The air was crisp with early January hints of snow, and expectant with the hopes and anxieties of the first day of classes. It was almost like being 19 again. Almost.
Off I went to Buchanan D, fearing I’d left it too late, and I’d be the one stumbling into the classroom after the prof had begun to speak, interrupting everything. Or worse find myself in the wrong classroom: Isn’t this Asian Studies? No, Physics 360. Oh.
But I was on time and in the right place, though perhaps too far away. Others had filled in the choicer spots up close, and I was up and to the right, at a bad angle and, most worrying, not entirely sure I could hear everything that was being said.
I was certainly not the last to arrive, however. Someone slid in ten minutes late and sat beside me; I let her look at the printed syllabus that had already been distributed, and she smiled, but she seemed to lose interest and played with her iPhone and then was gone quickly before the class had quite adjourned. I somehow doubt she’ll be back.
It should have been obvious, I suppose, since this is a class on a Japanese novel written by a woman (no more philosophy courses for me), but I was surprised to realize that the vast majority of the students were young Asian women. Oh, well, I will be the token old white guy.
But whatever such minor issues, the thought of engaging with a new field of learning (for I know virtually nothing about ancient Japanese literature) makes me feel good, intrigued. It is the excitement of the beginning, the start of the journey. Some like to finish, to make an end, but I like beginnings best, when the world is all before you and you don’t know where exactly you’ll end up.
You may be ill or lonely, or bored with other aspects of your life, but let a new intellectual adventure beckon, and then all else (well, almost all else) can be forgotten. I look forward to the voyage into 11th-century Japan.