Things are going just swimmingly,
My friends Sara and Angela had some pet
fish. They even had a contest to name them in which the ladies
and gentlemen of the Whitis Court buildings submitted their thoughtful
suggestions. They were hardy, healthy salt-water goldfish gracefully
abiding in an aquarium of hospitable waters. One day, for their
seeming welfare and for hygienic purposes, my friends changed their
waters. Unfortunately, unaccustomed to the Austin water, the little
fishes perished. (I am not trying to be morbid.)
I often wonder
about those fish. I wonder how it must have felt—the
abrupt disruption of changing environments that hastened their
demise. I wonder how they died—was it just shock, or like
poisoning or suffocating or exploding? Angela and Sara told me
they died because their bodies were trying to reestablish equilibrium.
Freshmen are often jokingly called fish.
I too, then, am a fish. My environment consists of pretty things—bright
colors, poetry on the wall and art. I have made a space here customized
I have just returned from Spring Break. I
have recently received a new housing assignment for next year.
I realized yesterday
in about two months I will have to pack up and move out of my Austin
abode. Here in Austin, I know I do not live in an aquarium. There
is a flow, a direction, an ebb to my existence. The water seems
to regenerate itself. The ebb can be slow, or I can feel like I
am tumbling down a waterfall. Of course, in a riverbed there are
rocks and hooks. I can hit them or get snagged by them. I keep
moving. If the water is toxic, I find a hospitable environment.
I realize I both have control and I don’t.
I must move out in May and adopt another new space in August. I
have no choice
in the matter. However, I can tailor
my new space to my needs. I may claim other spaces as well…a nook in the
coffee shop or quiet undergrowth obscured by landscaping.
Change, change, change—I
have never adjusted this much. At the same time, I feel both out of control
and in control of the familiar immutable. Going home
for the summer is an aquarium. I didn’t choose it. My ancestors chose
the space I claim is my home, a possessive possession. Like the aquarium, home
a container, a repository for the familiar. UT seems to be a river. I keep
going with the cascades of the river. Notwithstanding, my actual dorm room
is my shared
I ask myself often if I have established
equilibrium. I am unsure. Spatially, I contend that I reached equilibrium.
I possess my private living
share the public spaces here at UT. Once in a while, I become a little peeved
I get bounced off an elliptical machine at Gregory after 20 minutes but Kristin
the Only Child is learning to share.
Equilibrium is a cogent consideration
in matters other than space as well. It seems to be a constant
quest to have the interpersonal, academic and corporeal
balance out, especially when daily habits revolve around the academic. Even
the balance can be established, an investment of energy is requisite to maintain
it. Then I ask myself a seemingly perilous question, one directly opposed
to common knowledge and conventional wisdom: What type of equilibrium is
Last semester my fixation was academics.
My courses were my lodestones. Right now, my focus has adjusted.
I am concentrating on my emotions
established, broken and potential. The question on my mind is, “Does
everything have to be balanced all at once, or can I direct my attention
on one thing at
one stage and then redirect my concerns to the previously neglected willfully
Even though I am pondering all of these important,
life-altering, transcendent questions of existence and being and meaning
and stasis and change, I really
need to figure out by what miracle I am going to get all the junk I brought
with me out of my dorm room. There is a lot of stuff on my side of the
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