A Nation of Brothers and Sisters

If I were a level, all the other levels would point at me and talk about how, “That level isn’t all there…she’s a few bubbles short of plumb…” Mommy levels would nod my way and in that one gesticulation, explain to baby levels about the “not the best, but still a good buy” furniture wave of ’83. And sheepishly, I would drag my defective rectangular prismic hulk, rendering shop class creations slightly imperfect throughout the land. Even on my more homo sapien days, though, I am still really imbalanced. I look to other people for advice on how to reach an even keel, but their ability to keep it all in check is blinding, really. I am not the man behind the operation when everything lines up. But I am the fox behind the trot when the scales tip further one way than the other. Take Friday night’s bowling, for example. I never got, say, a six or seven or anything like that. Instead, I materialized a medley of beautiful releases which produced strikes as well as premature discharges which sent the ball hurling backwards before second chances bore gutter balls and giggles. But occasionally, my tendency to overdo some things and slight others comes in handy. This paper, for one, is something that I put 100% into. Its completion never falls by the wayside, regardless of my rotting with death plague, research papers or debt of submitted material. Not to mention that I am happy in my journalistic travels, too, to be dealing with such a cohesive, hilarious and talented staff. But I have to doubt that I would slack even if my coworkers and friends on the paper weren’t so cool. For whatever reason, I just always muscle my way through whichever duties, daunting or delightful, that the Cynic chucks at me. Now enter my residence at Slade Hall, largely as a result of my dedication towards the Cynic. It actually pains me to write this portion of whatever I will amass when I run out of steam, because it concerns my lack of expression and, hell, attendance in my own house. I was lucky and fortunate and f***** privileged enough to be accepted to live in Slade Hall, UVM’s environmental coop and makeshift concert hall, but you would never know I feel this way. Moreover, you would never even know that I live there if you hadn’t heard from me that I do. For I am never there. As the unbalanced kid I am, my time management sucks so much that I rarely get to spend much time in the unique, wonderful, educational and downright fun place that is Slade Hall. I have not gotten the most out of living at this uniquely warm, welcoming and soul-filled homestead as a result of inherent and uncontested inability to focus and churn out. I take forever to contemplate, begin and accomplish every last thing I seek to do. And so, there is nothing I do and no one I know that does not resultantly suffer. However, there is nothing as much as Slade that I so ache at having arguably screwed over. I almost regret accepting a place in the best home a UVM student can have because I think that someone else could have both contributed and taken away much more than I will. And this makes me truly sad. Of course, as awesome as Slade is, it and all its children have given to me of themselves endlessly. Namely, they have taught me how not just to cook, but how actually to nourish people and hearts. The Slade opportunity is completely separate from any other one could receive at UVM. It instills into its folks lifeskills-honest-to-goodness, pure, helpful, practical, exemplary lifeskills. Note here that many of us who live there, or who quasi-live there, as the case may be when one is as thoroughly unbalanced as I am, are vegetarians. But prior to living in Slade, several of us were gorging on a very limited range of comestibles simply because we had little exposure to vegetarian cooking. There is no way that those of us who knew as little as we did before moving into Slade were intaking the proper balance (skewedam I, yet again…) of vitamins and nutrients. After residing in Slade for not even a month, though, everyone learned to cook at least two whole meals as well as countless sides and sauces that fortify themselves and their loved ones. These morsels are also as tasty as they are healthy. Much more importantly, however, is the fact that each chef behind each dish is just as amazing as every masterpiece he/she perfects. What a sense of family. I have never lived in such community before. I have never gotten the feelings I do in Slade from my own blood relations, and they have no choice but to love me. Every person in Slade is a loving, giving, complex, incredible individual. Anyone who is blessed to coexist with a Slader past, present or future is someone whose life is enriched from hereon in. No one but Sladers and their kin would be so willing still to call me Sister. My Slade siblings, I thank you and I love you for all that you are and all that you do. I cherish all the support and care you bestow upon me during the rough and tumble as well as the daily plight. I respect every single one of you. There is not one among you who does not make a celestial friend, lover, student, child, adult, guide, teacher, motivator, comedian, caretaker, contributor and human. And there are no exceptions to who will make astral spouses, parents, aunts and uncles and sources of light and inspiration. These, my family, are truisms, and I have seen them all. Indeed, I have missed out on much of what else has happened in our home throughout this year. But there are a few delights I know I have experienced firsthand. These delights, mi familia, are you.