Sitting in the middle of our mostly conservative, largely evangelical city is a small, private, liberal arts college. One of my current tutor students goes to school there, and we have our tutor sessions at the campus library.
I was there yesterday when he called and said he was running a few minutes late. No problem, I would just wait for him inside the library doors. I picked out a comfy chair and began observing the comings and goings of these rather boheme students.
As with first impressions upon meeting another person, I was first struck by the appearance of these kids. They all, particularly the males, had a rather disheveled rather homeless style to them. Hair, relatively long and unkempt - many with knit hats ala thrift store sitting atop. Shaving is probably not a daily activity - more like weekly if with any regularity.
As I continued my surveillance, I couldn't help but feel the comfortableness that each of these students seemed to be emitting. Yes, they were dressed and coiffed in a very relaxed way, but there just seemed to be this overall atmosphere of grungease.
I found it quite refreshing and relaxing sitting there. Being the private college that it is, the tuition is not cheap and I know that many of the students come from rather affluent families, but I detected no sign of pretention among them, with their genuine friendliness and I-sleep-under-a-bridge fashion statements.
I actually felt a bit overdressed and overcombed as I sat among them, but if I were to grunge things up to help close that gap, I would violate my company's dress code.
After about 10 minutes, my student entered. His familiar, fully-bearded smile as he walked up wearing a nondescript hoodie and similarly generic baseball cap atop his rat's nest of a hairdo, caused me to smile too, in recognition of just how well he fit in. I wondered if he'd just awoken from a nap...
... from under a bridge.