They are like deer, these girls, like long-legged does.
I see them on the bus in the mornings, loping around campus in the afternoons. They are giggling with their friends, they are wearing short shorts, so that their perfect brown legs go on forever. They all have long, shiny hair, looped casually back from their perfect pure faces, or hanging straight down past their shoulders. They are impossibly young. Today in Jazz History we were talking about the best places in town to see live jazz gigs and one of them asked Is that a 19-plus bar? and I realized that I am taking classes with people who cannot legally drink yet.
If ever there was an incentive for me to want a drink, that was it.
The boys-and they mostly are boys, not yet men- aren't so bad, somehow. They're so far from perfect, with their skinny jeans and their fashionably awful goatees and their pimples. They're brash, some of them, and the rest are awkward and silent. Most of them, boys and girls alike, avoid looking at me. In my more paranoid moments, I believe it is because they believe they will catch my oldness like a disease. I know that really, they are mostly shy, or socially inept. Some of them are barely out of high school, after all. But some of them have so much more confidence than I had at that age. Than I still have.
On top of that, most of them know more about jazz than I do.
Okay, so there are many, many good things: the campus nestles in the north shore trees and is small and warm in the sun. I think that most of my classes will be interesting, and also my teachers, although I mistrust the one who memorizes all of our names right off and (mostly) correctly guesses what instrument we play. He is a little too pleased with himself. I see the boys and girls giggle at his barb-tongued remarks and think Either you're going to grow on me, or you're an arrogant prick. We'll see. I get to challenge two of my classes; Class Piano and Sight Singing/Ear Training which basically means I can do the homework and not have to show up, because I already know a lot of the material. That's cool. I like learning again, although my fingers stray too often to email and Facebook as I do my reading and writing. I must learn to be more disciplined.
I will go to sleep early tonight, so that more wrinkles won't form, so the Beauty and Fashion Police who surely roam the campus won't eject me for being too old, too plain, too out-of-place.
I will bide my time, and remember the old bumper sticker that reads Old Age & Treachery Will Beat Youth & Skill Every Time.