There are so many events happening on this campus, it’s ridiculous. Never in my life have I had access to so many activities. I develop early-onset arthritis in the knitting club on Saturday at 2 p.m., then stomp on a block of wood for an hour in beginners tap at 5 p.m.! A quarter of the way in, I realize the hike I signed up for is seven miles long and I’m too embarrassed to back out even though I haven’t had anything to eat yet and it’s already 3 p.m. and I am also wearing converse which are flat and have virtually no arch support so every once in a while I step on a pebble that is especially bulbous and almost fall into what might be poison ivy (but I can’t be sure because I was never a Girl Scout) with the Outing Club at 2! I’m convinced that I am in fact a delusional 90-year-old woman living in a very expensive retirement home who has lost all of her memories of adulthood. It would explain both my surroundings and the amount of naps that I take.
The similarities between Vassar’s campus and the upscale retirement home in my old neighborhood are further fueling my conviction in this conspiracy. Yesterday I walked into the Deece to have dinner and after climbing up the grand staircase leading into the dining area, I nearly took a brutal fall back down (Possibly out of shock, possibly because I’m a 90 year old woman). In the middle of what looked like a hotel conference room filled with tables, a crystal chandelier the size of a meteor was dripping from the ceiling. About a quarter of my tuition was dripping from the ceiling. Until that moment I was completely unaware that an upstairs to the Deece even existed, much less that it had been housing an entire crown jewel exhibit. I was having lunch with what I thought was a friend but looking back, it could have been a visit from a concerned great niece or granddaughter looking to make sure I’ve been consuming enough liquids. The only thing about the Deece that leads me to believe that it isn’t the dining hall of a retirement home is the lack of Jell-O. But man, could I kill for a Jell-O right now.
The student body is reminiscent of the retirement population in my old neighborhood as well. Walking around campus I see people on leisurely bike rides, people reading books on park benches, people wearing cardigans, people on their way to a knitting club meeting. All of these people, like my old neighborhood’s retirement population, have restricted sex lives, do not trust the government, and are desperate for social interaction. On Friday night my central social engagement was playing poker with six friends in our common room. This was a wild night in comparison to my other Fridays in which I have played charades, sung along to Elton John ballads in the piano lounge, and gone to bed at 9 p.m. To be honest, it was a little overstimulating. If I in fact have been living in a retirement home for the past nine weeks, I only have a few bones to pick with the establishment. For all of the money that I assume my children are paying for me to be here, I think it would be reasonable to request that I not be forced to climb four flights of stairs multiple times a day in order to get to my bedroom. After all, I am old—I might overexert myself and die. Secondly, I would appreciate more visitation rights for my family members. Oh, and on the off chance that I do die while climbing up the stairs, please do not bury me in the on-campus graveyard. I would sooner see my ashes be mixed with gelatin and cherry Kool-Aid and turned into the Jell-O that the retirement dining hall is so desperately lacking.