Welcome Back: A Comedy of Errors
When I began this blog, it was Monday, my second night back. I was sitting on my bed with my laptop--not at my desk, because the chair is broken and I'm afraid to sit on it for fear of the seat giving way entirely. (Hopefully, the situation will be rectified soon.) My room was more or less put together, a feat of organizing executed surprisingly well in just five hours. I suppose I could have started on the day before, right after I got in, but that's . . . a long story.
Flying out to Oberlin from the West Coast, by necessity, takes about a day. The flight (or flights--there aren't many direct ones, so a transfer is usually necessary somewhere along the way) takes a long time, and then you have to add three hours onto that because of the time change. Then there's transportation back to campus to arrange. Ideally, you'd have someone to pick you up, because cab fare is pretty expensive.
Fortunately, Oberlin offers an inexpensive shuttle service between campus and the Cleveland airport. Unfortunately (and oddly, considering how many Obies come from the West), these shuttles stop running at nine P.M. Often, this results in a decision being made between a painfully early wake-up time and a potential time-crunch at the other end.
My flight got in at about 8:30, right on schedule. I hurried down to the baggage claim and scanned the stream of bags anxiously, looking for mine, hoping I wouldn't miss the shuttle. I found my bags at last and hurried up a level (there are two pick-up zones at the Cleveland airport). There, to my relief, was the van.
The driver wanted to get as many people as possible, so we ended up not leaving until well after nine o'clock, rendering my hustle and anxiety unnecessary; I was the first one there. I didn't mind; I got to talk with some international students while we waited. However, I was glad when we left, and gladder still when we all got out at Wilder and I could stretch my legs. I couldn't check in properly at this time of night, so I wouldn't get a key unless I went to the Safety and Security office. However, I knew Emma (my roommate) would come and let me in, so I didn't bother.
Sure enough, Emma came to meet me and then helped me carry my stuff back to North. (I had two bags with me, plus my laptop and violin, one slung over each shoulder.) I took stock of my room (we're in a divided double). Points in favor: There are two closets, and someone left a bulletin board on the wall and a whiteboard on the front door. Points against: The chair is a little bit broken, the room is about an inch too narrow to turn the bed sideways, and the window blinds are broken and won't hang up. Nothing unfixable, hopefully, except the bed situation, and I can live with that.
Once I had dropped everything off, we decided to go over to Barnard to try and find some of my friends from last year. It was probably about 10:00 by then.
On the way, we ran into my Wonderful Friend Who Lives in Oberlin who had stored some of my things, including pillows and blankets, in his garage over the summer. (An especially good arrangement, as I could not get into my boxes in regular storage until Monday afternoon.) He had my boxes in his room, and, as it turned out, he's living right across the hall from us this year. Perfect! So I told him I'd be back in about an hour to pick them up.
Then we found my friends. After swapping the usual hellos, we started talking, and teasing, and swapping book recommendations, and telling funny stories, and watching "The Double Rainbow Song" on YouTube . . .
Normally, if I lose track of time, I'll generally realize that it's getting late because I start feeling tired at around midnight. However, when my internal clock is running on Pacific Standard time and I'm a few thousand miles east of that, that little check doesn't work so well . . .
Emma and I got back to our room at around two in the morning. There were still some people up, of course, playing video games in the lounge, but my friend with the boxes was asleep. No problem: Emma very kindly offered me one of her pillows and two extra blankets. I showered, very pleased to get the grime of travel off me, using a large t-shirt for a towel.
I didn't have any contact lens solution and had resolved to try just putting my lens (yes, I only have one; no, I don't have a monocle) in plain old water--but then I met someone in the hallway who I knew a little from the genre fiction ExCo last year. I asked him if, by any chance, he had any contact lens solution. I believe he replied, "You know, I wouldn't if my face hadn't exploded" (I was getting kind of tired by now) and handed me a small, unopened bottle of the stuff, which he told me to use up because he didn't need it. So I was all set, thanks to the support of random people I met in the hallway. I decided that I like this kind of life--Science-Fiction/Fantasy Hall was a good choice.
When I got back from the bathroom, I saw Emma standing in the hallway in front of our door with a peculiar expression on her face. "So," she said, as I came up to her, "our door locks itself."
The R.A. was, of course, already asleep, so Emma (who had flip-flops on) walked the block to the Safety and Security office to get help. Shortly after she got back, one of the security people came with a ring of keys and let us in. We thanked him gratefully and went in to get some sleep.
I solved the no-window-blinds problem by hanging one of the blankets Emma had given me over the window. Then I slid under the covers and drifted off into deep, blissful sleep . . .
( . . . which turned into a very strange dream in which I flooded my garage to find the brain-controlling parasite from Stargate that was living there and trying to take over my cat, and then had to determine if the leafy sea dragon that I'd found in the flooded area was really a brain-parasite in disguise . . .)
. . . until shortly before 11:00 this morning, when the fire alarm went off.
Emma and I stumbled outside--remembering to bring keys this time!--along with everyone else, grumbling sleepily but not really too irked. We met my friend with the boxes out there, and as soon as we all got back in, we carried them into my room. (We still don't know why the alarm went off; it's done so several times since, including at 2:30 and 4:30 this morning.) And I spent most of the rest of the day unpacking everything, from those boxes and from the three in storage. Not bad, if I do say so myself. Let the games begin!