I like poetry and cheese and my brand new fuzzy arm socks that closely resemble those worn by Gwen Stefani in the video for "New". Today I woke up at 5:00 am to write an essay and I'm still tired. Every day I see darker circles under my eyes and as I comb my long hair I pull foot-long strands out. I think about things like antiderivatives and amazing blowjobs and Weezer when I'm in the shower, and I always take too long under the jet of warm water and wind up almost late for school. I wasn't made for this.
My parents have shelled out a good $20,000 for my high school education, and they aren't going to be pleased when they hear the plan. They think that I am somehow going to be "successful" and make lots of money and maybe cure cancer or write the great American novel. Sorry, mom and dad. This isn't your fault. It's just something different inside me.
I applied to Oxford University because I read about it in a book. I always wanted to apply to Berkeley for the same reason. I like to think that bare trees on frozen winter days are somehow gothic. Wuthering Heights may be anti-Romantic, but I love it. I love it, I love it, I love it. I still sing along to that dumb Dexter Freebish song, "Leaving Town", because I used to have this whole world in my imagination and the words-- "nothing in life will ever come that easy/doesn't mean it has to be that hard/ I know you will find out who you are..."-- remind me so much of it that the nostalgia overpowers me and I have to stop and think. I don't believe in God, or god, or Gaia, but I want to. I really, really do.
Let's talk about religion for a minute here. Christmas is coming up, and I will faithfully attend midnight mass, clasp my hands in atheist prayer below the crucifix and wait for a non-existent God to strike me down. I believe in history, I believe in the power of life, I believe in beauty. I believe in love. It's all crazy and cliche, but it's all any of us have got to touch.
Today I got a late birthday present. It was two dinosaur Legos-- my friends know me so well-- and play-doh in a phallic-shaped container. The play-doh feels good between my fingers, better than the empty air I'm breathing. Everyone can recall the age when they knew the names of every dinosaur in the museum and gazed up at them in wonder and fear; I'm just the kid that never grew out of it. I would be a paleontologist if I was sure that I could stand it for longer than the romance of the idea. I go into museums and imagine that I work there, lab coat and instruments and knowledge all within my grasp.
I've written novels that I like, in almost guilty fashion, and one day imagine to make better. Half of them are handwritten, and almost all are over 100 pages. The longest is 154, completely unfinished. I'm still trying to write Amber's character out of that hole... They are precious, beautiful, and they sit on my shelf, perfectly out in the open, and I think I might die if anyone read them, but half of me wants someone to read at least one of them. Half of me wants to jump off a cliff but the other half wants to know what it feels like to live forever.
If you could take a pill to multiply every decade in your life by thirty, would you do it? Yes.
I'm not trying to write something artsy or smart or even particularly intellectual. I don't want you to think of me like that. I do want you to think of me. Maybe even fondly.
Today I started and stopped five amazing, life-changing habits. It was all in the name of experimentation and experience. They were:
1. Wearing sneakers with the tongues out. Far too impractical in cold weather.
2. Holding batteries in teeth. Not conduicive to creating good circuits, especially if lacking fillings.
3. Cutting off pronouns when writing. I've done this a number of times, actually, but as of this minute I am officially never doing it again. Sounds weird.
4. Saying punctuation in sentences. For instance, I would read "The lead singer of Linkin Park sounds just like Justin Timberlake, except louder!" as, "The lead singer of Linkin Park sounds just like Justin Timberlake COMMA except louder EXCLAMATION POINT!" Got old rapidly, apparently.
5. Making chocolate milk popsicles in freezer. Eww.
I like to walk outside in the cold without a coat. That which does not kill you makes you stronger, always, always, always. I like to imagine that I am somehow intelligent enough to succeed in life, that one day I will wake up and my competitive spirit will be back. Right now, I can't bear to lose. I can't bear the thought of losing; it hurts too much. I tell lies about stupid things to people I love and tell the truth when I really, really shouldn't.
So here's my plan: I want to be a sherpa when I grow up.. One day, I'll just take off for Nepal, not tell anyone where I'm going, and wind up at base camp at Mt. Everest and apply for the job. Right now, I'm not very strong-- I can only do twenty push-ups in a row, and when I run for a while I get out of breath-- but I can get better. Obviously I'll train before I start hauling bags. Hopefully I'll die on the icy slopes of Everest before I get old enough to get terminally ill, my body frozen into the ice just below the summit, a triumphant smile on my face for all the other climbers to see: I have achieved Enlightenment. Slowly I'll be mummified, dead limbs breathing in the ice, fingers eternally clenched around an oxygen mask or a pick axe, but no struggle there. I hear hypothermia is a nice way to die; according to Jack London, you just slowly drift off into sweet, beautiful sleep. I envision an afterlife or at least a reincarnation. I envision that upon my death on the slopes of Sagarmatha I will be magically renewed, redeemed, and capable of surviving in this world.
Perhaps it would just be better to develop the killer instinct. Reacquire my lost evolutionary tendencies. I don't want to hurt myself by doing things like jumping off roofs or running through snow barefoot-- I just want to experience it. I'm crazy, I swear, and I'm not sorry. One day I will be a sherpa, and hopefully you will know enough to envy me.