I had just finished two-and-a-half years at a community college and transferred to a “real college.” The meeting with my counselor was in late November, so the variety of classes were sparse, unique ones kicked to the curb. I decided to major in History. I have known I would do this since High School. I took one of my required History classes and a class about late 19th Century Europe. I decided to squeeze a Philosophy class associated with film in too, and a Religion class, and a Avant-Garde English class.
I had no idea what the hell Avant-Garde English Literature was, and I never found it, but the class itself taught me more about the current world than any history book ever would.
Basically, we studied Avant-Garde art movements, three to be exact. Futurism, Dada and Surrealism. But no student cared. My teacher told me she did not believe their was an Avant-Garde today and she thought Avant-Garde music was too “scratchy.” One girl on the first day explained to the teacher how her name was spoken. She said, “AH-SHA,” and proceeded to not show up for the next month. We listened to Dada spoken poetry to which all kids exclaimed, “This is not poetry!” A girl proudly stood up and stated to the class, “My father bought me Kafka when I was 12.” I found out who Kafka was just a week before. I learned how to pronounce his name that day. I sat relatively quiet in the class until a kid started talking about Descartes Meditations. I told him that a girl using the first meditation alone was reasonable and she did not have to connect it to the other five to make her point. He stared at me with an open mouth so wide flys could perch on his teeth. A guy and girl behind me often fought for the plug so they could charge their MacBook. A kid sat next to me on my left with a MacBook cluttered with his EDM remixes. The girl in front of me has a stretched background of Miley Cyrus on her MacBook. This is the education I get along with paying massive amounts of money for my private college. I also have a moderately big academic scholarship I am very proud of.
We had the standard kid who said the funny comments which everyone would chuckle too. He was extremely tall and when the teacher was not in the room he was, as everyone else was, completely befuddled about the Avant-Garde. There was also one kid, Drew, who would talk to me every once and a while. He carried a new book every day. He was big and had unique movements almost resembling a massive wad of clay. He made increasingly dry witty comments that flew over everyone’s head, including mine. He stated out the obvious. Kid’s scoffed at him, put heads in their hands. They probably wished for him to shut up, rot, or maybe even die. On a day when it was downpouring he fell into a bush, still came to class with cuts on his face. The kid who made the funny comments asked if he was touched in any way and that he would be pleased to give him a 1-800 number. Everyone laughed. Drew chuckled and looked at him saying “You’re not my therapist.”
Drew is an example of the untouchable and unexplainable beauty and mystery hidden in this world we live in. The product of trying to be a unique individual outside of the lines already labeled with big flashing lights and sounds, screaming, “FOLLOW THIS TO BE AN ACCEPTED UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL.” To be a member of society, you must be indoctrinated. It seems the indoctrination already happens years before birth, years before conception, years before the thought of your own existence. Drew’s place is already known, explained by the scoffs, the heads in hands, the “shut ups,” the wishes of death. He consciously knows this. In crude third-grade essence, he is a silent — but deadly — fart. He will always make his presence known without doing anything other than living his own life.
The ignorance of individuality. This is what I found through my own ignorance of the others around me. We all live such full individual lives filled to the brim with details. Yet you will always find others feeling they are one step superior than another, especially in the academic world. No one has time to fully enjoy another humans every detail, every footprint because we are so focussed with our two eyeballs. However, there is a class of people forever bound to do this exact work, the unspoken work, of making meaningless details conscious. History Majors. I can speak from experience that the breaking point of the mind is reading Manchester health records from the 1880s late into the night/early into the morning. You become the same goop that they had to dreadfully sit in.
It was a nice day towards the end of the semester, the class wanted to be dismissed early so we all pleaded about how beautiful it was outside. So she had the class outside. We talked about Nadja by Andre Breton. I attempted to answer a question about what I felt Breton was saying about fate.
She leaned in and said “What the fuck are you talking about?”