My friend JL said she was having a rough day. Well, she wrote that she was having a rough day, rather, and as I thought about how to reply, my well-trained narcissist within started formulating an experience of my own to share with her ("Oh, I know what she needs! She needs a kitchsy story from my past to relate with, and then everything will make sense to her again!").
I began by reminiscing on my college days, how some days I would walk across the Texas Tech campus thinking how great it was that I had the chance to attend such a big university, listening to the marching band practicing over by the music building, and watching the football team running drills near the stadium. Most days, however, it was a completely different story, as I fought against the bitter wind, pulling doors open with all my strength only to be literally sucked into the building and thrown to the ground with the force of the door slamming shut again. I would park at least 3 miles away from whatever class I was already 15 minutes late to, and my mind was occupied 99.8% of the time with a constant internal debate:
"Why go to class now? You're already 25 minutes late, and it's only a 50 minute class. The embarrassment will FAR outweigh any benefit you might get from actually being there,"
"NO, I have to go! I haven't been even once in the last two weeks, and I think we might even be having a test in there today! Besides, I paid for these classes, and I might as well get the most out of them."
"Get the most out of them? What a freaking joke! You missed that test two days ago and you know it. You blew it! BLEW IT! Might as well go back home and crawl under the covers, you loser. You're never going to graduate anyway. It's pointless."
If the verbal abuse of the antagonist failed to persuade me from my course, it would quickly launch an appeal to my sympathies:
"Brrr! It sure is a cold one out here today! Must be at least 10 degrees below zero. No? Well, maybe that's just the windchill. Anyway, don't you think you should consider your health? Yeah, that's true, you really can't afford to get sick. Yep, midterms are coming up pretty soon. Can't miss those, nope, you really can't! You'd better get yourself back in that car and maybe even stop by Starbucks on your way back home to get something warm circulating! No, no one would expect you to be in class today. It's totally unreasonable!"
Some days were particuarly rough, days where all I could think about was dropping out, getting in my car, driving as far away as I could get, and then finding some kind hearted people in my new, glamourous town who would take me in and constantly affirm my decision to drop out and find something "better" Because You Derserve It! One day while running a quick errand to the post office or grocery store, I would be discovered by a well-known talent agent (I don't know what talent I thought they would discover, but that never mattered) and then I would almost immediately (I wouldn't be opposed to some character-building hard work, just not for any lengthy period of time) become rich and famous. I would buy an amazing downtown loft and think to myself as I was falling asleep on 4000 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets "See, I knew I didn't need college...what a waste of time that was for someone like ME".
On those days it was a sure thing that I would race back to my car and drive home in a panic, frantic to get online and check the status of my bank account. When my bank account failed miserably at giving me any kind of option for a plane ticket (why drive if you can fly, right?), I would then start calculating how much gas I would need to drive cross-country. I would invariably run out of money in some forsaken part of Ohio or Utah, depending on what I had selected as my final destination. As living out of the trunk of my car outside of Findlay, Ohio was decidedly not glamourous, and couldn't even really pass as bohemian, I would resign myself again to the life I had before me, pulling out my class syllabus and sighing as I figured out a new excuse for missing class.