Monday, September 21, 2009

You Should Read This

Not because it is a great news item. Not because I said so.
You should read this, because it might just change you or reflect your life.
Tonight I was thinking about gifts we are given. Gifts we don't deserve. Gifts we didn't ask for. And gifts we don't even realize what they are until much later.

I was driving a girl I knew back to college about twenty years ago. That much I remember. I don't even remember what car I was driving but I remember my finger dangling lazily on the steering wheel keeping time with the bumps in the New York State Thruway. I remember driving with my left foot up against the dashboard and my knee against the window which was open a crack because she smoked.

I remember her telling me that I should go to college like her. I told her I didn't need to. After high school I worked and drank. Sometimes at the same time. At that point I had no intention of ever going to college. I thought I had everything figured out.

I remember the wind rattling the plastic bags in the back seat which she packed her clothes in. I remember we had to yell to each other to be heard over the wind hitting the plastic bags. But she was always quick to yell. She considered herself brilliant and misunderstood. In retrospect I think she wanted to be brilliant and didn't want to be understood. But those are thoughts that came later.

To be honest at that moment, both of us were just mesmerized by our own ideas. We didn't talk to each other as much as we waited until the other's mouth stopped moving so we could start talking. But we shared a basic ideology. She'd introduced me to Ayn Rand. We were both sure that the world was an empty vast meaningless coffin but we were excited about philosophy. We'd talked about Nietzsche and finding purpose in a meaningless world. I remember that we idiotically agreed that if Dostoevsky were born later he likely wouldn't have been so tied down by Christianity. We talked political philosophy and it was all so exciting in the manner of overcaffeinated youth.

Driving the car that night, it just seemed like one of those magic nights. You know the kind when you're young and everything in life seems easy and there's no reason to suspect it's going to get harder any time soon. And every goal was just one decision away. Continue...

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