Saturday we went to Missouri to see Tim Conway (think, 1960’s comedy sketch program The Carol Burnett Show) perform in the Mansion Theatre in Branson.
I had a conversation with Chase today.
Today was my first day of work at Kohl’s.
I woke up in the wee small hours like usual to get ready for anatomy and physiology, (it’s nearly 9:00 at night now – I want to sleeeeeeeeeep! But, sadly, I will lose hold of my sanity in the night if I don’t type up a post). I stepped inside of the cafe and saw Claire Madame behind the counter.
“Goodmorning!” I greeted her.
“Hey girl! What’s happening?”
“Not much, what about with you?” I walked up to the counter and grabbed a pack of my usual Tazo earl grey tea, she knew the routine and had already gotten a cup for the tea.
“Oh, you know, just life. It’s all good.” She smiled contentedly as she rang up the order.
Claire is one of the happiest, most positive, up-beat people I’ve ever met. As she poured steaming hot water into the cup when I remembered something.
“Oh!” I said, unlatching my purse, “I was in the downtown and I got you something.” I pulled out the orb pocketwatch (a smaller version of my own) and handed it to her. Claire Madame’s response consisted of the next ten minutes repeating ‘thank you’s and ‘Oh my gosh!’s. A part of me wishes that I were that way – giddy all of the time, thrilled beyond expectation at things like pocket watches. I’ve always been envious of Claire, she is a truly happy person, she always has been.
I stepped outside to be met with fantastically chilly air, I made my way to the building to see Teacher Madame leaving with Marshall and Toby.
“Look at the board for instructions.” She said as we passed. I hurried to the classroom and met Chase at the doorway, he stood back and I passed, saying a quick ‘thank you’ as I focused on not spilling my tea. After I placed my bookbag, doctor-bag (so it’s a purse… I just don’t like the word purse. Besides, my purse looks more like an old-fashioned doctor’s bag than a purse…) book and tea down and looked at the board:
1. Get laptops from front desk
I looked out the window and saw the entire class walking back over to the study hall by the cafe where I just was.
The next thing I knew, I was sprinting to meet up to them in my high-heel boots. Chase was closest, so I ran up to him as he reached the door.
“So,” I said, panting, “I’m taking a wild gander and saying the board means the front desk in there?”
He shrugged, “I’m just following the group.”
He stepped in and I followed. Toby was handing out the laptops from the office inside the study hall. On the walk back Chase was ahead of the group, I lingered behind them all.
After class I stepped inside the theatre to get my yearbook photo taken. Teacher Madame had let class out ten minutes early so this left twenty minutes instead of ten to talk to Chase. After the yearbook photo I stepped outside of the cozy theatre and back into the wonderful cool air (I’ve loathed Summer so much – I would give anything for 48 hours straight of snow) I saw movement from my peripheral and looked over to my left to see Chase walking towards the cafe. I turned and started walking to the location myself, attempting to (and utterly failing) read an expression from the reflection in the glass windows. I paused for a moment, purposely slowing so he would reach the building at the same time I did – you’ll simply have to take my word for it, I haven’t done something like that since I was 11 and had a crush on the pastor’s kid. I stepped inside and walked over to directly to the left of his usual spot, right next to the cafe where Claire now sat cleaning out the minifridge. He stopped for a moment, and then went to his usual place. I felt oddly amused when I noticed he seemed to be ever so slowly inching away from me, to the point where he was eventually directly behind a bookshelf, his eyes peering over mahogany whenever he glanced up. An animated conversation began to take place at the table in front of me, people were laughing and playfully pointing fingers. I realized how distant I was from something like that, and I felt happy. Content, really. I have found a stable group of human beings that are never so expressive, they are rather serious in class, and show off their minds more than their wit, they challenge me. I looked back over to the bookstore and Chase had suddenly appeared several feet closer, halfway behind a bookshelf. I considered if he was using the shelf as a subconscious barrier – it’s not uncommon for humans to use clipboards, books, pillows, even coffee mugs as ‘barriers’ to create a more comfortable space for themselves by putting up a ‘wall’ of sorts when they feel awkward or in general uncomfortable. I watched from my peripheral as it would appear that he was stepping towards me for a moment, before quickly changing his mind. I counted slowly to ten before deciding to speak myself.
“So,” I said, his eyebrows raised for a moment in surprise, “Did you finish the PowerPoint?”
“Not yet. I was only able to complete half of the slides.” He stepped out from behind the bookshelf finally, and then quickly casually leaned against the shelf. I wondered for a moment what it would be like to not be able to read people. I decided I like knowing these things.
“Oy,” I said, wincing, “I only completed five.”
“What disease did you pick?” He asked.
“Gorham’s Disease. I thought it would look awfully impressive if I picked a rare one but, since it is so rare there isn’t much information.”
“I’ve never heard of it.”
“Well, there is something to the tune of less than two-hundred cases recorded in medical literature, so, it’s a tad bit of a challenge.”
There was a moment of silence, I wondered if I should check to see if my mom had arrived with the car when I suddenly found myself (of all things) speaking again.
“Do you take any other classes here?”
He glanced over quickly, his expression communicating nothing notable. “Yeah, economics, which starts in about ten minutes. What about you?”
“I used to take American government but I dropped it. It just seemed like not even the teacher really wanted to be there.” I lowered my voice suddenly when I realized the owner of The Center stood fifteen feet away at the cash register. I watched her with weary eyes and hoped the crowd was loud enough that she hadn’t heard my comment.
“Which teacher did you have?” He asked. I looked back at him. Brown, deep-set eyes communicated genuine interest.
He nodded to himself, “I had a class with her last year, she was a good teacher.”
I thought for a moment. “All teachers here are incredible, really. It was just that class, it seemed a bit…empty? I felt that I wouldn’t learn much.”
He nodded again, “Ah,” he said.
Teacher Madame walked in then, holding a rather large computer monitor.
“Chase,” Said she, “Would you mind moving this to that desk for me?” He took the monitor from her and did her bidding. My phone beeped in my purse with a message from my mom, and I realized my time was up for this week. I glanced over to where he was and he was looking over at me. I put my hand up to wave goodbye when he started walking towards me, “Well,” he said, “I’ll see you next week.” I realized he was leaving the cafe as well and I chuckled before speaking, “We’re headed the same way, then.” I pushed open the door and he stepped out as well. “I’ll see you next week.” I echoed. He said something quietly that I couldn’t understand as he stepped off of the porch and onward, I made my way to the Fit. He didn’t look back, he just walked with purpose. I looked down at my watch and realized he was late to economics.
Alright, then, it’s five minutes to ten and I can’t possibly write about my first day of work, not accurately, anyway.
I hope dearly that one of you will let me know if I start becoming something I shouldn’t. I know it can seem odd of me to worry everyday about turning into a selfish, narcissistic brat. But, come now, I can be incredibly petty and selfish and naive. I suppose I just don’t want to stop trying. Sometimes it feels like people stop. They exist. They breathe in and out, wake up and go to sleep, and repeat until their heart or mind finally gives up. I suppose it’s all anyone ever does, it isn’t right to think of a human being as capable of doing anything more than existing. But in our lives, in our circles and in our reputations we manage to make miniature universes that can be bent and grown, affected by every choice we make that reveals something to ourselves and the world about who we are.
We have our ordinariness, routines, habits, people we anticipate meeting and dread to see. I feel that we are only using so much of our emotions, that, just like riding in the front seat of the car for the first time, we feel thrilled when a new development arises, but soon enough it becomes ordinary, or even downright dull. We begin to think that we know who we are, what we would do in situations entirely out of the ordinary. Only when a moment speeds upon our consciousness like a bullet train
to throw us for a loop and break emotions past the glass (perceived as steel)
barrier of our life’s ordinariness and make a presence of fear, excitement,
grief, rage or love completely known to such a vulnerable state of naiveté, do
we understand our own nature on a broader horizon and a deeper expanse. These are the things that make our foundations known to ourselves and the world. We
may sit and theorize and discuss and talk ourselves silly about how we could be
the grandest war hero, when it very well may be that, truthfully, we are
capable of becoming Hitler*.
And, I had better stop myself before I’m up all hours writing yet another 2-part blog post series. Odds are I’m going to read this tomorrow and think to myself “What on earth was I thinking?!” But I’ll leave it up, because it would bother me an awful lot to take it down, simply because this is yet another documentation of a day in my life. Another timestamp. Another cluster of moments in which I discover my goal is nearly the same as it was four years ago when The Last Classic first began, to reach a place in my life that, honestly, by now I’m not even certain what it is I’m looking for.
I suppose I’m looking for something that I will know when I see it.
*I believe this bit because of findings derived from men such as Phillip Zimbardo, who wrote The Lucifer Effect, as well as the obedience experiments done by Stanley Milgram.