McDonald’s and Meatballs and Jesus—Oh My!

As is the case most Sundays, I ate eggs Benedict with hash browns, some pastries, orange juice, coffee, and a bowl of mixed fruit, yogurt, granola, and strawberries. The hash browns were what you might expect from McDonald’s—crispy, greasy, super hot, and tasteless. From now on, I think I’ll skip the hash browns. I can almost feel the grease globules coagulating along my innards as I write.

Breakfast was otherwise very good. Since I overslept and didn’t go to church today (yes, I feel guilty), I ate breakfast a little earlier than usual for a Sunday. This afforded me the chance to catch up with my friend James, who was also eating breakfast. We’re both residents of Wilson Hall, but we most often run into one another at lunchtime.

We talked a fair bit about group presentations (he’s got one coming up, I just finished one), as well as what classes we’re planning to take in the spring. James is still chipping away at a few core requirement classes (primarily math and English), and I’m slowly transitioning into the classes that I actually want to take.

I’ve concluded that the classes I picked for winter quarter couldn’t possibly complement one another better than they do. The only drawback is having Professor Powell for two of them. At first, I simply disliked the man, but now I recognize that he’s a scholar first and a teacher (or professor) at a very distant second. He’s steeped in knowledge and details, but he has no passion or recognizable skill for sharing that information with students (much less leading students to develop an appreciation for it). These are my personal observations and may not ring true for Powell’s limited fans, but I think my observations are based more in fact than prejudice.

This spring, I’m planning to take four classes (sixteen credits) instead of three. I was swamped during fall quarter, but this quarter I feel like I’m twiddling my thumbs. I’ve kept busy with my assignments, but the challenge is missing. My linguistics class from fall quarter was the most refreshing (and challenging) class to date; even though it gave me headaches, I loved it. This quarter, grammar is proving to be a close second, although it’s not as groundbreaking in terms of concepts.

I’m beginning to think about the summer now. Where should I apply for work? Can I get some kind of internship as a technical writer? Will I be forced to reapply at Costco? No, I can’t go back to Costco any more than I can go back to Albertson’s. Those were chapters; disparate chapters, certainly, but they were chapters all the same. I’ve got to buckle down and seek God’s will for the future, instead of playing guessing games. I’ve never been any good at guessing games.

Speaking of guessing games, I guessed wrong about my Nintendo DS Lite. I thought the intermittent problem with the R-button was just a matter of cleaning the contact pad, since the button wasn’t completely unresponsive. I took the unit apart very carefully, following the steps I memorized from watching and reading a dozen tutorials. The whole process was a piece of cake, but when I put it back together and tested the R-button, still no response. The contact piece that’s soldered to the motherboard must be bad or something. Not much I can do about that. What irks me the most is that the eBay listing said nothing about a defective R-button. Now, when I resell the unit, I’m morally obligated to state the unit’s defect, which will doubtless affect its sale price. Oh well.

Thursday night, I attended the “Jesus without Religion” event in the SURC theater. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t what it turned out to be. I had prayed for a chance to invite one of at least three friends to it, and that chance came about two hours before the event. I’ve become friends with a guy named Ryan from poetry class, although I’ve known him since we took the infamously-awful writing center class together. Ryan’s an Iraq veteran, and he’s plenty jaded about many things in life (although, curiously, he likes poetry), but we’re both wannabe fiction writers, and we’ve had a number of discussions about stories, characters, plots, etc. We hung out after class on Thursday, and he invited me to dinner at his apartment. I told him about my plans to go to “Jesus without Religion” at 7pm, and tried to explain what it was about (although I didn’t really know myself). I gather he’s had some kind of past experience with organized religion, but it was worth a shot. He said something to the effect of, “I think that’s kind of an all-or-nothing deal.”

We headed back to his place and had dinner; he made spaghetti and meatballs, and we talked a bit about video games and vampires. I’ve never understood the whole vampire deal—even before the advent of the Twilight phenomenon. If anything, I prefer werewolves, and that much is because of Universal’s original The Wolf Man, starring Lon Chaney Jr. Like Marvel’s incredible Hulk, the character of Lawrence (Larry) Talbot is a tortured soul who views his alternate self as a curse. It’s a kind of epic tragedy, albeit with horrific overtones. Mine is not a fascination with werewolves or man-beasts but the conflict between warring personalities. Unfortunately, werewolves are not immune to the misplaced adulation common to vampires, so I generally stay away from both of them.

In any event, Ryan drove me back to campus in time for “Jesus without Religion,” but he chose not to attend. I wonder now if I should have asked him again; it almost seemed like he wanted to be persuaded, but again, I’m pretty bad at guessing games. When I think how difficult life feels at times, even as a Christian, it boggles my mind to imagine how other people get by, or what drives them to continue. In Ryan’s case, I can tell he’s going (and has gone) through life pretty much on his own. His family life wasn’t all that great, and his current life seems pretty lonely. He has a dream to be a writer, and a dream to be a dancer, and somewhere out there he’s got a dream to fall in love.

It was kind of awkward to hang out, I’ll admit. I’m often perplexed as to why some people befriend me, especially when I don’t do much of the talking, and especially when I don’t do anything to pursue a friendship outside of being polite. Looking into the past, I recognize the types of personalities that I seem to attract, and often wonder why. They’re not all the same, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a distinct pattern. I used to think it was just weird, but after so many years, the common denominator must be something about me.

Do people see me as a project? Am I lump of non-conformity begging to be homogenized? That’s my perception of how other people see me, at least based on our interactions. This is less related to Ryan and similar friends than it is to people in general; the former, to their credit, respect my differences (even if they don’t understand them). Other people though, people who think they know what’s best for me… people who think they know me… those people are mistaken. Not only do they not know or respect me, but they also don’t listen.

In any event, here’s what I’ve got lined up for spring quarter:

  • ENG 310 – Technical Writing; online.
  • ENG 328 – World Literature I; MTThF, 10-10:50am
  • ENG 361 – Shakespeare; MW, 2-3:40pm
  • ENG 364 – Fiction Writing; TTh, 2-3:40pm

I’m second in place on the waiting list for ENG 364, but I think I’ll be able to get in. The narrative screenwriting class wasn’t offered, contrary to the projected schedule, so perhaps I’ll catch it next fall. And by then, I’ll have definitely sorted out this summer’s job conundrum.

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Discussion about this post

  1. Andun says:

    “I wonder now if I should have asked him again; it almost seemed like he wanted to be persuaded, but again, I’m pretty bad at guessing games.”

    Yeah … makes life pretty difficult, eh?

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