Come September, I packed up my Chevy Malibu and drove down to Santa Cruz from my parents’ home in suburban Portland to move into my grandma’s house and start my first semester of college. I should have been stoked as an 18-year-old with his own three-bedroom house right off of campus about to start his first year at a killer school, but I was far from. I was leaving behind my brand new girlfriend back at home, my dog, and I was still terrified of my grandma’s house. I tried to pull out of the whole out-of-state college thing just a few weeks before the semester started, but my parents convinced me to stick it out and set me up with a therapist to meet with weekly when I arrived to help me through it.
Things got off to a rocky start when I showed up. I couldn’t get a good night’s sleep in the house for the life of me and not just because the place freaked me out. Apparently crickets invaded the house while it was empty all summer and were almost impossible to get rid of. Their horrible chirping was perpetual once it got dark and the local exterminators were 0-3 thus far with trying to get rid of them.
Also, college was nothing like I thought it would be. One, it was a mountain of work. Two, everyone at my school was a crunchy hippy who I felt judged me on everything from the beef jerky I ate between classes, to my Nikes, to my Oregon Ducks football shirt.
I instantly became a loner. Just walked to and from classes and the store to occasionally pick up food and then locked myself back into the gloomy dim light of my grandma’s house.
The days turned into a rhythm.
Wake up late for class. Porn. Quick shower. Force feed. Fast walk to class. Get in five minutes late. Eat depressing lunch by self at the fountain in the quad. Go to other classes. Walk home. Porn. Frozen dinner. Porn. Seinfeld. Sleep. Again.
Until it started happening about a month into the semester…