If I had a column in the Delft op Zondag

(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag


27 AUG 2017

DELFT - I am one of the lucky ones who was able to attend a state college, the University of Texas at Austin. Eventually, It took me 5 years to obtain a degree - in Geography. That meant I could find almost anywhere on a map, but it was not much help finding a job.

At school, there was a group, an association of misfits, permanently sour and given to drama, which drew me. Complaining was fashionable. There was always plenty to make witty remarks about. Work was seen as slavery to the hated Corporation's Empty Suits. We talked of Satre's No Exit, which is not cheery reading. Some of that crowd remained in Austin and are still there. Some of them sell hand-crafted jewelry on the street; some have made businesses (like Whole Foods) for themselves.

Students' Day

"Sometimes, a person living in Delft - or maybe visiting - does not realize that there is a Technical University here. Engineering is its most well-known curriculum; however, it is like most other large universities: it is populated with young people."


Most importantly, my parents were not around to monitor and guide, except on weekends when I brought my dirty laundry home to get it washed. Otherwise, I was free to fly into the sky, directly at the sun. Having a job after a few years in school was on my list, but there were really fun and interesting things going on which distracted me.

Fairs like the one in Delft reminded me of the excitement of school. The faces were happy as people chatted with one another about identity, commitments, hobbies or simply desire to join something. For a few years, they would be subsidized, did not yet have children, and were exempt from the tedious business of making a living. Plenty of time to grow up; that was for later, not now.

Thus on my Monday errands, I went to the Grote Markt / Big Market in the center and saw it filled with colorful theme pavilions, bright displays to catch the eye, and sincere invitations to a fuller school experience.

If you lined up 100 people in front of the New Church and another 100 up along one side. Even my math comes up with 10,000. The place was packed. The people I saw were what I call 'young', most ranging from 17 to 21.

When I was in school, the first years were spent with old friends from my home town. Gradually, I met new people, from much different places. There was a tug of war between the two sets, but the draw of newness won.

The lure of so many more people to look among to find that one person who was going to make life, if not sensible, at least warm and supporting, was too strong. Other ways of seeing things flooded me.

Time does not slow while we explore ourselves and moves on to yet another day, while most of us are wondering where all the good times have gone. Piff piff. Enjoy. Reach for as much as you can, for this too shall pass.

G. Wiley / NLStrabo - © Copyright - All rights reserved - gwileynl@gmail.com
In memory of Herb Caen