The fear has set in.
On Saturday, minutes before midnight, I realized that this was my last spring break. Like ever. And that made me think about macaroni and cheese and how I will have to expand my culinary repertoire if I am going to become an adult. It made me think about windows and doors and how people always say that thing about closing one of them and opening another and how that just makes me think that maybe the window’s opening because you’re supposed to jump out of it.
And it made me think about Jesus. And that story about his footprints and that part where he carries the guy and how the guy gets all pissed and says, “Yo, Jesus, I only see one set of footprints and that was when life was the hardest.” And Jesus is like, “Quit complaining, you’re really heavy.” And I wonder whether Jesus thinks I’m fat.
The point is … I might be losing it. For serious. And so I must fall back on doing the only thing I know how to do when the going gets tough. Like any maladjusted, pseudo-sane, obsessive-compulsive, “bright” (whatever that means, Mom), in-love-with-the-idea-of-crazy-not-so-much-in-love-with-the-actual-crazy Yalie, I make lists.
I have a notebook devoted solely to to-do lists. I make boxes so I can put checks in them. They are evenly sized boxes. I really enjoy putting the checks in them. Just making the list makes me feel like I’ve done something.
To Do: laundry, eat, work out (?), that kid from third grade who I saw over spring break who seemed kind of interested, make bed, get job.
Things I Am Afraid Of: pirates, terrorists, serial killers, rapists, murderers, psychos of any kind, sharks, people grabbing my ankles when I’m in a toilet stall, vestibules, the space under the fridge, the dark.
A Few of My Favorite Things: Christmas, pools, cheese, celebrating of any kind.
Things To Include If I Ever Want To Make A Successful Indie Movie: divorce, oddly erotic incest, deadpan “jokes,” assorted (but usually bad) haircuts, an antiquated car (like a VW bus), thick glasses.
Things To Do With My Future: be wildly successful, become a good cook, take care of my parents, write a book, win an Oscar, destroy my high-school video diary so no one can sell it when I’m famous (secretly keep a copy to leak to the press), taste things.
Things I Should Do In My Lifetime If I Want To Be Considered A Good Person (or whatever): save a child, save a whale, save the rainforest, save the ozone, build a bridge, fly like an eagle, make a scrapbook, make a friend.
Things I Would Rather Not Do In My Lifetime: Die.
People I Wish I’d Kissed: the boy I loved from third grade until fifth who once walked me to the bus, the boy from high school who taught me how to smoke cigarettes and then told me I shouldn’t smoke in front of anyone I was trying to impress.
I don’t know what it is about graduating that makes people think that life is over. Even though I’ll be dead to the Yale community, I’ll still be alive somewhere, right?
According to “Forrest Gump,” life is a box of chocolates. According to the musical “RENT,” life is a coffee cup or a spoon or something. Alanis Morissette might say that life is a series of unfortunate events pulled together by a misinterpreted literary term. Paris Hilton might say something stupid.
For me, life is all those things and more. Life is a cabin filled with candles that never catches on fire. Life is a laptop you spilled wine on but still works. Life is a bridge over a river of alligators, but they’re friendly alligators.
In eighth grade, right before I cut my long-ass hair and stopped wearing overalls, minutes before I realized that I would never be an Olympic soccer player, I believed I was wise. While other kids included quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. or Ghandi or Vitamin C in the yearbook, I decided to write my own. And underneath the quote, I included my initials in case anyone tried to steal my wisdom. So from my eighth-grade, soccer-obsessed, overall-wearing, long-haired, deeply uncool self to you:
“Those without a goal in life are doomed to spend it dribbling.” EAC
Eli Clark does a killer bicycle kick.