Third dream theme
UMass haunts my dreams. Twenty-eight years after I attended my last class, I still have three recurring dreams/nightmares.
In the second one, I am in my dorm room looking for my course schedule. I cannot find it. I go to some sort of gray administration-type building, hoping somebody there has it. Nobody there will talk to me. I do not know what to do. I start to run out of the building but I cant find the door. I am sweating.
In the third, I am lost in the textbook annex, looking for my books. Stacks and stacks of books surround me. Panic sets in as I discover I have not nearly enough money to buy them. I want to buy them, but I cant. I am sweating.
Now, still sleepless after all these years, I may not be able to shake the first two dreams, but I think I have a chance to erase the third. I work at a newspaper near the campus, I have a credit card, I am financially stable. Ill go back to the textbook annex, browse the stacks, and buy whatever I feel like.
I go there in the middle of the week and am allowed to roam the stacks by myself. I think this is great until I start browsing and begin to feel like Im in one of my dreams again. Questions begin to bother me.
Two math titles jump out at me: Discrete Mathematics and its Application, ($102 new), and Partial Differential Equations, ($75 new). Why are they being discrete? Why are they offering only partial equations? What are they withholding from us?
I turn the corner and
see another one, Mathematics: One of the Liberal
I begin to sweat. But I soldier on, although the prices are also beginning to bother me.
I am drawn to Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, ($89.35 new). On its cover is a drawing of a cat with an outstretched paw. Why? Is this cat real? And wheres its box? By looking at the cat, have I changed the nature of the book? Have I made the cost go up?
I begin to sweat. I shrug it off and soldier on.
And I see lower prices: Dont Shoot the Dog! ($12.95 new). Presentations of Self in Everyday Life ($11.95 new). Making Ethical Decisions ($6.95 new). I can afford these!
But I already know I shouldnt shoot the dog. I already know how to present myself in everyday life. And how can such an important book as making ethical decisions cost only $6.95? Am I doing the right thing by buying such a cheap book? I begin to sweat.
I keep walking the stacks. I pump myself up by telling myself if I can help publish a daily newspaper surely I can overcome my textbook anxiety.
Then I see it: How the News Makes Us Dumb. $10.99 new.
The temperature seems to plummet. I cannot even sweat. I am falling. The stacks of books are tumbling on top of me. I am succumbing to the textbook horror.
But as darkness envelopes me, one last title catches my eye: Splendid Slippers: A Thousand Years of an Erotic Tradition. And only $24.95 new!
I am saved. I reach for my credit card. I am happy. So happy, I decide I do not even need that textbook. I leave the annex, a bounce in my step if no books in my hand. I cannot wait to go to sleep tonight.
Lou Groccia 73