Monday, December 3, 2007

moments of clarity and some side notes

As I stayed up until 4am last night to write a ginormous case study paper for my Politics of Africa class, hopped up on caffeine, a strange thing happened. I was grateful. This is not to say I wouldn't have rather been sleeping, or watching tv, or really doing anything at the 2am mark, but in one moment I suddenly realized that this year, (not counting a possible foray into graduate school), will be the last time in my life I am fully expected by all members of society to devote my time and energy to the sheer process of thinking. When you tell people you go to college, they're satisfied. They're not going to follow with a "so what do you do?" In a year I'm going to be 23, and people are going to start asking me what exactly I do, fully expecting some real answer. If I tell them, "Oh well today I read some political philosophy and tomorrow I'm going to dive into late 18th century British literature", they'd smile politely and walk very quickly away. College students complain all the time about work, trust me I'm one of them. But I think a lot of us just like to hear ourselves complain. Because really, we choose to go to college, and as much as we fight and procrastinate and bitch and moan, would any of us choose to be in a situation where at eighteen, or even younger, education ends and we're supposed to start making a living?
I spent twelve hours yesterday devoted completely to intellectual pursuits, and tomorrow once I've recovered from lack of sleep and caffeine withdrawal, I'm going to spend many more hours doing the same thing . That sounds pretentious, but maybe that's the point. With college coming to a close, I'm realizing that the window in my life where I'm supposed to be pretentious is rapidly shrinking. In college if you end up drunk at a bar talking about politics sure it's obnoxious to bystanders, but it's also earnest and well intentioned and expected. If I end up in those same conversations in a few years, ones unhindered by reason or patience, then I'm going to want to punch myself in the face. And of course I can keep learning. I hope I do. I'll always be a person who will read any book I get my hands on. But it will be different. I'm not going to write an analysis paper or listen to a lecture about what I'm reading, and if I do then clearly I will have some issues. I'll have bills to pay and a job to go to, a family not too long after all of that. For the last year or so I've often said that I'm ready for school to be over, but not college. But now I take that back. I've kicked and screamed my way through eight semesters of papers and busy work and lectures and articles. And in a few days, when I'm sleep deprived again because of finals I'll probaby kick and scream even louder. But for one moment at least, in the wee hours of last night, I received some much needed clarity. I lead a pretty charmed life right now if the worst thing I have to do is spend an entire day using my brain.

Random Side Note: I was watching TV the other day and flipped past the Christian network and who should I see but Kirk Cameron awkwardly standing at a podium, preaching about hell and fire and brimstone (well not exactly those words but that was his gist). Why is Mike Seaver doing this? Shouldn't he be living in his parent's garage with his inappropriately named friend Boner? I don't like it when my fictional characters so rudely intrude into the real world.

Another Random Site Note: The USA won Davis Cup!! and it was played on Versus, a cable channel most people have never even heard of....sigh...I know it's a losing battle about tennis getting the respect it deserves in America but it still makes me pugnacious when a respected, long-running international sporting event gets virtually ignored. Except for the US Open and maybe the final rounds of Wimbledon, I've seen tennis on the front page of the NY Times once, and that was because of a betting scandal. But all bitterness aside, watching them win was awesome, especially since I was at the quarterfinal against Spain in Winston Salem.

Yet Another Random Side Note: I went to an oyster roast to watch the parade of boats Saturday night with some friends, and I witnessed the most amazing thing. A lot of people brought their kids, and all of these children congregated in front of the band (the Blue Dogs who were awesome) I felt like I was at a Wiggle's concert. These kids either ran around in circles, dug things in the sand, tackled each other, or best of all DANCED. Dozens of little babies dancing on a beach in front of a band. Just picture this, and if you are even the smallest amount like me you will giggle. And the most awesome part of the awesome parts. The band started playing the Who's Baba O'Riley, and in like 30 seconds, nearly all of the babies stopped whatever motion they were involved in, stood silently, and stared at the band for a solid couple of minutes. It's like they were hypnotized. Oh babies, just like tiny drunk adults. And in the case of these babies, tiny drunk adults with an affinity for The Who.

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