Thursday, November 21, 2002
@ the dorm room | 6:56 PM
For days I’d been shaving with a dull blade. Finally, on Tuesday night, I stopped by the grocery store and picked up some essential toiletries I’d been running low on, including new Mach 3 razor blades. Wednesday morning, after finally pulling myself out of bed and taking a shower, I walked up to the sink and mirror in my room and remembered that I had new razor blades to shave with today. This excited me. I enjoyed my shave — the closeness, the quickness, the ease. It was nice.
The day then moved on. I went to philosophy, which I’ve decided is my favorite class this semester as it’s the only one that I really think about outside of class. The things I’ve learned in there (or have been presented to me) occupy my thoughts elsewhere day-to-day. While most of the students at St. Edward’s seem to prefer taking practical classes within their majors, I’m much more interested in the pure theory of philosophy. It’s complete intellectual masturbation.
Strangely, my philosophy professor, who seems to be a bit anti-social (or just too smart to talk to normal folks), asked me out into the hallway yesterday before class and told me, “You’ve done really well in this class. That’s usually an indication of someone ready for higher-level work. Have you considered the Honors Program? I’d be happy to sign an instructor recommendation for you.” Maybe I’ll check it out. That’s the second professor that has recommended that I take Honor classes here.
I don’t know that I want to stay at St. Edward’s, though. Till the end of the year, for sure, but after that I’m really uncertain. The nice thing is only having to take Math for Liberal Arts Majors next semester to satisfy all my mathematics requirements (I love the intellectual stimulation of ideas and words, I could give a flying fuck about math, though I do see the (intellectual) use in teaching it), but I don’t know that that’s a decent justification for staying at this school. We’ll see. My mood changes with the week about this place.
–Rilo Kiley, “A Better Son/Daughter”
I don’t honestly blame the school, though, for my issues with it. I’m just not a joiner. I’m not gregarious, out-going. I was comfortable meeting new people during the first few weeks when everyone was introducing themselves, but now I sort of feel like everyone has their friend groups defined. I’m not one to walk up and introduce myself to people. I mildly envy those who are more able to throw themselves out there and attract large groups of people quickly. I think some do it through misrepresentation and others just have naturally attractive personalities. I’ve never been like that, though. It’s always taken me a long time to build up a good group of friends. Actually, I take that back . . . I’m good at making a couple of good friends quickly, and after that I tend to just shut down and concentrate on those people.
Possibly it’s the military upbringing? A habit learned from moving from place to place in my youth. Maybe somewhere deep down I’m still in that mode (I’d move tomorrow if given the opportunity) where I expect to leave at any time and, therefore, don’t see the need for making more than a couple of really good friends in this single place. I mean, how many people can I be expected to write letters to, really?
The beauty, of course, is that I can blame anything on the military upbringing. At bottom, I know this is a personal failing. As much as I’d like to change it, I don’t know that I’m made with the stuff to do so. I don’t know that I’m prepared to make myself feel like any more of an idiot than I already do. As much as I’d like a girlfriend, I’m unable to take my attention from the one girl I’m interested in at any given time and foster relationships with other, fall-back girls. It seems to cheapen it all. I don’t believe that I can present a good first impression and develop a good relationship with anyone without an extended amount of time and attention being paid to them, and vice versa. Other people don’t feel this way, and that’s fine. Maybe it’s easier to figure them out (I’m not saying that I’m so great that it takes a long time to figure me out), or maybe they’re just uninterested in even trying to be understood. That’s fine. I’m happy for them. I envy them. I’m sure they’re have much happier lives.
I’ve known for a long time the joy of leaving. Of washing your hands of a person or problem. Giving up. Finally hitting that mark and saying, “Fuck it. This isn’t worthwhile any longer,” and walking away. I haven’t perfected the art of taking this action, though. I’ve only just begun. In my last entry, I spoke of nipping things in the bud. I’m no good at it. I usually tend to force things to play themselves out until they come to a clear, permanent end. Why? Beats me. I have no real interest in the pain involved in following the plot line through to finish. Possibly I just want to know exactly where I stand. The unfinished leaves us on tenuous ground. [I will leave this thought unfinished.]
This has been echoing through my head all day for some reason:
Here was a new generation, shouting the old cries, learning the old creeds, through a revery of long days and nights; destined finally to go out into that dirty gray turmoil to follow love and pride; a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success; grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken . . .
–F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise
So . . . I suppose the real problem lies in feeling lonely in a town where I have a ton of friends. It makes me wonder: Why the hell don’t I go to a new town and a different college in a different part of the country where feeling alone will be justified?
When it all seems to get to be too much, though, I’ve found that I can crank my stereo up so loudly in my car that suddenly I feel a bit detached and I can view my life as a movie with the music as the soundtrack. In those few split seconds when I’m floating above myself and watching from without, I’m calm and composed. Those ear-splitting seconds make me feel free, and I only wish all of life were like that.
When shaving with a new razor blade is the only thing you look forward to in the morning, you know it’s going to be a disappointing day.