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Goodnight, Oxford

Time November 29th, 2011 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Good morning! GOOD MORNING! Look alive! You don’t know how lucky you are. You, who has two more years to sit in the Magdalene deer park with a steaming mug of coffee and idly reflect on whether you should eat dinner from the silver platters of Hall or the damp wooden slabs of the Turf; you who has two more years to wonder if you should take your work to the ostentatious green dome of the Radcliffe Camera or the cozy leather armchairs in the Foreign Languages Library beside the Ashmolean. You. You! I wouldn’t kill for those years, it’s not in my style, but I’d give a lot for them; I’d give up television, perhaps, or soda. I actually don’t drink soda, so that’s not too much of a sacrifice, but I would give it up, damn you, I’d give it up forever in exchange for a little more time. I know it won’t work. That’s not the way the world works. Instead we walk until we start to jog, and jog until we start to run, cause we’re late! We’re late! For a very important date! But there’s only one important date—ask Lewis Carroll, he’ll tell you—and I got to say, brother man, I’m not sure you can ever be too late for that one. But you’re right, in a way. We are too late, too late to slow down, too late to stop the motion; come here, William, faster! Come on, faster! Wait, what? Oh, I… my God, you had it right. You had it right all along! Slow down! Slow do… ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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Splat! and before we know it we’ve gone past the point of no return and we’ve fallen out of the rabbit hole. If there’s one thing I don’t understand, it’s why everyone is so eager to be born. Hang out a little bit; you’ll look younger in fifty years. We weren’t born to run; otherwise, running wouldn’t make us tired. Which reminds me of a joke: why couldn’t the bicycle stand up? Because it was two tired! Ha! Now that’s what I’m talking about. Contra Mundum, Ryder? No way, the mundum had your back all along. It’s big ol’ Time that’s got your number, baby; he’s the one you should be worried about. Because when he catches up to you, there won’t be any revisits. What? What did you say? What do you expect? Brrring! Brrring! They’re calling for you. Wee woop, wee woop, wee woop. Pneumatic hissssss. Welcome back! How was the journey? And you think they’re going to follow orders when you say, “put me back, I like space?” Unlikely. Once you’re here, you’re here for good. So you better enjoy your time out there while you have the chance. I tried. I tried so hard. But I’m no golden bird, no dark tower, so the light’s gonna hit me in three days no matter what I do. I have three days in which to take my final pictures and condense my best memories, three days to crystallize my thoughts and emotions and feelings through words and images so that they don’t slip through the cracks of time like leaves down a gutter. It’s a daunting task. I won’t be able to do it. There are some things that will be lost, and it’s for the lost things I despair. Good thing I realized time was linear in one day instead of wasting the week looking for evidence that it’s not. That’s some consolation. And it’s not over yet. That’s another. WAKE UP! I set your alarm early because there’s so much to do. Even now my body is looking more like a shade. Why did I insist on getting nine and a quarter hours of sleep each night? Surely I could have gotten by on eight, and used the extra hour to walk around, to look at stuff, to touch things, to record another track of JWA’s Oxford Sessions. Did I say goodbye to the deer? Yes, that was yesterday, but I should like to do it again. Will there be time tomorrow? I’m not sure. I have to pack, and buy another bottle of Ben Riach, because I can’t get that at home, and I still haven’t been to the top of St. Mary the Virgin, which I’m pretty keen to do; I’ve heard the view is beautiful up there, even better than it is from the Sheldonian, and even though it’s more expensive I think it might be worth the price. I’ll have to compare it to the view I got from the Tower of the Five Orders—oh man, remember that? I thought that spiral staircase would never stop. I’d like to go back there, but I can’t, because it’s illegal, and I can’t go punting again, because they pulled the boats up for the winter, but that’s alright, because it will leave me time to do other things, like eat one more meal at Georgina’s or Pie Minister or Ben’s Cookies, that would be nice, an entire meal of cookies, one of every flavor, I’d eat one of every flavor that I haven’t yet tried. I want to try every flavor. I want to get it all in. I want to… ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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See? My fall is just as long as yours. But you! Yours hasn’t come yet. That’s why I’m jealous. It’s petty, I know. You have all the hearts, stars, and clovers, don’t you, because you don’t need to despair just yet. You’re still deep in the dream. Bleh. It’s hard to be upset with you, because you’re so cute when you sleep. Enjoy the dreams. Enjoy them by waking up. WAKE UP! Wait, sorry, that doesn’t make much sense. No, sorry again (those are British manners), it does. Lucid dream. And learn to do it now, because there’s no use finding the fountain of youth when you’re one hundred and ten. Learn how to do it now, because one day you’ll wake up for real, and when that happens nothing can help you, nothing can help you, NOTHING, not unless you can make like T.S. Eliot and try to hold still in the flux. You know, stop time. But even he failed, and although I’m sure you’re smart, you’re probably not on the same level as T.S. Eliot—who was? Yeats maybe—but you’re not Yeats, either, probably not, at least; I mean, you might be, I’m not saying that you’re definitely not, but you’re most likely not, so what hope do you really have? Even if you are, what hope do you really have? Oh. I’ll offer you hope. Realize that you’re running, you fiery chariot, and slow your ass down. Goodnight, Oxford. Well, not goodnight. I’m waking up. Waking up for good. So goodbye. Oh! But to dream once again in a city of dreams!

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