Monday, October 23, 2006

symphony road

this was actually my third semester at Boston University; my first two had been quite different, both from each other, and from this one.

i found a room in a house on symphony road, not far from fenway park, a little behind the berkley school of music; saxophones played out into the street in the afternoons. the day i moved, i put all my stuff in a shopping cart, and wheeled it over there, but, while i was upstairs getting a key, someone walked off with my record albums, which were on top of the cart. my roommate here, g.h.- he was not the only roommate, but was the one i remember- accompanied me on a trip to cape cod- but here again, i knew hardly anyone, and didn't really connect. i knew i was finished with the dorms; i couldn't take it anymore. at the same time, i wasn't really into the homemaking routine yet, making meals, settling down in the evening to read or do homework. i was always on the move.

the volume went up on my doubts when journalism seemed hard to touch- hard to relate to- and i was losing my patience. the city still held plenty, and i hadn't actually flunked anything- had even taken courses with famous people like howard zinn and a couple of others. i was getting an education, but was feeling so bad about the money thing that i started fantasizing about living on only what was mine. i had saved a considerable amount delivering pittsburgh post-gazettes for 42 cents a week, for five years, and working at the fish store, and i was stuck on this; i could no longer relate to school at all.

this fantasy finally became a reality in january when i dropped out, went to iowa with my family to see grandparents, then took up my pack, and walked off southbound somewhere around the mississippi river. that night i stopped under an interstate bridge in louisville kentucky, warm enough with my sleeping bag wrapped around me, protected from the weather, and felt incredibly free, free of twenty years of school, of everything, and thought, darn if i won't see a little before i do anything else. to this day i have no idea why i chose the south- maybe it was because it was january, maybe it was because deep down i suspected that stereotypes they put into you as a youth are just that- and one's first goal should just be, to find out how wrong they were.

turns out the traveling life maybe wasn't as free as it seemed that first night- and, a person like me takes with him all the doubts, anxiety, baggage i'd had before- no easier to shed, when you're not living someplace where you can work on it. a year and a half i ended up traveling- guatemala to alaska, i've laid some of it out on these very pages, and sure, i look at it a little differently now than i did then, but then, that was 1974 and 1975- the world was a lively place, and it was hard to even picture myself finding a way to fit into it.


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