Leave me in peace
I have lived most of my life in the outskirts. I have never enjoyed being in the spotlight or being part of the large group because I feel uncomfortable at being looked at by everyone or I feel slighted, somewhat left out. Birthday parties, large celebrations, you name it, I prefer being on my own than within a group. At most parties you’ll find me against the wall, talking to people or looking at the group. When I went to birthday parties as a smaller child, I tried my best to play with other small children, but Fate decided that most children at these parties were either newborns or older by about four years, which at the age of six is a tremendous difference. I also don’t have any much close family in Los Angeles, thereby isolating me more.
As I grew older, I naturally sought to keep quiet at parties, eventually taking books or a Game Boy to these parties and spending hours at the edge of a table and playing or reading under whatever light there was. I’ve burned through whole books at parties, like Riders on the Storm (the autobiography by John Densmore, drummer for the Doors). Sometime in high school, I stopped going to parties at all, stayed home and would either read books or do homework.
Even at my age right now, I feel too young to participate in the conversations that my dad is in and I am obviously too old to play with children, unless they are babies in their carriages. As I write this, I am in a park in Hawthorne with my parents at a meeting sponsored by a club, an association of people from the same locale in Mexico. However, I am at a reunión of people not from the pueblo I consider to be the home of my parents; rather, this is a club of the pueblo of origin of one of my grandparents. My parents joined it in order to get to know more people from her pueblo, possibly find some relatives, and just spend time from the same part of Mexico. Here it is layers of isolation for me. I don’t consider myself to be from the same place as them because I’ve never visited the pueblo. I know no one here, largely because this is the first of such reuniones I attend. While my parents already know a large number of the people here and my little brother has made a few play friends, I have my backpack with my laptop, my copy of Pedro Páramo/El Llano en llamas, City of Quartz, and the Harvard University Courses of Instruction so I start picking classes for next year.
I just heard one of the parents at this party talking to my parents about their daughter and her college plans. The mother said that her daughter’s counselor told her that the first two years of college are the same, what makes each college different from the others is the intended course of study. The counselor suggested that she attend a community college for the first two years and then transfer to a four-year college. I had to shake my head at this logic because of how hard it has become for transfer students to enter college and the counselor telling the student that she cannot make it into a four-year college out of high school.
Though I appreciate her daughter looking at college after high school, I am dismayed that the counselor at her high school is sabotaging her with this “go to a community college first” tripe. Counselors should do their best to get students to attend four-year colleges and not have to deal with the trouble of transferring later in their lives. If a student has the grades to attend a four-year college, they should. The only times I think a student should go to a community college before going to a four-year university after high school is if the student did not have the grades for admission into a four-year university or if dire straits force a student to not go to a four-year college. Rather than writing about this, I should be talking to her daughter about college right now, but I feel that a reunión is not the best place for it.
There are two men at this party, one playing a twelve-string guitar and another on the violin, singing mostly songs by Juan and David Zaizar, including “La palma” and “Indita mia”. These men are good jalisciences.
As I look around, my perception of la gente de los Altos de Jalisco is strengthened: most are light-skinned due to the large immigration of Spanish people to the region. I’ll go as far to say that most people are not really products of mestizaje, but rather products of intermarriage between all the Spanish families that came to Los Altos de Jalisco.
A few weeks ago, my mom asked me why it was that my phone never rang and I simply answered “No one calls.” I don’t give out my phone number to many people and I don’t enjoy talking on the phone. I have not yet established relationships with people where phone conversations are justified. I am now living with the people who would call me when I was away this past school year.
I’m so happy that next year I’ll be living in Cabot House. I really can’t live with other people my age. I enjoy my privacy and really need it in order to be happy. This past year, living in a suite with three other guys, I had a hard time studying because there were often distractions brought on by people coming by to visit or play video games. As much as I like being with people, I do not like being with them in what constitutes my house. I strive to have a clear distinction between my “public” life, which is social interaction, classes, work, mariachi performances, and club meetings, and my “private” life, which is where I live, where I eat, mariachi practices, and close friendships/relationships. I’m so grateful that Cabot House is in the Quad, away from the center of campus and the other houses. Most people will be dissuaded from calling me or showing up at my dormitory unannounced by being far from the other Houses and Harvard Square. Not to mention that Cabot House has the highest senior satisfaction numbers in the annual senior surveys and has great singles. Accommodation-wise, I have all that I wanted and could have asked.
I value my solitude. I cherish it. No one can take it from me.