead O’Connor, I listened to that.
Isn’t it amazing how one smell, one song, one glance at a photo, can transport you to another place and time?
In late August 1995, my mother drove me to Tallahassee, Florida, the home of FSU. I spent much of the car trip in tears because I was leaving my boyfriend and my cat (oh yeah, and my home/family). When my mom and I got to the dorm, we rearranged the beds and unpacked my stuff. She spent the night, and then, the next day, she left.
I remember walking around campus with my map. I had friends who were going to FSU, too, but I didn’t know when they’d arrive (and this is before cell phones, so you couldn’t just text somebody and find out where they were). I ate in the dining hall; I bought a few things from the campus store; I got my student ID and first ATM card, for Tallahassee State Bank, which had ATMs on campus. You could withdraw amounts starting at $5, with a 75-cent fee.
That night, a film school classmate of mine (we’d all met at Film School Orientation a few months earlier) called to invite me to the local coffeehouse. I remember setting the phone down and being completely blown away by the fact that I didn’t have to call anyone and ask if I could go out. I didn’t have to be back by a certain time.
I was on my own. And it all started that night.
Of course, in college, freedom means something different than it does once you hit the real world. Even if you’re working and paying your own way, you’re still in a bit of a cocoon. By the time you get to be a senior, you’re ready to strike out on your own, get away from campus, live your life.
When you’re living that life, looking for a job or working at one, when ATM cards are no longer a novelty and you’re so flush with cash that you can take out more than five bucks at a time… the independence of college life seems downright laughable.
But I can’t think of another moment in my life when I felt such a huge change in the fiber of my experience. Maybe the morning after my wedding, when I told the taxi driver, “I’m just waiting for my husband.” But nah, I think that’s second place. (And I know everything will shift around when there’s a baby in the picture… but I’m not there yet.)
Life is such an interesting journey, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s nice to crank an old song and wallow for a few minutes. Thanks for joining me in the wallowing!
PS – Please jump over to my blog and enter my CONTEST! Win free stuff (or, if you’re international, win free stuff for a friend in the continental North America region)! Very fun goodies on the line.
PPS – We’re still taking applications for next year’s Debutantes! If you’re a 2010 debut author, click the “Got Pearls?” link in the sidebar… or pass it on to a friend!