Hedgehog has taken, inexplicably, to worrying about college. She grills me at least once a week, as I'm putting her to bed. She asks the same questions, I give some variation of the same answers, and it goes something like this:
Hedgehog (worriedly): so, I still don't quite understand about college.
Mama: well, what don't you understand about it, Hedgie?
Hedgehog: For instance, is it just a free-for-all like you said?
Mama: Not really a free-for-all... [it's a total and complete free-for-all, sweetie]
Hedgehog: So, how do you get to your classes and stuff? [will you walk me, mama?]
Mama: It depends on your campus. Some campuses are like little villages, like me and daddy's college. You can just walk to class. Some campuses are big, and there are little shuttle buses to take you around. That's how you get to classes. [When and if you go to classes]
Hedgehog: What do you do on weekends?
Mama: You can hang out with your friends and study, or eat pizza, or go into the city if your college is near one, and you can see a movie... [and go to a kegger, hook up, and make the walk of shame next morning]
Hedgehog: They let you go out like that? [Do you have to tell the teachers before you go out?]
Mama: Hedgehog, there's really no they at college. You're sort of like a grown-up and you can decide where to go and when to go there. [not really a grown-up, more like a clueless, overgrown child...]
Hedgehog: There's a lunchroom to eat in right mama? But, mama, where do you eat on the weekends when the lunchroom is closed? [I'm going to be hungry and confused. Like if it was the weekend now but you and daddy forgot to feed me]
Mama: It's a dining hall, Hedgie, and it's open for three meals a day every day of the week. [you'll still be hungry and confused]
Hedgehog: How long do they give you to eat? [Before the teachers take you back to the classrooms for reading time]
Mama: Pretty much as long as you like. We used to sit sometimes and talk for hours over coffee.
Hedgehog: But does it look sort of like my lunchroom at school? [come on, woman, give me something familiar to hang onto!]
Mama: Yes, but bigger and with more food choices. And ice cream. [and psychodramas enacting themselves at most of the tables]
Hedgehog: You know mama, I keep envisioning [that's a college-level word you've got there chickie!] it like a big building, like the Chrysler Building, and the bedrooms are on one floor, the classrooms on another, the dining hall on another. [I've been reading the Harry Potter books and I really hope it's going to be like Hogwarts]
Mama: No, it's probably going to be more like what I said, like a little town or village with buildings all around. [More's the pity, nothing like Hogwarts. The only magic you'll be practicing is pulling a paper out of your ass two hours before it's due]
Hedgehog: I'm a little bit worried about it. [I don't want to move out of my house and live somewhere else away from you and daddy and my toys and my hamster and the fairy canopy over my bed]
Mama: Hedgehog, it's a long long time from now, and I promise it's really exciting [and kind of awful] and besides, if you like, there are really good universities in NYC and you could live at home and go to school on the subway. [actually, daddy and I plan on home-colleging you. There's no fucking way we're ever letting you leave home. Even if you beg, which believe me you will]