There's a sort of collision of worlds that occurs within me whenever I see Claire Staten in my residence hall or Ali Becker at the Plaza 900 cafeteria. These are people from my old world, and they don't belong here.
My old world is 200 miles away from this one. Our childhoods ended, and we scattered about the country like roaches. Some to Columbia, some to Washington state, some to Washington district, some to Florida, to Massachusetts, and some still in Springfield, IL. So why do I still run into old friends and acquaintances almost daily?
The answer, I know, is that me and my peers' lives are still a little more preordained than I'd like to believe. We spent our younger years growing up in elementary and middle schools or oppressive Catholic grade schools, waiting for an age of freedom and responsibility. We went to high school at Springfield High and Glenwood or oppressive Catholic high schools, waiting to be released from the town of Springfield. At such a time, we would truly be our own persons, making our own decisions and independent from the teets of youth.
Reality in this case is still good, but we're not off squeaky clean. We all collectively went to take our ACTs and SATs, we all lazily logged into collegeboard.org at our parents' urgent request, most of us mailed out our applications to the same dozen-or-so schools. At summer's end, we collectively toasted a beer and headed off our similar ways. It's kind of like saying goodbye to a friend at a party and then seeing him later the same night at the next party.
Last week I met a girl named Teddy Nykiel. After a bit of conversation, I learned why small talk exists, Carrie McMenamin. Eventually, we entered the obligatory, "were are you from?" part of the conversation.
"Oh yeah? I'm from Chicago! What city?"
"Oh, cool! I have a friend from there."
"Any chance I'd know who they are...?"
Elly Schoenburg is an old friend I once attended a Death Cab for Cutie concert with and who I later discovered is brilliant at mocking Friday Conor. Old friends also include Laura Shull, Julia LaBelle, Friday Conor and Tuesday Mada, all of whom she also knew. They and their friends do not belong in my new world. Not that being around old friends is a bad or unpleasant thing, but it's a bit sobering to know that right now we're still headed in the same general direction. We're scattered, but we haven't really separated. We've just moved around to different parts of the same social rung.
People like Claire and Ali and I guess in a way Teddy are like characters in a dream, a dream where everything seems normal and as it should be, except that Conor is my English professor, my mom is my best friend (not true in real life), and Monday Nick's post gets as many views as it deserves.
EXCEPT I CAN'T WAKE UP.