It is the usual thing when you have a bunch of 17-18 year olds in the same close quarters after a long period of absence. There is displaying, there is reattachment there is the settling into old roles. And there is drama. Oh the drama. I’ve missed the drama.
For one that got settled into a relationship from the outset, where it doesn’t seem like anything can really upset the relationship, it feels sometimes like I am watching a bunch of wild baboons displaying when I look at the ins and outs of the social games going on at any given time in my year.
There is one set that is entering a relationship with someone else, and they are all gung-ho about it. It is going to last forever; it is the loves of their lives. I fully expect people to jump up on roof-tops and declare poetry to the owners of their hearts. For others it’s a Roman amphitheatre, and the game is to draw blood in the cruellest way imaginable. For yet others, in between, it is a matter of drawing attention in the only way they can – by being loud and broad and huge in the vision and minds of others.
Whether you’re studying to become a hair-dresser or a literature snob, we all gather in the same halls and in the same spaces. First years and second years all mixed up. We’re only divided into years and classes, after all.
Though there is some segregation. In those spaces, the literature snobs congregate with other literature snobs by the mere fact that we know our fellows best. Hairdressers talk to other hair-dressers. Between the cliques ordered by interest and coursework, you have the river of teenage humanity moving from space to space, from clique to clique.
And in that holistic view of the school, that is where the drama occur. Driven by gossip and displays, of “that guy over there was remanded over the holidays and have to got to court in a fortnight and getting up on bits of furniture to get attention.
I think sometimes, when you look at things from this holistic point of view, that there is truth to the saying that we’re not that far from the savannah. If some bloke starts to jump up and down, beat a stick into the ground, and fling shit at others, it wouldn’t be out-of-place. Theatre, art, writing, the sciences – they are all mere tools in the social games between people. They are sources of the drama of humanity, and I think this places, and places like it, is where you can see the purest form of the interactions between people. Before it is layered and nuanced by experience and rationalisations and being better at hiding all this bullshit.
At the end of May I shall leave all this, and think I will actually miss it. It will be like losing one’s favourite petri-dish with the really interesting bacteria.