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Monday in Fresno

So I’m here in Fresno, California, or ‘frisco for those of my friends who prefer to believe that’s where I am. Or that ‘frisco is an abbreviation I would ever use.

I’m joining Erik in taking classes at the California State University and living on campus. I’ve never stayed on a proper campus before because I went to what my brother Miles termed a ‘mickey mouse college’ in Central London. He may have been right – I graduated with a Higher National Diploma but most of the rides were shit.

The dorm rooms here are amazing. By amazing I mean like prison cells. Though if this were prison I probably wouldn’t complain too much as I have a key that lets me in and out of my room. Most prisoners would probably kill for this, or may have already done so. The dorms are set up as housing units -termed suites, though not in a Hiltony way- and each one has 4 two person rooms. There’s a little living area that reminds me of the waiting room of a rather unpleasant clinic (that I’ve never visited) with two mini fridges and microwaves. I’ve resisted the temptation to plaster my stuff with labels saying ‘Hands Off’ or ‘Touch This, You Die’, as it would be in my prison fantasy.

The bedroom has an extraordinarily loud and over-effective air conditioning system and two bunk beds. So Erik and I are on opposite sides of our room, separated by a long chastity desk and if he snores I can’t hear or kick him. I sort of miss the kicking.

There’s one bathroom, shared by 5 of us, with one shower and one loo. When I use it I like to remind myself of the thousands of students who have passed through there before me. This ensures I hurry the fuck up and appear unselfish to my fellow room mates.

The food is almost as bad as Erik warned me it would be and definitely not created with vegetarians in mind. But there’s a certain impulse that kicks in when you’re given a tray and the opportunity to take unlimited amounts of food for free. That impulse is greed judging by the amount of food that’s chucked into the bins. But I felt a certain degree of smugness as I loaded up my plate of salad at lunchtime. I fear the novelty will wear off fast.

The class seems good, there’s about 15 of us, mainly from California. I’m alone in representing Texas, which should horrify most Texans and I’m perpetuating as many stereotypes as I can. The course co-ordinator reminds me a bit of David Bellamy, the TV botanist that only Brits will be familiar with. I like him. We didn’t have to do any scary exercises today which is always my preferred way of starting things and we were told we could opt out of anything we didn’t feel comfortable doing. Why isn’t the rest of life more like this?

Tomorrow my plans include a run and a walk to Starbucks to get decent coffee. That’s not an oxymoron, just an assessment of the cafeteria coffee. Plus I need to come up with an idea for my solo show. Or not, it’s totally up to me. This is California. Like.