As I was waking up from tonight's dream, in which I remember being vacationing with two other people and staying in an oddly-arranged hotel room with two separate entrances, and which I was in during the time the staff were cleaning, wanting to use the shower, I asked myself where the layout of the room came from. At the time, I guess I was aware that I wasn't in reality, but wasn't quite awake yet. An odd (and incorrect) answer popped into my head - church. Before I discuss that, I'll note that it actually, as far as I can tell, was a modified version of the dorm room at OSU I was in over the summer between my third and fourth years of High School (also explaining why there were two other people and the general feel of the place). That I thought of church surprised me - I haven't been to church for about 12 years and it's been completely absent from my thoughts. It brought back memories of a youth group director we had in middle school who, along with her husband, left town after a party - we all really cared about her. That is one of the things that's prominent in my memories - I cared about a lot of the people there, even when it turned into a mini-crisis for me during the confirmation experience (which was a big deal involving mentoring, visiting other churches as a group, etc) that I didn't believe. There were a few rotten people in the group (I remember a Wade Hurley who was composed of 20% clown and 80% malice), but most of the people I got to know there left quite favourable impressions on me. For me, it was effectively a subcommunity that opened a lot of doors. I don't know if I would ever feel comfortable taking part in another such community where the (theoretical) core is something I cannot believe in - it would feel similar to going to a Republican's club for the company, but I can see the appeal. I generally feel that I would not fit in at a Unitarian church - I think I would probably be turned off by the services, the rituals, and the careful dancing around the topic of gods and "greater abstractions", but sometimes I wonder. I think it would feel wrong though, that it might run contrary to my societal concerns. At the same time, tonight I realise that this culture doesn't really toss new adults to the wild as much as I thought before - after University they're expected to join (or focus on, if they already have) a church and make that their social hub. As I lack one, I'm missing a lot of things - ways to meet a lot of people to grow my social circle, a social identity/permanence/role within a much larger community, events, and the influx of things to think about that come from all of those and sermons/lectures. Of course, I have the University, which gives me a certain subset of those, but it's very different and some of the things it goes to some people are things I don't feel comfortable partaking of given age differences. Hmm.
Tonight there was a Psychology department party in the University Centre. The food was decent, the various groups were fairly cliquey, and they had some fairly bitter wine. The Anderson-Reder research group gathered sitting on the stage and chatted about trips that a few of us are making this month, a pair going to Japan, our Italian postdoc heading back to Italy, etc. Our pair of groups is more multilingual than most, I think, and the smattering of languages there was quite diverse. A bit of discussion happened over a coming Channukah/Christmas party at their house. I'm not really sure I'll go.
After I got home, I collapsed immediately on the couch, and a few hours later moved to the bed, had that dream, and woke up exactly at midnight. I then woke up, took the shower, and here I am, eating grapes and blogging. Weird. I've never been sure when to sleep when I get a good six hours well before I even think of going to bed.
Watching cats play with grapes is a delight.