Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Epiphany

My New Years was less than stellar. I went down to the cities to go to a dance and hang out with friends; it had the potential to be totally awesome.

Well, somehow, throughout the car ride down and the time at the dance, I managed to alienate or offend a girl I like, which was not a very good thing. Then, while at the dance, I got hit on. By a guy. Not one of those cool, stylish gay guys that, if they hit on you, is actually a compliment to your sense of style and physique. I mean the probably-hasn't-showered-in-two-days, overweight, creepy gay guys. Even when I made it rather obvious I was avoiding him - going so far as to literally turn and run when I accidentally caught his eye - he kept following me around. Anytime there was an event and people were watching something, I would turn around and he'd be there, about three feet behind me, staring.

Had this been the New Years dance for 1965, the music would have been awesome. I guess I may have different ideas of what dances should be like, but I generally don't go to dances to rock out to Buddy Holly or the Big Bopper. The DJ at this dance disagreed.


New Years came, and the only person I even had the option of kissing was the guy who was stalking me. Yeah, talk about a great way to begin a year.

After the dance, we went to some "house parties." I say "house parties" because they weren't really parties as attempts to pick up the girls we had brought with us - something that I didn't take very kindly to seeing as how I happen to like one of those girls. While at the house, someone decided they were going to shoot off fireworks. In January. In Minnesota. For those of you who don't know the weather up here, the temperature was about 1 F (-17 C). Well, the girls wanted to go, so I went, but mostly because I didn't want the girls alone with the guys. The fireworks they had were on par with what I used to play with in my backyard when I was 8: jumping jacks, satellites/bumblebees, and a tank. Not exactly the "Happy New Year" mortars I was expecting when I was told "fireworks for New Years." At this point, I'm cold. And I'm tired. And I'm upset because I've had to watch the girl I like get hit on by other guys all night long.

We go back to the house a few blocks away; the guys who came down with us were talking with one of the guys at the house about the military and aircraft. The guy starts spewing stuff about how we should just threaten the entire Middle East with nuclear warheads and tell them to "cut the crap or we nuke you off the planet" (and he wasn't joking). Now, I've studied nuclear weaponry - a professor of mine has studied it for years and I've listened to a lot of his lectures and seen the data about what the bomb actually did to Hiroshima - so I spoke up and said that that would be a bad idea, because trying to threaten those countries would be incredibly stupid and only escalate things. He got very irate that I disagreed with him and demanded that I give him a better solution. I said I didn't have one because I haven't studied the politics closely enough, but that I do know about nuclear weaponry and I don't think it's ever justifiable. This sends him off on a World War II tangent regarding Hiroshima and again demanded an alternative to using the bomb - once again I calmly replied I didn't have one because I haven't studied World War II and I don't know the scenarios.

I'm not sure what wasn't clicking, but he didn't seem to understand that I was just saying it wasn't right. I wasn't insulting him or trying to outshine him; I was saying that in my education I've learned what nuclear weaponry actually does and that it is never justifiable to use. He didn't get it. (I later found out he's the brother of a girl who's good friends with my family. That was kind of awkward.)

After about 15 minutes of him almost yelling at me, I look at the guys and say I'm tired and that I think we should leave. I tell the girls we're leaving and one replies "good." I figured they were glad we were finally leaving so they could spend time with the guys who invited them there. It turns out they were actually about as bored as we were and were happy to finally leave.

Getting back to the hotel, I shower and head for bed.

This morning, we drove back to town and I had to be at work at 3. Thankfully, my coworkers are awesome and were willing to listen to me complain repeatedly about my night. Throughout the day, I got into a slightly better mood because my coworkers kept trying to cheer me up (it worked), and I got better at telling this epic tale of fail. Then I ran into an old friend from high school; a girl I knew from theatre. We got talking, she introduced me to her friend, I relayed my tale (which had been quite honed at this point), and when I said, "How's that for a crappy beginning of a year?" Her friend replied simply,

"Don't think of it as a bad beginning to a new year; think of it as a bad ending to an old year."

This really hit me. She was right. I didn't have to think the year was ruined or that it had started out crappy - the last year had just ended crappy, that was all. A New Year was ahead of me. This actually made me smile and made me feel good about it. That was when the real epiphany happened.

I was standing at the customer service desk, sorting some books, when the door opened and two school kids come running in. The first one suddenly stopped and quickly spun around, looking at his friend behind him, and yelled, "I know what you can get with your gift card!"

"What?" his friend said.

"Something COOL!"

Now, at this, they both ran off in the store to find what I presume was something cool. The epiphany I had at watching this was that these boys had obviously had a discussion regarding what the second boy should buy with his gift certificate, presumably being given it for Christmas. This had apparently caused some difficulties for them because they had so many options and did not know what it was exactly they wanted. However, the first boy had solved the dilemma - the boy should buy something cool. He never said what it was; he never specified what cool thing he was thinking about, but he didn't need to. He had an answer. He had solved their dilemma.

It was simple. Their solution didn't require tedious time consumption and comparison of products. It didn't require endless perusing to make sure they got the exact object that will bring them maximum pleasure. No; their solution was solved by finding something cool.

Far too often in life, I over complicate things. I think too much about things. I look too far into each detail. I push too hard and too fast in efforts to learn as much as I can as fast as I can. With science, this works great. With girls, well, they don't seem to appreciate it as much as science does. I get excited that I've found something/someone that I want to learn about that I try and move too fast and end up ruining something that could have been great. However, this kid had the answer; instead of knowing exactly what toy he wanted due to hours of comparisons and analysis, he just knew that he wanted something cool. What exactly it was didn't matter - it would become obvious what exactly was cool when he saw it. What mattered was that he had an answer to his problem.

I think I need to solve more of life's problems that way. Instead of trying to find the exact answer and know every detail and variable, I need to just have an idea, and let the details work themselves out. I don't need to have all the answers right now; I need to let them come at their own pace - I need to let the cool toy come to me instead of studiously trying to find out which toy is not just cool, but is in actuality the coolest, and having the charts and data to prove it. That works wonders for physics - my senior project got an A because of this trait - but my relationships (and potential relationships) all fail because of it, too.

Sometimes, you just need to know that you want something cool, and the details work themselves out.

That's my New Year's Resolution: Stop needing to know all the details and reading into everything and just enjoy life. Let the details come when they come.

1 comment:

Krusty said...

You can't just take that stance on everything though, the real skill in life is knowing when and when not to analyse things.