Monday, October 10, 2005

A reality I touch but for me it's hard to keep

Not going to be the normal, funny, quirky thoughts here for my 2 or 3 fans. Sorry if I disappoint.

Today I was on my friend's roof, a brownstone on Bay State Road in Boston. From there I could see the entire city from each side of the Charles, could see the third baseline in Fenway, could feel the wind kicking off the river as I stared into the outreach of lights and concrete that went on for miles. But there was a sharp contrast between that world and the one where my feet were placed, a very evident crack in reality. From where I stood I clearly saw the edge of the building, from 4 stories up. One of the kids walked right to that edge and stared down. One quick breeze and that was it.

You never think about how close you are to death, how rudimentary the whole process is, until you can stare at it from 10 feet away. Just to think that I can take 10 steps to the left and I'm 3 steps past death.

I am presently writing a paper for my psuedo-journalism class on the death of Joey Smeen, but more so the ramifications of what it meant. Most of the people who are reading this understand what I'm talking about, and there is no need to go any further, and a smaller minority were crushed by the passing of others in our bubble community of Park Ridge (MV, RG, and so on).

With such clarity, I can remember vividly getting asked by Tyler Rogers what I should do about one of his girl problems in 6th grade, about how there were notes being passed around, his feelings, and what he should do about it. This was a first, someone coming to me (let alone with the social stature of one Tyler Rogers) for advice. Easily it became the most important part of my life, where I dedicated the entire day to whether or not he should date this girl (who I forget, unfortunately). These were the questions that plagued me, that challenged me, that would haunt me on a day-to-day basis.

When should I ask out Jenna Peles? Who is better, Patrick Ewing or Shaq? If I had a choice between Rage and Limp Bizkit, who would I choose?

Remember when that was life?

There are built-in mechanisms in this world that assume that you will get to a certain maturation level, that you are mandated to grow up to this point by this amount of time. From first to sixth grade, you develop on your own to think abstractly and understand all forms of manners (and try not to fight over football game rules during recess). In middle school, you are being prepped for the work load and responsibilities of high school. In high school, you are being taught to be ready for the slings and arrows of being a young adult, with raging hormones thrown in for extra fun. This prepares you for college which, in four quick years, will fully prepare you for life.

Clearly, I believe this is horseshit.

We are all at, or coming to, a serious set of crossroads in our lives. Here we are, some of us sophmores in college, gearing up to have careers and lives seperate from all others in at least two more years. There is no other way to describe the feeling than terrified.

There are no other people to pass the blame on to, we are now at a point where our actions are our actions. Mommy and Daddy can't be called up to bail you out of any situation, running to them and telling on Bobby will not get you out of court. For every action there are a serious of repercussions that will occur whether you want them to or not: the ripple you cause cannot be stopped.

This summer has seen the likes of ethics being pushed to the boundries, the weighing down of someone's health vs. your life, the possibility of the validity in your future goals, as well as countless others that have been brought up with any number of the people who read this.

Now we are at a time where everything matters. At what point does experimentation become a dangerous addiction? Where is the line between forcing a girl to have sex with you and rape? Who deems it necessary for who gets help? Who doesn't need it? When does something become too much? When do you step in?

If you get caught smoking weed now and it is put on your record, your future could be dead while you're still learning how to get there. If you put your hand down that girl's pants no matter how bad you think they want it, how many times they said "yes" before just saying "no" how would you like to spend your jail time? How would you like to spend the rest of your life as a registered sex offender?

We have gone far past a cushy life where everyone gets along, everything is just fine, and eveywhere is happiness. The harsh reality is some of us will be lost to excesses of drugs and drinking, and some of us will be put in jail. Some of us will be incredibly successful too, but it will almost certainly come at a price. Very few get the silver spoon treatment (and being at a second-tier, incredibly expensive college fully understand the irony of this statement) and a good majority of us have to fight and claw and be let down, knocked down, and pushed down before we can make it back to the surface.

This is a world I'd rather not take part in. It's a place that's polluted and dismal and dreary, a place where dreams crash and die at your feet. Sometimes this is out of your control, and sometimes it is soley on your own volition. We can't control everything, we don't always know what's smart or right, but we are going to have to learn somehow. Unfortunately, the only way we can truly find out is learning by experience.

And hopefully that experience doesn't swallow us all whole.

Here's to life, adulthood, and the onset of reality. Cheers.

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