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So, some ten years ago or so, I was a teenaged wannabe-intellectual asshole, and I tried to read “Remembrance of Things Past,” didn’t get it, didn’t get past the first book, and later made a complete asshole of myself in a class by commenting that I didn’t get it, found it boring, and couldn’t understand why anyone would go on at such length and detail about utter mundanities.

Now, I keep a “blog” and read many others, and I’m all about details regarding utter mundanities. Also, a little bit of life experience, a lot more patience, and an understanding of existentialism has brought me to appreciation of the little things in life that stick out, the little pleasures that balance out the little annoyances. The fact that life is much more a matter of tiny events of little importance rather than great, grand scenes linked toegether by void. I’m a lot better at doing the best I can with what I have than I was at 18, and that’s something, at least.

Anyhow, what brought this on was my bath, of all things. My brains often kind of loosen up when I have a bath, and many paragraphs of my MA dissertation came to me while I was covered in head to toe with soap. Many little solutions to little problems, many journal entries, and many crackpot schemes have come to me while I was immersed in soapy water, scrubbing off a layer of the day’s filth.

Anyway, today, I was washing my hair with “Clairol Herbal Essence” (the strong green kind that is meant for greasy hair), a scent which takes me straight back to college. I lived in what was then the Freshman Girls’ dorm, Edna Work Hall. I see now, from digging up that link, that it is now the Nerdery. Brooks Hall used to be the Honors Dorm. I lived there my Sophomore year. My much-beloved and ever-cynical friend Rob declared Brooks Hall (which was co-ed), The Nerdery, to be a selective breeding program instituted by CSC in order to pair up all of the school’s brainiest girls and boys and hope that nature took its course. I see that my two former places of residence have pretty much exactly swapped roles on campus. Anyway, as a Freshman, I lived in Edna Work Hall, which was an all-girls dorm at the time, and mostly populated by wide-eyed, ruddy-cheeked, innocent Frosh. Edna Work Hall, built in 1932, had the BEST communal bathrooms on campus. The newer dorms were en suite, with two dorm rooms sharing a bathroom, and Brooks Hall had creepy gymnasium-locker-room type bathrooms, but Edna Work Hall had nice, substantial Terrazzo shower stalls with lockable metal stall doors and wonderful, old-fashioned, high-pressure shower heads which could ease out a backache garnered from sleeping in one’s car on account of missing curfew. Ahem. Each floor in EWH has two large bathrooms–five toilets, five shower stalls, and one large stall with a deep, wonderful bathtub in it. Nobody used the bathtubs, it seemed, except for Atsuko or me. She was my next door neighbor after Hope and I split ways, and we had obviously bought our school supplies at Target, for we had the same striped bathtowels, which for some idiotic reason, struck us both as highly humorous.

Anyway, at the time, I was a major fan of Herbal Essence shampoo, and that was what I always used because it degreased my hair nicely, while smelling piquantly floral. I haven’t used in years; not since Todd and I started living together, because it is way too harsh for his hair, then I got hooked on LUSH “Reincarnate” shampoo (helps maintain my henna), but the way I’ve been sweating lately, my hair has not been pretty. Bike helmet, plus extra sweat equalls narsty Michelle-hair. So I decided to call in the big guns, buy a bottle of the Mean Green, and see if it still contained magic. It does. I’ve been doing one good scrub with that per week, and otherwise using Reincarnate, and my hair is much less gross than it had previously been.

So yeah, showering with Herbal Essence shampoo got me to thinking about college, and thinking about college got me to thinkng about what a damn cocky little wiseass I was at age 18. Throughout highschool, I was not one of the smart kids. I was not one of the class eggheads on the Honor Roll ever time you turned around, smooching up to the teachers, being involved in all the right activities, and generally being a fine example of the up-and-coming generation. I was busy smarting off, drawing rude cartoons, writing terrible poetry, listening to heavy metal, and wondering how I could get a hold of some good weed. By some sick fluke, I got into CSC’s Honors Program. Due to having done that, and due to our school’s Guidance Counsellor’s peptalk about how 98% of us would flunk out of college, I felt I had some proving-myself to do. So I turned into a swot at the advanced age of 18 and was simply unbearable for the next four years. It was going on to grad school, and being plunged deep amongst lifelong swots that broke me out of it and brought me back to being the wiseassing layabout that I was born to be. It was then that I discovered that what passed for clever at CSC cut no thin ice amongst people who could and would speak Old Norse whilst crocked to the gills. So I could analyze Dickens from a Feminist, Socialist, or Postmodern perspective. What’s that to a hardcore Deconstructionialist? Or, indeed, to somebody who interned at real, live archeaological digs during the time when I was slinging buffalo-burgers at a local resort and smoking weed in friends’ garages while listening to Bad College Radio® and scribbling ludicrous, pointless verse into one of those little grocery-list notepads that one can tuck into a purse?

About the only thing I can say for myself is that I never had an Ayn Rand phase. Also, I am glad I am not nearly such a stick-up-the-ass smartypants anymore. Because really, my brains are NOT all that!

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