Avoiding Trouble Isn’t Always Painless

StressedOur campus is invaded every summer by groups of high school students  from around the world, here as part of two 3-week programs designed to give them first-hand experience of life at a ivy league university. Great experience for them if they actually take advantage of it.  Mostly I see them walking the campus in packs, clogging the sidewalks, wearing tight t-shirts and barely-there shorts that show off their tans and blonde hair.

Individually they don’t bother me, but when they travel in packs, something twists inside my stomach and I want to cross the street to avoid them.  I don’t, but I do step out of the way; when I say they travel in packs, I mean 3-4 across, 2-3 rows deep.  They form a big clot moving down the sidewalk that way, pushing aside everything in their path, talking up a storm, and commenting about the other people (i.e., us) being in their way.

The other day on the way to the parking lot after work, a car of them drove by and one of the girls yelled something out at me and made faces in a kind of viscious way.  I thought I would either cry or throw up or both; it felt very personal and came so fast that I was unprepared

I was running late today and didn’t bring a lunch.  And I couldn’t bear to be out on the sidewalk alone, avoiding the clogs of thoughtless young people looking at me and making comments about my size, or the joy of finding almost every chair in the local restaurants full of them.   So instead of going out to lunch, I stayed in the office and just worked on projects and had a Fiber 1 peanut bar on my break.  I wasn’t particularly hungry so it wasn’t hard, but I was annoyed and ashamed of not doing what I wanted just to avoid dealing with those kids.  On the other hand, I didn’t eat junk.

It will be a real relief when the real students are back where they belong.