It’s Really Starting

I arrived on campus late this afternoon after dropping Louis (Carrie’s dad) off at the airport. He was the last of our month-long string of visitors. We’ve never had so many people visit us in such a short period of time. It’s been wonderful as a social experience and in terms of taking time off. It’s been tough in the sense that, well, that’s a lot of time to have houseguests. Despite my best intentions at the beginning of the month and attempts to stay focused on writing even with guests around, I’m seven pages short of my summer writing goal at the moment with a week to go and lots of appointments. It’s going to be close. Alas, the book will not be done, but it is a hell of a lot closer than it was in April.

Anyway, I arrived on campus and any denial about the beginning of the year was shattered. Lots of “discover McGill” flags hanging next to pots of flowers, entrepreneurs selling “Harvard, America’s McGill” t-shirts at the Roddick Gates, and everywhere I went, people. Young students walking in pairs or small groups with that beginning-of-fall optimism on their faces; mixed packs of parents and students getting guided tours of the campus by earnest tour guides; tents full of people t-shirts selling god knows what; and every so often someone who looks like a grad student or a prof. The libraries, which were my destination today, remained relatively empty, though even they have subtle marks of the mass arrivals. For instance, there used to be these lovely plastic bags right next to the automatic check-out machines, at least in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library. Now? Nothing. Maybe lots of people took them, maybe someone in the library was worried about lots of people taking them. It’s tough to say.

As is usual for this time of year, the energy in the air is infectious. Though I’m a bit wiped from hosting, I’m feeling optimistic about the new year, my seminar, and everything else.

Without revealing any names, a friend of mine who resides in another province has a daughter beginning at McGill. She delivered said daughter to school this weekend. My friend was floored by the dorm — and old hotel — but also struck that within a day, her daughter had two messages on the whiteboard on her door from boys asking her to call them. Her parting gift to her daughter? Condoms.

School’s in session.