I'm at my 5-year college reunion right now. More specifically, I'm in the student center waiting for all the drunken assholes to pass out, since they're partying all over the dorm. I haven't quite made it to bed yet, after working Thursday and coming in off the redeye flight yesterday morning; I was in bed around 2:30 AM when they took over my floor, which got me sort of jazzed up: I went to school with these people and I know exactly how juvenile they are, so I don't want to piss them off and incur whatever excitement they feel appropriate. (Quite apart from me, there was already Vaseline on the toilet seat I'm supposed to share with 3 other rooms, at least two of which have women living in them. Yes, these people are a class act. Yes, they're 27 years old, like me.)
At the same time, part of me imagines some alcohol-sodden shitstick charging at me; relishes the idea of using aikido to let himself fall into a wall and pass out, using my awareness and ability to move (to say nothing of my sobriety) to deal with any others. I consider strongly that in reality I would probably get hurt even if I fended off everyone else. This wondering if one's martial art "really works" is called "brown-belt syndrome"; acknowledging the more likely reality is "better judgement"; this whole series of revenge fantasies is Chris's traditional way of dealing with being powerless despite moral correctness.
I lay there, and when the most rambunctious assholes had died down, I went out and asked if they could take it outside. Instead they took it to the first floor lobby, which must have sucked for the people trying to sleep on the first floor, but it was a start. I still didn't sleep, because I didn't feel safe, so I put on my jacket to walk around. As I stood in the doorway of the lobby, one guy I know, cackling like someone on the wrong kind of psychoactive drug, threw a water bottle against the wall. Liking this, he tried a paper bag; unsatisfied, he picked up an open bowl of onion dip, and flung it against the wall. He sort of hooked it, splattering the wall and me in a sprawling 100-degree arc.
At that instant I realized what I had long suspected: that I truly, honestly, despise the overwhelming majority of the people in my graduating class. It's not because I think I'm better than them; it's because I know it, because I show it every day in the choices I make, in how I hold myself and in how I treat people. I'm better than them because, after 27 years of pain, joy, mistakes, and wisdom, I can moderate my drinking, and when drunk, I can manage my behavior and act with consideration and concern for others. Because I don't stand in a dormitory hallway at 3:30 in the morning screaming at the top of my lungs, "EVERYBODY WAKE UP!!!!". And I don't let my friends do it, either.
This makes me sad. I like to give people chances. I want them to give me chances, too. I want so badly to not be disappointed by humanity, for people to live up to a fraction of their potential for kindness, wisdom, and decency, that just the wanting hurts sometimes. And Skidmore is absolutely the wrong fucking place to look.
This isn't a total loss, of course. I'm supposed to be here now, finishing unfinished business with some good people, hanging out a bit with some people I never met while I was here, and I get to see the family tomorrow. But right now, I'll be damned if I'm coming back for the next one.
Later in the day (I wrote the above around 5:30 AM), I'm still trying to figure out which buttons this is pushing and why, because no one else seems to be nearly as pissed about this as I am. So I had to stay up until after dawn to get some sleep because of people screaming in the hallway. Is that really such a big deal? I think this touches on various issues I've had before and during college, but I'm not sure what they are and I think they'll take a little while to sort out this week. Part of it is that I'm ashamed to be connected with these people, of what I get lumped in with when someone says "Class of 1999" when, for my part, I just wanted to go to sleep. My feelings seem to run contrary to everyone else's, so I wonder if I'm being arrogant or stuck up somehow. I don't think so; but how do I deal with these people who are fairly pleasant when sober, but seem to have this bizarre fear of growing up a bit and taking responsibility for themselves, instead of regarding binge drinking and vandalism as a preferred weekend hobby? I'm afraid my aikido is not far enough along to resolve the conflict.