Holed up

I am hiding out in Grand Forks, working on finishing the book on the Halstad teams. Today was a success. I finished an entire chapter. Now, it is to sustain the effort.

I worked on the UND campus today. The place is buzzing with students. Classes started yesterday. I got some free ice cream from a sorority which had a stand outside their house.

Man, am I a long ways from the college scene. Sometimes the kids seem charming, other times they are inappropriately cocky. At all times, they are far too obsessed with social activity for my taste. It isn't that I'm getting old, either. I hated the college social scene when I was in college. It seemed so hokey, all those contrived activities which were supposed to be so cool. Let's jump on a trampoline for 24 hours to raise money! Let's build snow sculptures! Let's have a pie throwing contest! Let's eat hot dogs until we puke!

Then, of course, there is the unofficial excess. Let's play drinking games where if you lose, you have to take a shot of vodka! I never understood that. You come to a party to drink, then if you lose, at the game, you have to drink. Dumb. Never could understand what that was about.

There was a fair of college organizations today outside the Memorial Union. You could join any of about 120 groups. Snowboarders. Pro-lifers. Pro-choicers. Women in Communication. Ten Percent Society. Student Art Collective. Lesbians for Peace. Campus Crusade. Phi Beta Gamma. Phi Beta Kappa. Phi Beta Crappa. Student newspaper. Junior rotary. College is a time when people think they can change the world by organizing, so it is pretty harmless.

In fact, they used to tell us that the single best indicator of future success was not one's grades, but the level of participation in student groups. I always wondered about that, but now I understand. If you're going to succeed in a stupid big organization like a company or governmental agency, what better way to be trained than getting involved with a big stupid organization in college?

Only three students in the fishbowl at the library. That is the big glass enclosed room at the Chester Fritz which is a designated quiet area for study. I enjoy working there. As an undergrad, I went there daily and studied for about ten minutes, then fell asleep for four hours, got up and went back to the dorm and stayed up half the night doing nothing. Today, one of the students in the giant room fell asleep. He was an undergrad, and I sympathized. When he awoke, he walked past me and mumbled, "this room is a cure for insomnia."