You’ve made great time. Just under 4 hours and You’ve gone from St. Louis to Branson. You nearly dozed off while driving but
stayed awake by talking to friends on the phone. And look, you’ve only finished off one Starbucks bottled frappuccino. What a delight to have two for the return trip or for a morning pick-me-up. 11pm; just enough time to get some sleep and have energy for a morning run before the “Tuesday Tour”. The dorm suite is spacious and the built in drawers attached to the bunks are like the drawers on a craftsman tool chest.
“Yo, this is Jackson. Jackson this is B-rad and Travis,” said Jeff. Jackson shakes their hands.
“Hey its nice to meet you guys. B-rad and Travis, cool names. Sounds like a podcast about bicycles.” B-rad quickly rushes the conversation to the details looking to Jackson then to Jeff.
“So where are you sleeping tonight?” Jackson joins in looking to Jeff for an answer.
“Well you’ve got my bed and I’ll sleep on the floor.” Jackson thinks this is very Christian like and sincerely thanks Jeff.
“Thanks bruh.” Jeff motions that it is a small action of service.
“No problem man. So what’s the down-low with your Tuesday Tour? I’ve never heard of a college visit thats so long.” B-rad and Travis respond with interest.
“How long is it?” Jackson looks at the wall behind them to avoid their sudden gaze.
“Uhh 8am-3pm. I know, crazy. I don’t even know what it consist of.” B-rad looks to Jeff like theres a drunk guy doing summersaults behind Jackson.
“Every tour is like 30 minutes,” echoes the suite mates in an awkward chuckle of agreement. Jackson begins to imagine the emails and letters he had received to confirm his tour. Coming to an inconclusive state he tries to cooly utter the phrase, “Here’s when I find out I’m at the wrong college,” but he sounds more nervous than sure of himself. He finds an email on his iPhone 4s to the dismay of it confirming his hilarious joke.
“Oh come on,” snaps Jackson as his head sinks.
First You want to explain that you rarely make mistakes like this. But you don’t because you think that will only make you look more nervous than you already do. Then you realize that you actually don’t care about the tour. You really just wanted to drive somewhere. Maybe this is God’s plan. You’ll make the best of it; go to a coffee shop or something with the extra time.
You think of how close College of the Ozarks and Christian College of the Ozarks sound. It’s a witness to the dangers of multitasking; five college application at once, you should be surprised if something hadn’t happened. Still, You fear the embarrassment of Your fathers “This is why you plan ahead” speech and decide to conceal the mistake.
“Let’s just keep this between ourselves. Jeff? B-rad? Travis? Between ourselves,” Jackson interrogates the new acquaintances till he feels they get the picture. They all look back at him to see if he’s joking again.
It’s hard to tell if someone is joking if You’ve only just met them. Smiles are deceiving when they come from obligated social norms. It’s not really that important though. They’ve only just met.
Jeff shows You around the campus the next day. Theres the gorgeous chapel that was built in 1906, the different department building, the dorms and other commonalities that you would expect to see on a college campus. You manage to schedule a tour at the last minute. It takes about an hour because a third of the group are grandparents who need to rest every few minutes.
The tour ends and You get in Your car. Well, not Your car, Your father’s car. Your car just got out of the shop and Your father made the wise choice to be safe and drive his. So You’re in Your father’s car. It’s a Nissan Scene or Center something. You’re thinking about what to do with all your free time since the “Tuesday Tour” mistake was discovered. With Your iPhone 4s in hand You hold down the home button.
“Siri, find coffee shops,” the command is spoken without clarity and sounds meek. Siri, the gal she is, gives you a classic response.
“Calling Carol Hops,” replies the automated Australian voice.
“Oh come on,” detest Jackson.
“Coffee shops.” Siri responds slowly as Jackson watches the freaken spinning merry-go-round loading symbol pulse.
“Okay, I found a coffee shop not far from you.”
“Praise the Lord,” utters Jackson. He looks and the shop is only 2 miles off campus. He checks the Yelp review. Vintage Paris: Local Coffee and Cigars. Jackson turns the key in the ignition and arrives shortly after.
You get a table outside and set up a comfortable area to think, with the pour-over resting at your right. Soon others your age arrive on the scene. You recognize the t-shirt one of them is wearing and then the person wearing it, not their name, just their face. You think its a sorta “kay” sounding name but decide to engage in conversation without it.
“Hey, what are you doing here?” asks Jackson in a friendly manner. The old acquaintance looks just as surprised.
“Me? What are you doing here?” The acquaintance responds slightly caught off guard at the unusual run-in.
“I go to the College!” Jackson nods in a manner that suggest he suspected as much.
“Right on. Yeah, I’m here on um,” Jackson pauses and looks at the parking lot to his left as a couple is getting into their car. The pause is painfully long.
“Yeah uh . . . ha . . . I don’t really know why. Guess I’m sorta just here. Think I just needed to go for a drive or something.” Jackson thinks how odd it sounds to go for a casual 4 hour drive and end up at some coffee shop in the middle of nowhere. The acquaintance responds kindly, restraining any comments imposing obvious impressions of irregularity which Jackson is exhibiting. The acquaintance laughs awkwardly. The others turn their attention to the scene. Various individuals from nearing universities all overly interested in the new-attraction; A visitor. (Note: if any of the people I met are reading this, just remember this is a blog and not to be taken seriously. You’re all cool cats in my book. *End Note*). Time passes as Jackson talks to the students. They are unique in their own way making Jackson feel grateful he arrived at the wrong college.
You’ve made great time. You met new people and reassured Your social buoyancy. Perhaps all you really ever wanted was to get away. If not permanently than only to know You’re not trapped. If not to stat a new than to know you are capable non-the-less. Maybe You’re just insecure; a child hoping he’s not picked last. Then again, if You are picked last all you need to do is go the other way. Is that how cults start? You’re not sure. Then again You don’t think anyone in a cult recognizes themselves as part of a cult. You hope your not starting a cult.