Monday, January 21, 2008

Take a helium taxi home to me

Today I experienced half an hour of concentrated happiness.

I got to take the briefest chunk of time out of my normally hectic day and forget about anything but just sitting in the company of two people who are bright spots in my life. This was a good experience for me on a number of levels.

The first thing that struck me is how valuable time spent with someone is. There is something intangible about being with someone. I have a few friends that I mainly relate to via correspondence. (Interestingly enough, I feel like I have some of the more meaningful relationships with friends who are apart). But, as I was sitting with my two friends, I looked at the one who lives away, and I realized that this was really a great moment. So great.

It's obvious to say it, but physical presence gives a reality to friendship that you can't obtain looking at a computer screen, reading a piece of paper or speaking over the telephone. Of course, out of the three, communicating via e-mail or instant message is the least personal. At least with the telephone and handwritten letters, there is a piece of the other person transmitted also. A voice, a style of handwriting.

The other thing I realized is that I don't often participate in an activity and focus just on that moment. When I am in class, I'm thinking about stories that need to be written or photos that need to be taken. When I'm in chapel, I'm thinking about homework that needs to be done, and in most cases I've brought some to work on. The problem with this is that not giving my full focus to the task at hand means that I end up doing a half-assed job on both things.

The worst aspect of this is that I am unable to enjoy the things I like because I have labeled them as work. Here, only a week and a half into the new school year, I am suffering from the disease of not being able to do things I enjoy because I have classified them as work.

I really do have a good time writing for the newspaper and taking photographs, but because they have become required I have become tricked into thinking they are undesirable. Hence, I waste time. Yesterday, despite all my best intentions to be productive and use the day as opportunity to catch up with responsibilities, I wasted a full four hours. And I didn't have fun.

It's a mean town but I don't care
Try and steal this
Can't steal happiness

Night settles, still working on a way to breathe
Don't you go, don't you go down
Take a helium taxi home to me

--"Happiness" by the Weepies

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