Jul 04, 2020
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‘Auspicious’ beginnings despite difficult, stifling circumstances

AUSPICIOUS IS A good word that describes a good beginning: a football season, a school year, a career.

Auspicious beginnings wouldn’t involve the dread of roommates stealing food, or their girlfriends’ nightly sleepovers.

It’s good to have an auspicious start. Feeling like you can accomplish anything is always a healthy, positive attitude.

It’s a word sometimes used around happy things like puppies and daisies, a word in the context of joy, hope and wonder — general good vibes of contentment.

My first days back were none of these things.

I checked into the dorms five days early, a service the dorms charge for. Just over $100 later, sitting around the room with nothing to do, I figured I should get my money’s worth.
I left the windows open and air conditioner on. I blasted “Highway to Hell” at all hours of the night. I flushed twice.

Maybe I wasn’t being fair — a week’s worth of tips wouldn’t buy two nights at a hotel on the bad parts of Blackstone.

Then again, comparing a dorm room to a seedy roach trap does a disservice to the roach trap, as anyone who’s lived in either could tell you.

It might be bitterness from years waning tolerance for cheeriness and cheekiness, but the cheery, cheeky dorm staff is often worse than any Ashland infestation.

Roaches — even the rude ones — don’t pretend to care about what you have to say, and don’t often have that glazed-over look in their eyes.

Moreover, moving in during a Fresno summer is never pleasant. Carting boxes, bedding and more boxes up a flight of stairs by your lonesome is less fun than it sounds, even in last week’s unseasonably cool weather.

Remember that during a Fresno summer, unseasonably cool still melts sneakers and burns souls to ash.

Auspicious.

But good beginnings hinge on something to look forward to, and isn’t there always something to look forward to in a new school year?

Anyone around last fall would tell you that the football team has nowhere to go but up.

Maybe a former Fresno State student living near campus won’t die — if he does, he’d be the third in three years. (Besides the shooting last semester, there was that fatal underage drinking at the old Phi Gamma Delta house back in January 2006. Welcome to Fresno.)

For generous, caring individuals, there are blood drives on campus to look forward to every few months. The generous and uncaring are directed to the free speech area instead.

And maybe, just maybe, the library — formerly a scenic, gaping dirt hole — will open ahead of schedule, and without a series of ever-multiplying scandals.

Fat chance of that if the athletic department gets involved.

That’s all just nitpicking. Auspicious circumstances thrive despite discouraging details.

Auspiciousness is surrounded by feelings of goodwill, when one is hopeful towards the future.

That said, my beginning is plenty auspicious.

I have a good feeling that my roommates will go to sleep at a decent hour, and not complain when I don’t.

The trick? I’ve got my own room this year.

I guess feeling like you’ve got an auspicious start doesn’t take that much.

Benjamin Baxter is a post-baccalaureate student working toward his high school credential in social science. He wasn’t a history major.

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