16: Excuse Me

 

I just lost my Chapstick in the most ridiculous way imaginable: it fell out of my purse and rolled down the subway bench, behind the back of the man who is sleeping beside me. Do I wake him up and essentially tell him to move over so I can get my Chapstick? I mean, I just bought it. I am always losing them before I can finish them. It cost like two bucks.

I did it. Whatever. He lived.

I have one class left and I'm afraid I'm not taking advantage of this experience. This has always been one of my fatal flaws: relinquishing advantage, instead of taking it. I should always do more, ask more questions, take more risks. Put Myself Out There. Sometimes I like to torment myself with all of the parallel universes containing the results of decisions I should have but failed to make: I should have networked with this person. I should have applied to be grade team leader. I should have gone into more debt transferring to NYU sophomore year. Like, whatever. What's a couple more thousand dollars? What even is money, in such staggering negatives? Who cares, when we're all going to die one day anyway? It's December and it's 50 degrees and Donald Trump is a real person who people are actually listening to. We're floating on a ball in an endless black sea of other balls. What does any of this matter?

The tyranny of talk. I feel 80% of the things people say could have been left unsaid. I find it nearly impossible to betray this most essential facet of my being, and so I barely speak, and come off as rude, or stupid, or shy. I convince myself that I have little of value to say. I listen to other people and find myself thinking similar thoughts, even as I envy them their ability to speak endlessly on anyway. How do you do it? I wonder. I can't believe that I'm a teacher. A few years ago my grade team had to do presentations for the parents and kids who showed up for orientation. They stuck me in a room and told me to talk about something, I don't know, dress code, maybe. We would talk to them in 30 minute rotations. I was done talking in about seven minutes. The parents and kids basically stared at me until it was time for them to go to the next room. It was awful.

I mean, I'm glad I spoke up and got my Chapstick back though.