“Am I some kind of condescending prick for feeling mildly embarrassed for these kids?”

“Well,” Kevin said after some consideration, “it’s a Sunday night in May and this IS a Walmart parking lot. You would think that there’d be some better way of spending your time . . .”

Kevin and I had parked our car and stared in wonder at the convocation of pick-ups and supped-up Hondas at the far end of the Walmart. Carroll County Maryland has never proven itself the most . . . urbane area in the state, but occasionally my neighbors go out of their way to check off every stereotype in the book.

Local teenagers leaned against the bumpers and sat on car roofs, watching some kid attempt to drop-kick a basketball at one of the parking lights.  Occasionally, he’d routinely lose control, and their heads would turn with the syncopation of a Wimbledon crowd to gaze at kid and ball bouncing across the asphalt.  Another weird feature: there was no music.  Nothing audible at least.  It seemed the kid and his basketball was the main event here.
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Dropped Out

Well, I truly screwed up this time. Today was to be my first of class for the summer, a week-long nine to five excursion through the city’s museums and art collections, yet last Monday something happened: I started my summer reading. Typically at the beginning of each summer, I peruse the children’s collections at the local bookstores for a fun adventure series to explore for the next few months. Kevin currently was reading the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Lightning Thief, a book I recall one of my fellow classmates recommending a few months ago.

To make a long story short, I dove into the series devouring first four books within a few days. The series does a wonderful job of incorporating Greek myths into daily life, and I relished the characterizations of all the gods, goddesses, heroes, monsters, and legends. Every so often, I would halt my reading to peruse a section of the Odyssey or Ovid’s Metamorphosis, just to guess who the emerging monster or new god. The series even included a nice Potter-ian epic storyline and a blossoming romance. I got hooked, falling totally into “story sickness” once again.

Yet I realized last night that my excursion into the realm of myth cost me a great deal of time, necessary to prepare for the upcoming class. A twenty entry annotated bibliography required for Tuesday had not even been considered. A group presentation for Wednesday, after consulting my school email, had already begun. Sources had already been distributed, summarized, and analyzed. I had barely skimmed the four page proffered list of sources. The group had decided to meet tonight to discuss thoughts and powerpoint. Class had not even begun, and I was already failing.

Now two weeks prior, I had gazed briefly at the syllabus. Never a fan of academic journals/writing (ever since NIH the longwinded style simply puts me to sleep), the immense load of research and reading scared me a little, but I thought myself capable of finishing it all in a few hours time. After all between Iron Man and Speed Racer movies, Percy Jackson and my writing, learned journals seemed so much less important, too unexciting and dull for serious contemplation. Thus, although I have an excuse, it is not much of one.

Learning of the immense work, I had yet to complete sent a shockwave of anxiety through my stomach, similar to waking at 2AM to realize your toothpick bridge (25% of total grade) for Honors Physics may be due tomorrow. I nearly threw up. Then I decided to drop the class.

I now wake this morning, feeling somewhat refreshed, invigorated, and totally worthless. It is a strange feeling, sacrificing education for a children’s book. Yet sometime along the past week or so something else just became more important. Given the chance, I would probably do it again. No regrets; although I realize how irresponsible and stupid this makes me sound. In the end, I just could not help myself. Knowing how the current series ends, somehow eclipsed school work. The only problem now is what will I end up reading today . . .