My freshman year was pretty awful as I descended deeper and deeper into depression and apathy and was in denial about it, but it definitely had its share of nostalgia-worthy good times as well. There were a handful of people who really reached out to me and tried to be my friend. Sometimes I deliberately avoided them because I felt like being alone, but it was nothing personal. They were great. Most of them were from the dorms, but one of them, I'll call her "Andrea", just walked up to my table at the Marketplace (eating area) one day and asked to sit with me. I actually did the same thing a few times during the first couple weeks, but gave up on it after I never saw any of them again and felt like it was pointless. But she was around quite a bit because she had a ton of friends, and I got assimilated into those circles one at a time depending on which was around when she and I both were. Some of the people I already knew from the dorms and some I didn't. They were very diverse - white, black, Native American, Dominican, Brazilian, Taiwanese, and Japanese are the ones I remember.
One of them that I already knew, Kami, seemed particularly close with her. One day - I've told this story before and I'm not sorry - Andrea took me aside and said, "Kami is very concerned that you've been flirting with her all the time lately, and she thinks she must be leading you on somehow, and she doesn't know what to do." And I tried to think back to what I may have said or done that could have been interpreted as flirting. I could only think of one thing. One time when we were all at the Marketplace, I had said "You turn me on", and I don't remember the context but I was responding to a statement, probably by her, and I meant "you" in the broad generic sense. I could see how that could have been misunderstood. Other than that, though, I had no idea, so I didn't know what I should say or do differently and decided the best course of action would be to just never talk to her again. Shortly afterward I was called as her home teacher.
One evening I saw Andrea at the library and felt like I should go talk to her, but I wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone so I didn't. I never saw her again. I still saw some of our mutual friends around, of course. One of them was in Religious Studies with me. I had assumed she was from Taiwan because her circle of friends all were and she looked like then, but when asked she revealed that she was from Colorado. I made that kind of mistake more than once. Anyway, she was in this class with me and I asked her one day, "Do you remember me?"
"No," she said.
"We met through Andrea," I said. "Do you remember her?"
"No," she said. "What does she look like?"
"She's tall and thin and has glasses and big poofy hair and..." And then I didn't know what else to say because I wanted to avoid mentioning that she's black, because that would be racist, because I wouldn't mention that a white person is white while describing them. Since then I've decided that it wouldn't have been racist after all because this is Utah, and it's just logical to assume that a person is white unless otherwise specified. If we were in Florida it would be different. Anyway, this girl still didn't remember her.
Over the years, I occasionally thought of Andrea and figured I should ask Kami if she was in touch with her and could get me in touch with her, but there wasn't a particular sense of urgency so I never did. Then last week, on the day of Debbie's surprise party - as if I needed another reason for it to be one of the best days ever - Kami sent me this.
So the day after when I was no longer busy with Debbie's party I did, and we're in touch now, and she's in Texas so I'll still probably never see her again but it was great to learn that someone cared about me enough to remember me and want to get in touch after all this time. She even remembered my then-current major.
David Arkenstone - Road to the Faire
I'm not sure why, but this song just screams "autumn" to me.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.