Not a lot going on in Zembla these days. My computer monitor at home doesn't work, and I only work part-time. Why only part-time? Well it's because I'm going back to school, back to school, only partially to prove to my dad that I'm not a fool. While many of my peers are finishing masters degrees, studying for the bar exam, and beginning their medical residencies, I will be putting the academic pedal to the education metal in hopes of emerging with a bachelor's degree. Still, it's a lot better than meeting professors, lawyers, and doctors at the ten-year reunion and not having a college degree, so I'll take it.
Currently, I am enrolled in four different English classes. One deals with Irish writing in the early 20th century, and another is on James Joyce, an Irish writer of the early 20th century. It's called synergy, friends. My other two courses are a study of the second-greatest blind poet of all time, John Milton, and a strange History/English hybrid course about the cities and literary traditions of New York and Philadelphia. Since my own college career could be described as a strange History/English hybrid (or "train wreck"), I think this is right up my alley. Old Man Alley, to be specific, right by the intersection of Disappointment Way and Wasted Potential Boulevard.
After two days of class, no one seems have noticed that I am way too old to be at Cal, or they're too polite to say anything. I credit this to two factors:
1. The baby face: My features are soft and doughy, and
often always flushed with pink. If I can still get carded in every bar I step into, I can blend in when I'm in a college classroom.
2. I'm still not the oldest: There are always a few seniors in Berkeley classes, particularly in the English Department, and I'm not talking about students with more than 90 semester units. Sometimes, they can be a delight, sharing their wisdom and experiences with all. Mostly they slow things way down, asking for things to be repeated, passages explained, and their food to be mashed up. Studying The Faerie Queen many years ago, one of my aged classmates was vexed by a certain passage. The professor's explanation of the thematic issues did little to ease her confusion, and it helped even less when he explained where Spenser had made an allusion to Ovid. Finally, she exclaimed, "I just want to know what happens to the Redcrosse Knight in this part, OK?", and he consented to give her a literal summary.
Some of you are probably thinking, "Hey Sean, what about those college girls? Aren't you excited about that?" Actually, I'm not, which may be explained by two factors:
1. I'm older now, and my tastes have matured with me: Sure, in the past, the presence of nubile freshman and sophomore girls would have thrilled me, their beauty only rivaled by their freshness. Now, perhaps, I want something more in a woman. Perhaps I want someone old and wise enough to relate on an intellectual level, putting aside petty physical concerns in favor of a more cerebral match. Or, perhaps...
2. Girls at Berkeley just aren't that hot.
Obviously, further investigation of this topic is necessary.
What I'm really looking forward to is the beginning of class discussions, which will be happening tomorrow. I plan to wow my classmates with tales of 56K modems and grunge rock. "Seriously, everyone wore flannel, and most people still had all their pubic hair. We sent email with carrier pigeons, and we used to have to carry checkbooks, not like now with your fancy debit cards and PayPal accounts. I'm sorry, professor? Oh, I think it symbolizes the disconnect between Philadelphia's reputation as the nation's primary cultural center and the growing reality of New York's predominance in that area. Also, we all carried pagers!"
Hopefully, all this book-learning won't distract me from attending to Zembla, but seriously, who am I kidding? The posts will be infrequent, full of incoherent ramblings about Dublin and unreadable Middle English puns. Maybe I'll get a new monitor, sure, but my ten hours each week on BART are going to severely cut into my Zembla time. And though I've spent a long time typing this one out, you really are only supposed to use the computers for twenty minutes at a time. Research takes precedence. This is a university, goddammit.