Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Outsider

I spent President's Day running errands, exercising and visiting my alma mater. I think everyone should visit their college campus regularly after graduating. As a student, you constantly stress about papers to write and exams to take, that sometimes you don't get a chance to sit on a bench and absorb how beautiful the campus is. Today I got a chance to do that.

I believe that to experience Temple in it's full glory, the best time to visit is the beginning of fall semester. Regardless, I still had a good time. Many things were familiar (trucks, office workers, buildings) and many were new (there is a 7-11 and Dunkin Donuts now, I don't know any of the students, and the biggest surprise, my old college paper!)

When I walked into the SAC I noticed all the sororities were selling baked goods downstairs. Like a soldier returning home, I traced my old footsteps to notice that much has changed. The SAC renovation is now complete. Now it is more commuter friendly. When I was a student I remember students sleeping EVERYWHERE (including class) but today I did not see one single sleeping student anywhere.

Finally, I saw a familiar face, but it wasn't an old friend ....... it was this mysterious Asian woman sitting upstairs at a desk on the same floor as TN. I have seen this woman for years, yet have never spoken to her. Have you ever seen her? She has long black hair and would always carry many bags and mysteriously show up to events where there would be free food. She looks like she could be around 40. I was never sure if she was a student or an .... "outsider." But how could one be an outsider for so long?

Temple is not like other schools. At Penn, outsiders stick out like a sore thumb (even if you are another student from another school.) But Temple is diverse, with students of all different ages. It is safe to be an outsider there, because it is so easy to blend in. Most outsiders come to college campuses for a purpose. It may be to promote a political cause (I found out after a few semesters that the leaders of the International Socialists Organization were Bryn Mawr students or not students at all), a religious one (remember Pastor Steve?) or to ...... sell Discover cards or some crap. Usually the outsiders would be loud and charismatic.

But the mysterious Asian woman was quiet and never did anything to attract attention. I've never seen her speak to anyone. My eyes never met hers. She walked fast with her head lowered. She read all the kiosks. I've observed her many times, but don't even know her name. I've never had a class with her or known anyone who has. I wonder what a woman like her would major in, I wonder where she lived, I wonder if she has a family. All these questions could have been answered if I just said "hello" and struck up a conversation. But I didn't. I don't know why.

I finally found the TN, which resembles a real newspaper office now. It looked cleaner and more organized. The students appeared well rested (maybe that's because it was a Monday.) Even the paper looks great. They changed some of the names of the sections (Features is now "Temple Living", Entertainment is "Out and About", and Sports is .... still Sports.) Instead of the "slave room" and individual offices for all the editors, it has a central area where all the cubicles are now. So there is better room for communication and less room for sex scandals. Speaking of sex scandals...

I saw nekkid pictures of Debbie Gibson, or rather, Deborah Gibson as she calls herself now. I am so disturbed. She was so clean-cut and pure. When I think of her, I think of 2nd grade innocence. Although dehydration expert thinks the pictures are fake, I think they are real. I shouldn't be that shocked I guess. She was just following the footsteps of Kimberly (from A Different Strokes), Tiffany (the singer), and Jesse (from Saved by the Bell.) Is Ms. Gibson doing this to avoid being the outsider?

Which former teen idol do you think will get nekkid next?
a) The Olsen Twins,
b) Zack and Slater,
c) Raven Simone
d) Kimmy Gibler,
e) Rudy Huxtable (the Chingy video doesn't count) or
f) Other


At 10:10 AM, Blogger MC said...

I need to visit Temple soon. I think I've been purposefully avoiding the campus for some weird subconcious reason. I can't wait to see the TN office!

E-mail me - we need to get together and either take a class or just hang out.

At 1:28 PM, Blogger Fly said...

Having grown up in the same town I went to College in has given me the feeling of being both the outsider and insider to the College Community.

As a resident of New Brunswick I despised the College kids cus they were so cyclical with their passion. For four years they cared about the town and community, and as soon as graduation came along they fled for higher grounds.

I realise now that I was hypocritcal for my thoughts as a young teenager cus as soon as High School came along...I fled too...to princeton, another college community. In princeton the atmosphere was always snobby, but not from the students, but rather the locals. Living near an ivy league doesn't give you the right to consider youself an academic elite by proximity.

When I returned to NB, I didn't return to town as a local, but as a student, and I became what you refer to as the "Insider". As an insider I noticed myself becomming condescending, particularly towards those who came back to NB to pick up girls at house parties and at Bars. I remember thinking, "what the heck are you doing back here? Don't you have a life? Didn't you do anything with yourself after college?"
this thought process solidified the feeling I get when I do go back to RU events now. I don't feel quite right. I think back on how things were, and while I see the how the city has changed, particularly by the sky-rocketing prices of fat cats and the lack of small and community businesses in the area, I also notice how the things I was once a part of have grown bigger than me.

HEPCAT parties for instance...while the average college kid doesn't know who I am, they do know what a HEPCAT party is. They do it on their own, and they involve themselves with the community more. The culture has changed. The line between insider and outsider in NB has thinned, especially as over crowding in dorms has forced alot of students off campus in to NB city apartments.

I think the dividing line between insider and outsider in NB has more now to do with age than it does with academics, so to put it simply if you are under the age of 50 you are still an insider.

Anyway...that was alot of babble...lets move on to the more pressing issue: who do I wanna see naked?

To be honest, I have my crushes from the 80s. I've seen some of these fake pics of tiffanny amber thesis and britney spears and countless other celebrities. Personally, I've always prefered to keep it to my own imagination. Maybe that picture you shared with me of Debbie Gibson was real, but I'd rather not believe it. You can say I'm in denial, but I'd much rather hold on to my innoscence than to accept that as a truth. However, if I had to pick someone, I wouldn't mind seeing Punky Brooster or Samantha from Who's the Boss in thier all and all. They were cute kids with braces back in the day, but now they are hot, well at least in Maxim they are.

As for Rudy, and the olsen twins...i met rudy when i was in the 4th grade - she came to our school for 3 days and was a complete snob and transfered out as quick as she came in. The olsen twins...well thats just wrong. Legal or not, they look like they are 12. My brother likes em, so he might disagree, but its just not for me. Sorry.

At 7:07 PM, Blogger rockstarandtheniff said...

i'd like to see skreech nekkid.


i have to get back to work.

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