Saturday, May 09, 2009

Keele Diary #5

As much as I travel, and as many times as I have had long-term commitments in faraway lands, such as the opportunity afforded me here at Keele, the reality is that all of my experience does not change the fact that sometimes travel is a lonely business. I am a pretty social person, and tend to be able to make friends wherever I travel. But it does not happen instantaneously nor does it happen automatically. As a consequence, the first weekend, which this one is for me, tends to be the most difficult, something that might come as a surprise to even my close friends.

I just put in a pretty good week of work, and while I am at the office now and have been for a few hours, I do not necessarily want to come in first thing in he morning and work all day. I brought some dvd's, including a couple of tv series, just to make sure that I could kill down time and, frankly, to allow me to stave off boredom early in the trip. Season two of Hill Street Blues has served me well the last 24 hours or so when campus quieted down (well, more on this in a moment) and left me to my own devices. And here I should be plain -- I am toying with a weekend trip to Paris while I am here, and Thunderstick spent much of Thursday encouraging me to take off this weekend. It pains me to say it, but he was probably right.

In any case, I opted for a mellow night in the flat last night after deciding not to try my social fortunes at one of the on-campus pubs, a graduate pub that apparently is run by a member of CAMRA (the Coalition for Real Ales) and is supposed to be quite good. It was too late to slip in for a quiet pint (I was in the office until about ten last night). But also outside of a very raucous student union I would estimate that a couple of hundred or more students were lined up to get inside of what promised to be a chaotic undergraduate experience. I envied them even as I acknowledged that I have always hated those jam packed nights. I decided at that point to avoid the masses and head toward home. I could have hit the quiet pub past my flat, but in the end opted for a quiet night at home. I stayed up too late, throwing my carefully cultivated sleep schedule off, which is oftentimes more of a key to staving off loneliness than you might imagine. If one is up when everyone is asleep and asleep when most people are up, it is not good for the mindset.

In any case, I promised myself to go out a bit earlier this evening, before the undergraduate maelstrom, and having gotten a reasonable amount of work done these last few hours I intend to fulfill that promise. Ideally by this time next weekend, the loneliness will have abated both through knowing more people and by having more of a comfort zone with this new place where I find myself. Of course by this time next weekend I'll be amidst the legendary Armitage Shanks in my old stomping grounds in Oxford (might the Manor Bar come into play? I suspect that it might) so I'll have somewhat alleviated my social anxieties by reverting to a familiar world.


Thunderstick said...

someday you'll learn...I am always right.

dcat said...

I'd say you're more like a stopped clock, or a blind squirrel (or a blind pig).