Soledad en masa

Leave me in peace

with 4 comments

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.


Written by soledadenmasa

June 23, 2008 at 1:35 am

Posted in College, Family, Summer

4 Responses

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  1. I understand what you mean. I grew up with the loner/private instinct as well, and though I like people I can manage being on my own just as well. But others humans or mostly okay. 😉


    June 23, 2008 at 2:20 am

  2. You stole a page from my coming memoir!

    On community colleges: As a product of one, I’d say you were a bit harsh on jucos. I’ve found them a great place to work out any trepidation about majors and, in this day of ever-escalating tuition fees, I think they’re also a great way to save money rather than take out massive loans and bury yourself in them just for the honor of saying you went directly to a four-year. My two pesos.

    Gustavo Arellano

    June 24, 2008 at 5:13 pm

  3. Gustavo,
    You bring up great points about attending JCs, but I did note that economic reasons are a good reason for attending a JC. What really got to me here is that her counselor has essentially given up on her and told her to go to a JC, though she is about to start her second year of high school. It’s really hard to transfer to four-year colleges and, if someone has the grades to go to a four-year, they should.


    June 26, 2008 at 7:33 pm

  4. My lil sister is in the 11th grade…attending a good high school (Torrance School District, my dad lies on his address) and is in AP classes. Problem is her grades are just short (she wants to be an electrical engineer like me) of attending a four year college of my choice (say, UCSD, UCLA, or even USC)…so I’ve recommended she attend JC and retake some of her GE and math and physics classes. This will allow her to get really good grades, thereby bringing her GPA closer to 4.0 and almost guaranteeing her admission to these schools. And if she doesnt make the grades, then its a better indicator that she shouldn’t be in such high demanding schools. If she applies with her current high school grades she will probably get into the higher end Cal States (LB, Northridge) or even Cal Poly.

    So my logic is two fold: by going to JC’s instead she is guaranteed at the very least what she would have been accepted to anyway…with the upswing that she may improve her grades and be accepted at faster paced universities. Second, by going to JC’s first, its a better indicator of what she is really capable of. The last thing you want is someone unprepared for the demanding UC course work attending a UC.

    What do you think? Am I making a wise decision? What would you do in my situation?


    July 4, 2008 at 7:04 pm

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