August 23 – 24?
I guess it’s still Aug 23rd. I had the strangest experience today. I’m not sure how to explain it. First I fell asleep on the plane and had a dream that the plane lost power and began to fall from the sky into the cityscape of New York. Not being afraid of flying I’m this was a strange dream… but that wasn’t what was weird.
What was strange was the ride from the airport to the NYU dorms. Dad had ordered a cab or limo service rather, I was ok with the subway, but with my bags, he had insisted and I didn’t object. There was a 30-something woman waiting for me, in some kind of old-fashioned red service uniform. Her blond hair was so blond it was more white than blond. Taking my bags, she helped into what I thought was a ridiculously long limo, even for my Dad’s taste. Inside she sat in the back as the driver took us to the dorm. Shortly she offered me a drink and have been on a plane for as long time, and the current time being around 10:30PM I figured why not. I still remember what she said after that as she handed me a form and instructed me to sign.
“This is to take responsibility for all that will happen.”
“What do you mean? Like the Taxi fees?”
“All of it.” She said with a smile as took the pen and hastily scribbled my name. I guess with a limo like this it’s to be expected.
“You’re starting at NYU?” She asked me, the same small over her face.
“Yeah, orientation is tomorrow.”
“I’m sure you’ll do well. I can tell.” Her smile boarded showing teeth. On some, this might have been a slightly odd smile, but I’ll be honest, she was pretty hot, so I guess I didn’t think about it that much.
“Looks like we’re here. See you again.” She commented after a moment glancing out the blank tinted windows as if she could see through them.
When I stepped out of the car, there was a rush of cold air in my face, almost like waking up from a dream or coming off a rollercoaster. Turning around the limo was gone! I’m not sure really what to make of that. The rest of my check in was pretty uneventful, I’m all moved in. My roommate will be arriving tomorrow; we’ll see how this goes.
Eventful day. My new roommate, Jim showed up this morning. He’s a film major. Showed me some of his photography skills, which were pretty good actually, though I haven’t seen any of his video work. Anyways, seems like we might get along!
Later I went to the orientation meetings and met my adviser. Thankfully, I have a good sense of direction, or I might have gotten lost trying to navigate the maze that was the way the administration building was laid out. I get there, and the staff tells me the psychology department advisors are in a different building. Ridiculous, but I was able to help another student who had gotten lost to get to where she needed to go.
Her name was Kelly, with short brownish red hair and green eyes I had a hard time not starting to be honest. She had been trying to find her own department—nursing—for the past twenty minutes. It was somewhat more manageable for me to find her department in fact once I had figured out the general layout of the campus, which is built directly into the streets of New York.
I’d never been to New York before I told her as she asked me as to my knowledge of where things seemed to be at; I just have a good sense of direction. To which she appeared impressed somewhat as I followed up by asking where she was from.
“Kansas, my parents didn’t want me to come so far, but I had to have a change” She answered.
“Really? Why is that?” I responded in some ways knowing how that felt.
“I’m front a town that no one leaves, you simply go as far as Kansas State if you go to college then come back and work. I just didn’t want to be stuck in that cycle.” I glanced over as she said this while we walked. Her arms were crossed, and she was staring off into the middle distance. There was a pause as I felt it might not be best to press the issue at the time.
“Well, my father moved me to Hong Kong when my Mother died about a year ago. Sometimes, sometimes a place on the other side the world is what you need according to him.” I tried to relate back while shifting my gaze away.
“Oh, I’m so sorry! Wow, and here I am talking about something so small…”
“Don’t worry about it.” I shrugged.
“You said according to him. Did it help you?” I remember she asked me back…
“I’m not sure,” I responded, after that we walked in silence for a movement before reaching her destination. I got her number—score! And left to my own.
I don’t know why I remember this conversation and in fact the entire day so vividly? It’s somewhat strange really; as if every vital word was stamped into my brain… maybe it’s the jet lag? Well, regardless I went to see my own academic advisor than a Dr. Henry Kent.
While Dr. Kent seemed to only be in his early middle years with slight graying peppercorn hair, I could tell he’d been working here for a long time. His decent sized office was filled the floor to ceiling with all sorts of books and knickknacks’ giving it an eccentric feel. Pictures of him and various students everywhere also made it clear to my relief he was a teacher who invested in his students.
If that wasn’t clear, he was currently meeting with a pair of seniors as I knocked on the door to his office and was welcomed in by his voice through the door.
Inside the seniors were sitting on a couple of chairs facing Dr. Kent, they turned when I entered and gave a polite nod. Both were boys, the first with fine black hair and seemed part Asian turned back to Dr. Kent.
“Welcome, just one second, I’ll be with you in a moment.” The doctor said with a smile.
“Well, it seems the freshmen are here Henry! I and Charles just wanted to make sure you got the invitation.” He said to Dr. Kent. I must have cut them off mid-conversation.
“I certainly did James, I appreciate it very much. I’ll do my best to attend you know that. Congratulations” Dr. Kent answered back.
“Of course we do, and thanks.” Said the other one with light blond hair, whose name was evidently Charles. “We’ll get out of your hair though.” He glanced back at me with a polite smile, and they both began to get up and shuffle past me out of the room.
“Thanks, it was good to see you both,” Kent said as they left and then turned his focus to me by standing up and shaking my hand after I moved up to his desk. “Welcome, I’m assuming you’re a freshman psych major?”
“Yes, Dr. Kent? Right?”
“Right, though I’m ok with students calling me Henry, for now if Dr. Kent makes you feel more comfortable then Dr. Kent it is! Took James back there until his sophomore year to call me Henry.” He responded amiably while gesturing to the newly vacated seats in front of his cluttered desk.
Sitting down I noticed the variety of books he had, splayed about the room. Far from only merely psychology books and journals he also had loads of other texts from philosophy like Nietzsche’s beyond good and evil, to novels like Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep?
Pulling myself back to the conversation at hand I introduced myself and began to discuss my courses for the semester. Suddenly he asked me; “Why do you want to study psychology Elric?”
Thinking about my answer for a moment I started to talk about why it was interesting to me to which he waved his hand cutting me off.
“There are two types of students who walk through my door, neither better than the other. One wants to simply understand people so they can be understood. The self-reflective. The other walks through my door and says they want to understand people so they can help others. Outwardly reflective. Which are you?”
“Honestly sir, I’m not sure,” I answered quickly realizing it was the truth as I said it.
“Good. That’s a good place to be. “ He put down the pen he’d been using to highlight courses. “I think you have a good idea of the present curriculum. Come back and tell me when you have thought on this more.”
This being a clear indicator of our meeting has come to a close I thanked him, shook his hand and returned to my dorm, not before grabbing some lunch at a good burger joint I had seen that morning.
His question however stuck with me all day. So much so that when my new roommate and I went out that night to grab dinner, I asked him about what he thought of the question itself.
“Sounds like you have an awesome advisor that’s what.” He replied with a bite of pizza. “Mine just wanted to know what work I’d done before and what classes I wanted to take.”
“Yeah, it just surprised me you know? I guess I don’t know myself like I thought. Since I couldn’t really answer his question.” I mused while picking up another piece of pepperoni.
“Well, it’s not the worst thing. He said to just think about it. What’s so bad about that?” I noticed how he used the pizza in his hands to add to his hand gesturing in an amusing away which made me smile a bit. “What?” He asked noticing my reaction.
“Nothing, you’re right it’s good. I guess I just need to think on it a bit.”
“Exactly, no sweat. Say, we have the weekend, want to see if there’s a movie out? I could use a good movie to watch tonight.”
Agreeing we ended up catching a show before going back to the dorm. I couldn’t resist slipping Kelly a text to join us, to which Jim gave me a nudge and a comment of already having made a girlfriend that I evaded. It was just the first day, sheesh.
The three of us had a good time, though I could tell Jim was making eyes at her the entire time, which bothered me. Maybe I do like her? Whatever I guess introspection, in general, is in order. For now, my jet-lagged self, needs a bit of sleep. I’ll keep writing later.
There was quite a lot of fog tonight; I guess with the rain recently in New York I shouldn’t be surprised.