Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Words & Pictures

The family sat in the store, empty as can be considering the advent of Thanksgiving break that has rid the town of Penn State’s students. The family, as small as can be was comprised of an enthusiastically interested father in the words of his boy who sat gleefully across from him at the small table. At his left was his daughter, coolly complacent in efforts to show that she didn’t “have to be here with her parents” and that she “chose to be.” His wife strolled in minutes later, smiling. As she sat down the immediately engaged in a seemingly riveting conversation about the young boys final days in school leading to the break. In huge epic gestures, his hands spoke words for him, detailing projects and inane goings-on common to a gradeschooler’s day. His father nodded along, I believe, almost completely engrossed in what he had to say. His mother struggled to stay with him, compromising her attention to a much rather demanding traditional four-page thanksgiving to-do list she undoubtedly wrote first thing this morning. Her sister, in her appropriate indifference then began showing signs of intrigue in the small monologue, which then quickly developed into full conversation. The smiles were common to all of their faces in no time. A joke was cracked, laughter ensued. There was congratulations, an acknowledgement, a point of fleeting disappointment, but then general merriment. They had each other this thanksgiving. For a string of beautiful moments, they can share in something special, something beyond all of them them but something solely about them at the same time. Worlds didn’t fall apart and the smiles didn’t fade. And the darkness did not consume them. And then they left.

I wish the color of the sky didn’t so resemble the color of my mood this break. Friends have left and I am working, ever so “diligently” [the sarcasm of my quotations should be thoroughly communicated and re-iterated] at the store, trying to hold back my facial manifestations of boredom and annoyance unintentionally directed towards the regulars who have come in and engage in the futile chit-chat they feel so necessary to have with me. Right after the useless weather or sports conversation, they do the following things just in this order, every time:

1) Order the form of tobacco or porn to fill their systems with. It’s the same every time, and they know I know what it is…but they always ask in the same way. And those who buy the porn never look me in the face…and never say a word, making the four minute discourse very awkward.

2) Forget, when making a purchase, that money is NECESSARY in order to complete said transaction. And OF COURSE, they have to pay with exact change. So they fumble through their pockets.

3) They forget they don’t have the change, so the last two minutes was actually spent deciding that they are going to use the credit card instead…which takes even longer.

4) They forget to say thank you. Sometimes, I feel like people should take classes on common courtesy. Despite the day someone is having, that “thank you” is a form of salvation from loss of sanity.

And with that comes the heart of the problem. It is a holiday. Again. And this is when it all falls apart. Why I love school so much: it is a worthy and welcome distraction from life. I can bury myself with deadlines and busywork. And things that force me to be happy. It’s getting colder outside, and it’s forcing me to walk less and it makes me angry. When I walk less, there is less time to be outside. I am forced into crowded buses, into buildings with mindless banter in surround sound, into hallways cramped with people drowning in thoughts and stories and worries and dreams. Instead of being outside, counting my steps to myself, approached only by the random curious squirrel or the passing wind, accompanied only by the silence of solace and the whisper of days gone by. So that I can think up the words that will force my darkest thoughts to turn into ideas, and so that I can fill the pages of this journal with such thoughts, and so that they will no longer have to live in my head or my heart.

No more drama. I need this to be fun again. I want all the darkness in my world to disappear. I want to start up school again. I want to publish my words. I want to build things. I want to name things. I want to see my best friend. I want it to be Monday. I want my friends and my family to all be happy.

I want…

…something to be thankful for.

Enjoy the break.

Earth-Shattering Revelation #19: When cities crumble, and darkness becomes the heart of man, and confusion becomes the only moral compass the little bit of sanity within you seeks... only then do you find out who you truly are and only then can you weep and let it consume you. Otherwise suck it up. Don't do the drama thing. Eat ice cream, be happy.