Just Give Up

Watson, Erin Campbell

This column isn’t about love. It’s about a lack of love. I am resentful. I tried to write a column about Valentine’s Day, which is a holiday I actually like, because my mom always sends me sweet presents, like clothes, that are generally red, which is my favorite color, and because everyone else is in such a bad mood, I generally look like a somewhat cheerful person. Despite my uncharacteristic love for Valentine’s Day, I found the topic incredibly challenging. Here is the thing: winter is a bad time for love, especially at Lawrence. I know no one is about to fall in love with me or any of the other parka-wearing zombies I run into accidentally when I have to leave my room to go to the VR. I have spent three and a half years in this Arctic climate, and this is the winter of my discontent. I am recently beginning to come to the realization that I’d had virtually no good relationships, and that the one that would have to be considered my best ended after three months in the middle of my senior year in high school with a shouting match during yearbook class.
My mother, Valentine present-giving ability notwithstanding, recently told me I should become comfortable with the idea of being alone. I have no idea why this paper hired me to give love advice — I mean seriously no idea — I think it is supposed to be a sick joke or an example of cronyism in the most offensive degree, because my brother is kind of my boss. My usual source material has taken a turn for the utterly ridiculous and become entirely too self-deprecating. So instead, I’m going to take a week off and write about something I’m good at: being resentful.
I am resentful of all of my friends who have transferred, graduated or otherwise hightailed it out of here. This waiting time, in between the security of being protected by the safety of a small liberal arts institution with 1,400 of my closest friends and enemies, while also being treated with all the privileges of a normal adult, including being able to drink legally pretty much whenever I want, is confusing. I want to be able to go to sweet parties every weekend with all of my friends, where there are plenty of people acting embarrassingly of whom I can make fun, but I don’t want security to take my beer away while I’m there. I want to know all of my possible dating prospects, and see them all in the same place, and feel comfortable with people before being thrust into romantic situations with them, instead of having to go on terrifying blind dates or meet prospective boyfriends at chotchy singles bars, but I don’t like that the entirety of the Lawrence campus feels free to judge, observe and comment on my every step and misstep, and I resent the fact that the opinions of 1,399 people are considered in every relationship decision I have or haven’t made recently.
I don’t want to eat at Downer, but I really don’t want to make my own dinner, either, and I like having Hilda greet me at the start of every meal. I am also resentful that lately, upon entering Downer, I’m bombarded with solicitors asking me to buy things. Little do they know that the point of going to Downer is that it requires you to spend absolutely no money on anything, especially things you don’t really want. I did donate to the senior class, because I need a corkscrew, but I am not about to buy some cookies when I can, for simply a Downer swipe, enjoy some for free. After living in this climate, with these standards of appearance, for the past three years, I have begun to fail to see the need to ever look nice. I resent the girls who wear heels and makeup to Downer in the morning. I’m lucky if I can find a sweatshirt and get my teeth brushed in time for eggs-to-order. I am not about to brush my hair, because there will be people sitting next to me in flannel pajama pants. I resent being told that I look disheveled when I am simply dressing the way I have been conditioned to dress for three years. I am resentful because most of these people are underclassmen, who have not learned that looking nice is not part of the Lawrence difference — the underclassmen who have yet to make all the mistakes I have, and are still attractive friend and girlfriend candidates. I resent the fact that they will probably not even make half the mistakes I have.
I am resentful of people who have things that work. My iTunes is broken. I can’t listen to half the songs I want to, and I can’t download any new ones to make up for the lack of half my songs. My iPhoto is broken for some reason too, possibly out of sympathy for my iTunes. Recently, I tried to upload some photos from the last time I had fun, which was about 8 years ago, and my iPhoto just shut itself off, which is pretty much an accurate metaphor for the rest of my life. My sunglasses are broken, so I have to squint while I’m walking to Downer in my not-heels, and I can’t hide my hangover eyes as easily as I used to be able to, which adds to my overall unattractive appearance and personality. These hardships are the equivalent of abject poverty at an expensive liberal arts institution, and I want to make you all suffer with me.
I can only imagine the fallout from this column. People will probably begin to give me a 3- or 4-foot berth whenever they see me. That will be kind of nice, especially in that area right after the land bridge, in front of the Beta house. People get pretty touchy in that area around the ice patches. They will probably also write some angry letters to the editorial staff about how I am a bitter person who is doomed to be a spinster forever, like last time I wrote a pretty honest column. Since those accusations are true, I will not be offended. But you know what, I resent that too. Why can’t you pick up on my sarcasm, Lawrence? I wrote this column while listening to the latest hit featuring T-Pain, “Cyclone.” Surely I am not serious! Why do you meet my snarky columns with serious responses? I resent that. Above all, however, I resent the fact that in a year’s time, I will have no outlet for my resentment, and there will be no one and nothing left to resent anymore.