taking joy in human unreason

Rose-Hulman I.T.

For those not interested in a long description of my trip to and from Terre Haute, Indiana to visit Rose-Hulman, I’ll give you short version. The only good thing about the trip occured from 10:00 a.m. on Friday until 4:00 p.m. when I walked the campus, took a tour, talked to students, etc. The rest was hell. I’ve also decided to go there for college. I like the school.

The longer version, for those more interested in the nitty-gritty… Where to begin? We took the Rat with us, who was sick with “allergies”. I happen to think her doctor is incompetant, as she sounds like she has tuberculosis or pneumonia, but, then again, I’m not qualified either. It was a twelve hour trip there, complete with piss breaks entirely too often, one barfing incident, and an impromptu side-of-the-road piss break ten minutes after our last stop. She cried. She yelled. She hacked all over the back of my neck and my pillows and my blankets. She stayed hungry and thirsty, but never for what we had. She redefined every stop, every turn, every action taken to be in terms of her needs and wants. In short, she was a typical sick three year old. We weren’t even in Gastonia before I wanted to do real, physical harm to my father. I can’t count how many times I wanted to pull my pencils from my purse and stab myself and my mother in the ear repeatedly to put us out of our misery. I couldn’t even read much, because it got dark, and because I had to help out with the Rat.

We arrived at the motel (and quite the seedy little Motel 6 it was, too) around 4:30 Friday morning. The people in the office had the nerve to want to charge us for two nights, and at a higher rate than our reservations dictated. Apparently, if we wanted to wait until 5:30 to check in, we could be considered as staying a single night. We quickly absolved them of their ill-conceived notions and they let us stay under the contract of a single night, for our lower rate.

I let everyone sleep until about 8 o’clock, and although my mother still looked liked she’d been smoking reefer (she had red eyes, for those not familiar with the effects of marijuana), we set out to see Terre Haute and Rose-Hulman. But first, damn them for having stomachs, we had to stop at IHOP for food. While I sat tense with fury in my seat as Ali hacked and coughed all over everything and everybody (she refuses to cover her mouth) and wiped her nose all over her shirt and sleeve, we quickly ate and left. She really was a biohazard and should have been locked up.

But then… then we got to see Rose-Hulman, hereafter refered to as RH. I thought it was beautiful. My mother was more critical of everything, of course. “There are no blacks in the town.” Okay, so the town/city was rather… homogeneous. “These building look run down.” Yes, some of the residence halls don’t look particularly beautiful on the outside. Yackity-smackity. But I did consider her criticisms. Really. From ten in the morning to 4 in the afternoon, I walked the campus. I stood outside of a chemistry class (hidden) and listened to the style of lecture. I walked around the bookstore, the dorms, the labs. At one point I actually attended a guided tour, but I had already been to most of the places anyway. I got to step inside a dorm room. I learned about their open-door policy; people hardly ever close their dorm doors, and never lock them. Nothing is ever stolen from rooms, and people leave their laptops, money, etc., laying around and trust that it will be there when they return to their rooms. And it is. There’s no cut-throat competition for grades or rank. Group work is emphasized (because that’s how it is in the work-force) and there’s a genuine sense of community among the 1 800 students. I later got lost trying to find the computer imaging lab (which is apparently kick-ass), and was helped by two separate people in getting out of the building in a very friendly manner. I could go on, but I won’t. I fell in love.

The guys were… whew. For a bunch of nerds… Wow. Yum. The girls were nice and stuff too, and didn’t seem to have chips of their shoulders or anything, but… Yeah.

I thought the dorms were roomy (although my mother didn’t) and comfortable. Everything is movable and you are allowed to construct lofts with your beds. There were some pretty interesting setups; apparently one guy (remember, this is an engineering school) built a hydraulics system for his bed. Very cool.

But I won’t go on. It’s a beautiful school in multiple ways and I am so there as soon as possible. And not just to get away from my parents.

Terre Haute was a funny place. It was like a step back from the almost-could-be-a-city of Charlotte, and a step forward from the “oh look, it’s some of dem there colored folks” of Decatur, Texas. There seem to be about two main streets of Terre Haute; one contained Indiana State University and the other contained RH. There were more car dealerships than you could shake a stick at, but none had new cars. There was no downtown in the tradition sense of the word; you were either in town or out of it. But they had a Books-A-Million and Joe Muggs, a CompUSA, a Staples, a Chi-Chi’s (one of the best Mexican restaurants, which doesn’t exist in either Texas or North Carolina), and an Olive Garden. Yet my mother was told she could find a clinic for the Rat “at the edge of town”. It’s a study in contradictions. I didn’t get the feeling that the town was booming or anything, despite the stores. In fact, the glittery Old Navy and the huge red sign of the Staples looked very much out of place in the low sprawl of the area. But everyone we talked to was nice, service in the restaurants was great (a definite contrast with Charlotte), and everyone praised RH as a great, tough school where you really get your money’s worth, and more. I’m so there.

And now I’m so sleeping.