“I grow warm, I begin to feel happy. There is nothing extraordinary in this, it is a small happiness of Nausea: it spreads at the bottom of the viscous puddle, at the bottom of out time – the time of purple suspenders, and broken chair seats; it is made of white, soft instants, spreading at the edge, like an oil stain. No sooner than born, it is already old, it seems as though I have known it for twenty years.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, La Nausée
What is it about French Intellectuals?
It began in Professor Hagen’s Existentialism class in the spring of my freshman year of college. I was 18. I had met many many new young people from all over the country and from Sweden and Norway too. Kids from Sweden and Norway had been recruited to the University of Utah ski team. There were only three small dorms at University of Utah with one shared cafeteria, so all the kids who had wound up at University of Utah from beyond Salt Lake City became familiar, by appearance if nothing more, with each other. The remainder of the undergraduate student body was composed of kids who commuted from Salt Lake City and these kids were by and large Mormon. The dorm kids fell mainly into two categories. There were lots of kids from all over the country who were ski fanatics. They were here at University of Utah because they basically lived only to ski. They talked about skiing all the time, their dorm rooms were filled with skis and ski equipment, walls plastered with ski posters. The other large sector of kids were athletes who’d been recruited and given scholarships to U of U. University of Utah was number one in the country in women’s gymnastics and my freshman dorm-mate was rated #14 in the United States for women’s gymnastics. There were lots of enormous muscular boys, black and white, who were football players. University of Utah was competitive in tennis and we had lots of top-notch tennis players among us. Another sub-category of the people who comprised the dorm population were ballet majors. I had never been around ballet dancers, but they made up a sub-group who were entirely recognizable. They had perfect posture and they walked gracefully with toes pointed outward. Their hair was always perfectly coifed, usually into a neat top-bun. They were lithe and pale and sometimes didn’t wear much make-up. When we had dances at the dorms, these graceful creatures were comfortable and remarkable on the floor.