Inside I’m Really a Cheerleader

Posted on September 11, 2010


If you’ve known me a while, you’ll think this title strange.  I’ve had some funny, memorable, and irritating run-ins with cheerleaders in the past.  I won’t dwell on them, but briefly a few incidents involved rather archaic high school traditions and several more involved me attempting to do track workouts while also playing bowling-with-cheerleader-as-pins. Even so, inside, I’m really a cheerleader.

See, in four days, the madness commences.  Freshfolk will be moving into their lovely and some less-lovely dorms.  They will cry and they will scream.  We will smile and we will lift their boxes.  I got boxes lifted for me three years ago, and lifted others’ the year after, and now I am back a third time to lift and smile even more knowingly than I could before.

You might think I dislike the whole process.  We start moving boxes when the nighttime chill hasn’t yet left campus  and continue through lunch time.  We begin with overeager, over-early parents and move on to the laggard throughout they day.  We are shackled by our red “I’d love to help” shirts.  I love to help.

I don’t like to consider myself an inhibited person.  Inhibition is not a feminist principle.  But I am as awkward as the rest of them, maybe more.  I often can’t find the right words to say (unless I’m running, obviously), and I’m not good with crowds, though I’d like to be.  I don’t have a knack for hosting, teaching, or improvisation (or parallel structure).  I admire oratory cleverness and can’t claim to have it.

But on move-in day, I’ve got all the answers and smiles and none of my inhibition in sight.  Something about the adrenaline and heavy lifting perhaps, it makes me a wonderful conversationalist.  I make small talk about closets and mini-fridges and big talk about classes and college life.  I deftly move from one family to the next, reassuring and helping in a million capacities.

I wish I could say that this is energy I can tap into at all times–this not-quite-pep, this zing.  I can’t, though.  It’s part of me that only emerges in small doses and at particular times.  It is channeled by the magic of move-in.  I can only wait for another occasion full of such vibrancy, when I can be a bit of a cheerleader.   For now, I’ll look forward to Tuesday.

Posted in: Musings