Big Rock Sadness Mountain

While grabbing lunch with a friend a few weeks ago, I managed to move a conversation from lunch food to the overwhelming terror of family illness within the span of about ten minutes. She took up the conversational reins and–despite her best efforts–we moved from talking about finals to discussing the prospect of unemployment and destitution post-grad.

Clearly we needed cheering up in the form of obnoxiously-sized, frosted cookies. Cookies procured, we tried to find something nice to talk about. A few sentences later, we were talking about general ennui.

At this point we burst out laughing, because clearly we are broken in the sort of way that turns cookie cake into self-examination.

My friend drew a comparison to a mountain. No matter where our conversation started, we tumbled down the side of Mount Conversation–ricocheting off mountain goats (perhaps listening to the Mountain Goats) and rocky outcrops–and landed in the river of sadness.

In the four or five times I’ve seen her since this realization, we haven’t been able to escape it. It got to the point that a few nights ago I was joking about doing this family coat of arms craft with a crest composed of a mountain, with 40 of cheap malt liquor being poured out, down the mountain, into the river of tears. Perhaps with, “Where I go, sadness follows,” in Latin (for class!). Perhaps a tiny violin could be floating down the river.

At some point, we made the decision to give up trying to avoid our clearly melancholy inclinations.  Continue reading

Gone, baby gone

For the love of Christ, don’t put two condoms on. That is a terrible idea!

I am officially (as of last Saturday) in possession of an Associate of Arts degree from Oxford College of Emory University. It’s not actually in anything, as far as I can tell, but they gave me an inconveniently large piece of parchment with my name in a fancy font on it, so that’s got to be worth something. Thus ends my frequently-emotionally-conflicted tenure at the better of Emory’s two options for starting your degree*.

There was a lot of talk during the commencement speeches about community. That has been my favorite part about Oxford. When my car battery decided to scare me by almost going belly-up before graduation, I knew that there were people at Oxford who would help me tow my car or haul in a replacement battery or generally listen to me freak out. One of my friends helped me jump my car at 10:30 at night in the cold, and there is something–a very real something–to be said for friends who will help you out when they do not have to and when it is inconvenient and cold and late. There is something to be said for that, particularly when those people include not just your peers but your professors, your boss, and your chaplain (doubly so if you, like me, are an atheist–our chaplain’s awesome). That is wonderful. Continue reading