My teacher walked into the classroom and frowned at me while I typed. Apparently my focus while writing is such that I seem angry or upset, as if contemplating a bad exam grade or a disparaging letter to Microsoft for recently mind-wiping my Xbox (The company is sin incarnate. Seeing the RLoD (Red Lights of Death) twice in the last year, my feelings were such that I considered tossing the box into the nearby pond. Then I recalled that Gears of War 2 will arrive shortly and thus promptly recinded my Micro-cidal thoughts . . . for now at least.).
“Murph,” he asked. “Are you ok? You look a little . . . ?”
“Haunted?” I responded with a smile. Thinking about Microsoft will do that to you, like contemplating an impending root canal.
“Sure,” he said with a laugh. “That’s it. Hey how were your comprehensive exams a few weeks ago?”
“Ok,” I said with a shrug. The test went relatively well in that I finished ahead of time and felt relatively confident of success. The residual doubt circulating about my brain questions whether I remembered to type my name on the last three essays or whether it was folly to suggest that Google “lighted fools the way to dusty death.”
My teacher assured me that everything will be fine and strode back out of the computer lab. In truth, my real worry rested in the job market. Yeah, I mounted the hurdle of final exams, but now that I (hopefully) have my degree what do I do with it? Foolishly no potential plans appear before me, nor is it a priority — though it should be. My difficulty lies not in finding a job, but choosing a good one, one to love and enjoy forever and ever. Yet I am abysmally slow at making important decisions, and in order to build up my courage on deciding my life’s pursuits, I seek refuge within books, comics, and immersing videogames.
Questions flit hurriedly as I sit there. Where should I go? What should I do? Do I work solely for the money or should I seek out an occupation that stirs my interest and passion? Should I move away from my family and friends for work? Or do I continue my present residency? Dreams or responsibilities? Fidelity or adventure? Maturity or childhood? My head began to twirl.
Halfway through class my head began to spin a little. My imagination manifested rainbow confetti pouring from light sockets, green M&M’s bubbling from the ceiling, and ice cream sprinkles dribbling under the door like water from an unwatched bathtub. My professor did not seem to notice and continued his lecture, slowly expounding on program testing, quality calculations, job performance, and other mindless terminology. The heat in the room failed to abate; the sight of wind-bent trees through the windows nearly drove me insane. At 6:40 the class ended and I calmly walked to the door as quickly as humanly possible. An autumn breeze embraced me at the door, as a friend-long lost readily missed. Yet though released, my mind continued to spin. Walking to the Metro, the cement tiles of the sidewalk glowed at my step like a disco dance floor or three-dimensional Q*bert pyramid.
At the Metro I unsheathed my latest tome from my backpack as a knight would a claymore. There I stood and relaxed, immersing myself in other’s dreams and battles, allowing the words to wash away the heat and the stress like the voices of old friends. The memory of jobs, tests, and homework fade from mind with each passing word. Like a man haunted by a vision not his own.