When I was in high school, I was voted "most likely to brighten
your day" by a majority of my three hundred twenty-seven fellow
classmates. Apparently, the yearbook committee was incapable
of mastering the finer points of addition, or perhaps the bulk of
the graduating senior class had me confused with someone that
actually gave a fuck about lifting their spirits through a mind
numbing one hundred eighty days of school. Nevertheless, I wound
up posing with Carrie Barns, my female counterpart in the category,
a girl so beautiful you couldn't help but smile when she walked
by, her perfume permeating the air. I obsessed over her from the
first day of freshman year to graduation, but never talked
to her. Regret #251.
In college, I rediscovered my deep-rooted love for silence and
the ability to daydream while working my single-coverage job
selling sunglasses out of a kiosk. I would lean against the
cases and stare up, through the skylights of my one-story mall
and into the clouds passing by. I would watch the rain fall
onto the glass, and wonder why I couldn't be on the roof, capable
of feeling the rain run down my hair, the wind hit my face, or
the sound of planes passing overhead, cars and trucks on the
highway two hundred yards off the lot.
When I wasn't looking up, I was staring through the glass
windows of other stores, watching employees roam free between
aisles of merchandise, while I was stuck in a ten by ten box.
And I guess that's what I'm trying to say: I felt suffocated
in that box, and felt the lack of options in every other aspect
of my life, despite knowing I blazed my own trail of mediocrity.
I just wanted to get out, be free to live adventurously. So, I
looked ahead, and tried to make opportunities for myself, but
would never go along with them. It was the idea of flirting with
change that excited me, put me in a decent mood.
I stepped outside after work, the sun coming down, the wind
blowing across my face, left to right. Left to right! Fuck!
Where is down-up, northwest to the moon, and every possible
line across the circle in between--or not in between! Not even
a circle! How about one of Anton Geraschenko's geometric figures?
I moved towards my car and realized I didn't like the ground.
I didn't like the concrete: the familiarity, the sturdiness, knowing
that it wasn't going to crumble and I wouldn't have to crawl up from
the middle of the earth, grabbing at the dirt, worms crawling over
my hands, pebbles lodging between my fingernails and my skin, giving
me a distraction to work against, always slipping deeper. Purpose!
God, this is what I wanted! But I wanted it given to me, offered,
like a challenge!
And it was to no great shock that I made it to my car safely,
in a timely and uneventful fashion, I reminded myself that
negotiating my way safely back to school could still be an
adventure. Even turning the engine over could prove to be a
problem; maybe it would blow up, and I'd be spared, saved from
certain doom by being propelled out of the car from the sheer
force of the explosion, and safely hidden from the roaming fire,
licking and rolling everything in its reach. My car would be
scattered throughout the parking lot, and I'd find my personal
belongings destroyed or unscathed among the ruins. My school
things would be nothing but ash, but my CDs, anything of
sentimental value, would be spared, as if the fire knew these
are not things to be meddled with for fear of repercussions.
Yes, the fire would fear me, and I, in return, would respect
its ability to alter my course of action for at least the next
few weeks until the insurance would come through and I could
buy a new car, one free of manufacture defects. It would not be
white, but electric yellow and the speedometer would end at five
million miles per hour, to be reached in the most urgent and life
Nothing happened on the way back to school; no hijackers
waiting behind bushes at stoplights, no earthquakes ripping
through the asphalt like tissue paper, forcing my car underground
so that I would have to grapple with the climbing, the worms, the
pebbles. Instead, I made it back in record time, tailing an
ambulance that was racing down the highway at close to one
hundred thirteen miles per hour. I saw shadowy figures
performing surgery through the back windows, IV bags being
handed off like footballs, calculated movements that weren't
meant to be in vain. Suddenly, I was the person in the back
of the ambulance; they were saving me, derisive towards my
ailments as they held their tools, their medicines, but
I was slipping...
"...Proprietary lens; just came out right before summer;
it's a combination of polycarbonate plastic and glass,
making it the best of both worlds. It's takes the super
optics and scratch resistance of a glass lens, and merges
them with the light weight of a polycarbonate."
"OK, well, I'll think about it."