Friday, August 27, 2010
10 minutes ago I was pulled over. Nothing serious: broken headlight, fix it ticket. As I drove down 6th east I saw him sitting there, but I didn't know I had a broken headlight. I checked my speed, within the legal limit, and yet I knew that he was going to pull me over.
When the red and blue started flashing a voice inside me said "told you so" and I drifted toward the side of the road. I wasn't nervous, I wasn't upset, I felt a complete and utter indifference to the fact that with one stroke of a pen this man in blue and white could serve a crippling blow to life as I know it.
It was beyond indifference. I felt nothing. Cold, numb, nothing. I was listening to "The Hamburg Song" by Keane, a song that I often play on the piano when I'm feeling particularly melancholy. I don't know if it was coincidence that the song came on my shuffle when I felt this way, or if repeated use at such times has conditioned me to introspect when the song comes on like Pavlov's dog. Either way, I felt nothing.
This actually started 20 minutes earlier. I arrived home in Logan after attending She and Him's performance at the Twilight Concert Series. I had spent about 3 hours (there and back) in the back of Cody's Monte Carlo providing the comedic relief to the car. Those who know me are fully aware that it doesn't take much to set me off and that I have an opinion on just about everything; one that I'm not bashful about sharing.
We had some good laughs, discussing everything from funerals to how much Sandra Bulloch sucks as an actress to my constant conversational staple of how girls as a whole are evil. As an intermission we stood 30 feet from the ever-captivating Zooey Deschanel and the Uber shredder M. Ward and then resumed our vehicular diatribe.
We got back, we parted ways and immediately upon entering my car to go home I felt it: the cold enveloping darkness of nothing.
I got back to brooklane and made a pass through the empty parking lot. I passed every dark window and every empty stall and found myself going right on by and heading up to campus. Don't ask me why, but for some reason when I'm feeling particularly lost and alone I often find myself up on campus parked near George Washington's head, laying on the hood of my car and looking up at The A as I listen to music.
Feeling lonely is one thing. Feeling lonely and not knowing where you'd like to be or who you'd like to be with is something else. As it turned out, when I parked the car, rolled down my window and settled back into the seat "Dancing With Myself" came on over the speakers.
Lately I've been forced to face my academic mortality. One year from today I will be a graduate of Utah State University. I will no longer be a reporter for The Utah Statesman. I most likely will not be living in Logan.
All the fickle things that take up so much of my energy will disintegrate in a matter of seconds. The attention that I give to minuscule campus details will become moot, the love I feel for the University and Aggie Athletics will remain but will become abstract, intangible emotions and the moral code that I have constructed in my mind to protect myself from the miserable existence of people like the Ambassadors and SigEps will cease to be any of my concern.
What will remain, are the things that I truly enjoy doing. Saturday morning bike rides. Sunday afternoons reading by the lake. Concerts in Salt Lake. Meeting the family for lunch and a movie. My piano. Writing.
In all likelihood, and I mean this with no pretense of self-flagellation or pleas for pity, I will do all of these things alone. Wherever I am a year from now, I will be dancing by myself.
I've always been a loner. I can remember only one time in my life when I felt a 100% sense of belonging amongst my circle of friends; my freshman year college in Snow Hall with my 6 unofficial roommates. I've always assumed, and still do, that at some point I'll meet that person who in their singularity makes me feel completely wanted, welcome, and supported. So far I have not met that person, or rather, I have not reached that particular level of feeling with any of the people that I have met.
I'm a mathematician. Each year that I fall short of this bar at USU, increases the likelihood that USU is not the stage for that play. And with each passing season more of those closest to me are naturally distanced by the cruel clock of time and I find my self unwilling, and unable to replace them.
I'm a mathematician, and by next summer I should be all but entirely alone.
As I sat tonight looking up at The A, I thought of all the new students that have just arrived this week, of the countless others that will continue pouring into Logan over the weekend. They arrive with that familiar fervor of opportunity, a static buzz that pulses through the air with the anticipation of what lies in store. There will be parties and plagues, dances and disasters, romance and rage.
And there I was, alone at midnight in the middle of campus, staring at a glowing block letter and feeling 100% indifferent. It was clear that I felt lonely, but as I searched my brain for that fantasy scenario where I open arrive home to find just the person I hope to see waiting on my doorstep my brain drew a blank. The porch in my mind's eye was empty, just as the porch at Brooklane was empty when I pulled my car into the lot.
So here I am. Tired and alone with a fix-it ticket, a broken heart, and my whole life ahead of me. And I don't feel anything, anymore.