Monday, September 13, 2010

Tens and Twos

Another Monday morning at Michigan State brought another 9:10 lecture for Linear Algebra. In addition to learning about matrices and solving linear systems of equations using them, and all of the rules and regulations and ifs and thens, as well as organizing my mental checklist items, I had other things on my mind too.

I know a grand total of one person in my lecture. I've mentioned offhand things to one or two others, but nothing otherwise. So today, during brief and momentary lulls in the lecture, I surveyed my peers. There is a girl with braids that wrap around her head like Heidi. There is a curly-haired brunette that loves to speak up. There is a former GM employee who wants to try his hand at teaching. The gal in front of me and the guy behind me are two feet away from me in each of their respective directions; so close that I could reach out and pat them on the shoulder if I wanted...but they seem so unattainable.

What is it about human contact that makes it necessary for us to be introduced into somebody's life before feeling comfortable around them? Why is it so difficult to live parallel to another life without feeling some kind of tension or competition or inferiority or superiority? That classroom is an equivalent plane, but without introduction, it looks like a mountain range to me.

I know that it's just the morning-shyness, or the upper-level-math-course attitude, or the fact that it really isn't necessary to talk to anyone. So we don't. But for a moment this morning I wished that I could take everyone in that lecture out for coffee. I am convinced that they would have marvelous stories to tell and have weaved their individual lives in a way that nobody else could copy or even mimic. It's time to value other human beings, right from the get-go.

After the lecture, I realized a couple of things. Most importantly, that I haven't cried in ten weeks to this day. At least, not that I can remember. But a few minutes ago I shed a grand total of two tears, upon a series of stupid, fickle, frustrating events. These were not sorrowful tears, merely disappointed tears; and here's why:

Tear #1: I missed quite an important deadline for my boss (who happens to be a family friend) and as a result of my lack of diligence, I single-handedly screwed over an entire algebra lecture. Who does that? But it happens. They will survive, and I will survive. I simply missed it. And when I went to apologize and deliver the late quizzes, my boss didn't yell or act flustered. She is all business; she simply states facts and makes requests with little to no emotion involved (although I am positive that she is a phenomenal wife and mother, and far from an apathetic and gray human being). So as I left her office, as frustrated water started to accumulate in my eyes, I wondered why she had been so nice. I kept thinking: "She didn't yell, I would've yelled, I would've yelled." But here's the thing--I really wouldn't have yelled. Because it happens. It's a silly thing to get worked-up about, and she knows that. I do too. I didn't yell at the girl who backed into my car a couple of weeks ago, because she was kind and honest and didn't mean to. I also am kind and honest, and I also didn't mean to. So we move on.

Tear #2: This droplet was split between two things. I walked back into my room to find one of my picture frames on the floor and broken. If you happen to know anything about my love for black and white 8x10s, this might make a little more sense to you. It's just annoying, and given the previous circumstances, it just seemed like something that just makes your insides scream "Really?!?" It constitutes half of a tear right there. But the second half is just an exaggeration of my mental state. Basically just a little pity-party. Mainly about the fact that I haven't really spoken to my best friend in a couple of months, and how we used to talk all the time. I miss that. Immensely. Painfully. Probably too much, but apparently just enough for half of a tear.

So, there you have it. A tumultuous morning. Hopefully noon brings a bit more positive energy, and I think it will--the sun is already spewing it enough to make East Lansing 66 degrees. It's a lovely temperature, and will be a lovely day.

Delicious.


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