Claustrophobic Colgate
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Claustrophobic Colgate

The weirdness of living on a tiny campus.

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Claustrophobic Colgate
HBO

When I went to get in the shower this morning, there was a not so little spider chilling out along the bottom edge of the wall. After a huffy sigh in his direction, I decided instead of letting him get away while I ran to grab a shoe, I’d just let him ride the slip and slide and splashed him down the drain. I’m not proud of it, but that shower is not big enough for the two of us, and I needed to shower in peace and center myself for the day. I’m convinced that I suffered from bad karma afterward when I burned my finger on my hair straightener a few minutes later; my middle finger, as if that spider was taunting me, saying “f* you, you mean woman”… I probably deserved that, whatever. Alas, prior to the finger incident, while I was enjoying my blissful shower and waking up, I started to wonder, why I felt like that space wasn’t big enough for both of us to share. I realized I seemed to be feeling that way quite often lately, and not just in the shower, but all over campus. It wasn’t so much that I feel there isn’t enough space around here to share, there certainly is (we are basically in the middle of nowhere) but that socially, Colgate was starting to feel a little snug.

Throughout these first three weeks of this semester, I have become acutely aware of who knows who, moreover that everyone seems to know everyone, and probably everything as well. This can be a wonderful feeling, like when you walk into a crowded dining hall and see lots of friendly faces. It also can be rather a funky feeling when you walk into any given room and see a variety of faces that you know from other sorts of friendly encounters, you know, the ones that are maybe a little too friendly. It’s even more awkward feeling when two of your too friendly friends are together talking and laughing like it’s no thing at all, meanwhile, you’re trying not to turn tomato red, and in the back of your mind a high pitched voice is shrieking in panic:

“Do they know?!”

That question is rhetorical, circumstantial, maybe unanswerable. But it also raises a whole new host of questions and theories about what is, and what is not appropriate behaviors in a small social community, when it comes to sex habits, friendships, and general social interaction.

So what is ‘appropriate’ practice when navigating such a tight social community, especially in terms of the sensitive issue of sex? Should we even care, or just say ‘forget it’ and do whatever we want?

It’s not like we can just splash people away when the metaphorical shower isn’t big enough for us both and we want to be in a space peacefully, without fire-alarm resemblant questions blaring in the back of our minds as we try to breezily go about our lives. Unfortunately, there’s no way to ignore the mottled rules that dictate the ways we canoodle on campus and just go with it, it seems. We have to live in acceptance of our actions and the actions of others; the tight space forces us to do so. In an ideal world, everyone would have premier communication skills, good intentions, and no one would be on bad terms with anyone, especially given the confines of this tiny, familial campus.

But, let’s be real. Amongst any family, there is overlap, awkwardness and arguments. On every campus there is drama; where there is people there is drama, it happens when the elusive but important code of sex and relationship conduct is broken, breached, or simply unacknowledged.

Like when you find out you’ve hooked up with the same person your friend did the weekend before, or that the person you hooked up with last week is roommates with person you’re hoping to hop to it with next, and that person knows your best friend, who probably secretly thinks you’re adorable, but doesn't tell you and tries to combat the feelings by hooking up with one of your other best friends, not knowing the two of you had hooked up before break, and that third best friend is probably on the same team as your bunk-buddy from first semester of freshman year, who now lives across the hall from you and is getting snuggly with someone upstairs and doesn’t know you know and tries to get snuggly with you too, there’s kissing and telling and secrets, and there’s a whole lot of things going on that don’t make sense and it starts raining gum balls and you can actually see the dots between everyone connecting with bright flashes… soon your whole universe implodes into one big, sheet-tangled mess.

Once the sun rises and the ashes settle the next morning (most likely a Sunday, it just makes sense), there’s a whole lot of permeating awkwardness, tension, and whispering.

So I don’t know what the standards should be to avoid said implosion of the social universe on a small campus, but also due to said implosion, that seems to be reason enough to follow some kind of code when dating, mating, and congregating.

I sway back and forth between musings of whether this social constriction is a good thing, because it means at the end of the day we are all connected and tied tightly together on this tiny campus, in true family fashion. At the same time, we are all tied together, and there’s not much opportunity for escape. Either way, the smallness and strangeness of everyday life on a little campus is nothing short of exciting!

Whether other people share these sentiments and confusions I’m not sure, these are thoughts and feelings I’ve been cognizant of the past few of weeks being back at school after a long break. In essence, living on this little campus has its ups, and it has its downs, but ultimately it probably is better to have lots of friendly faces, some too friendly faces, and some of the tension created by two faces, than to have no recognizable faces at all.

Unless it’s the face of a spider staring back in the shower. That’s not a face anyone really needs, and I’m going to be honest and say I’m not sorry for putting him on a slip and slide ride, I’ll take the karma induced hair straightener burn and move on. That little guy could’ve ended up in a lot of too friendly places he did NOT belong.

Cheers to making too many too friendly friends that are not spiders (hopefully)!

xoxo- Abby

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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