from Hunter Leath
I find it odd that I am in the situation I am right now. It is currently four minutes until midnight in Athens, Georgia. Sitting upon my futon and watching baseball, I am in a deep state of sadness, but I don’t understand why. I am far from depressed, in fact quite the opposite. I may be coming off of the best week I have had in months, one filled with more elation and excitement than I thought I could feel through life at school. But now, as the minutes tick off of my digital clock, my internal clock flips from that genuine happiness to a state of disdain. Why, you may ask? I truly have no clue. This has been happening to me recently and I seem to always brush my shoulders off and trod on through. This is uncharacteristic of me on two regards as you may know, knowing me as well as you do. Firstly, through all of the years that you collectively have known me, how many of you have seen me in a prolonged bad mood? Secondly, if I am, what makes me feel that expressing these emotions for the second time to my group of high school friends will in anyway change anything? I guess I should just explain what is going through my head if I want this to be productive, so here we go.
People remember Armando Galaragga. People remember Armando Galaragga not because of his 8 and 2/3 innings of immaculate pitching, perhaps the best performance of the past decade, but because of the big mistake that was outside of his control that ruined his perfection. I am Armando right now in my head, but I might also be Jim Joyce, the umpire who ruined the game for him. Let me start over without the baseball metaphor. This week was a damn near perfect week in the annals of the history of Nicholas Vincent Suss. In fact, I haven’t felt this happy in weeks. It sounds like something a braggart would say, but I don’t remember a bad thing happening to me between Monday morning and Friday afternoon. I took two tests this week. I got a 94 on an essay and a 97 on an honors test on them respectively. The Yankees won a playoff series. The Titans inexplicably defeated the Steelers. I threw a two hitter against Mikey in Mario Baseball. I made people laugh. I made people happy. People made me laugh. People made me happy. It was a legitimate Elysium soundtracked by The Who, Flight of the Conchords, Matchbox Twenty, and 80s One Hit Wonders. People who had once been hostile to me regarded me in a much easier light. Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia returned well and The League returned fantastically. The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother were back to their old form. Suffices to say I felt great, declaring it to plenty of fringe friends that often wouldn’t give a second thought to my feelings. But what comes up must come down, apparently quicker than most would anticipate.
I went to see Moonrise Kingdom tonight. Every week the Tate Student Center plays a $1 movie for students and this week it was Wes Anderson’s most recent masterpiece. I loved this film. My company for the night, my friend Morgan, loved the film too. It was perfectly written, a masterful piece of cinematographic excellence, acted both subdued and creatively, both active and passive. Even the color scheme, lighting, and production value, things I had never before regarded as important in a movie, I found superb. But it was the plot that has driven me to madness. Let me back up for a moment. This weekend is a bye week for the University of Georgia Bulldogs football team. This may seem completely out of left field, but it is the defining fact of my mood. With a bye week, or any road game for that matter, multitudes of freshmen trek home for a taste of familiarity. I have yet to return to Forsyth County since my departure for Athens, and I am not quite ready yet. I will return next week, as Lambert is playing John’s Creek in football and I want the Gladiators to suck it, and the week after, as it is fall break at UGA. I felt it useless to head home three weekends in a row, so I am here in my dorm right now. My roommate has headed home. My suite-mates have headed home. My next door neighbors have headed home. My floor is quieter than a John Carter fan club meeting right now. The only people left are me and Morgan. Morgan broke up with his girlfriend on Thursday, so he has been off recently. I, coming down off of my school week high, went to dinner with Morgan tonight. While discussing our lonesome situations, we tried to figure out what we should do on a Friday night. When I mentioned a movie playing tonight, he bit and we had two hours to kill before the movie began. We killed the time, watching baseball (which he has next to no understanding of and often asks questions, which I enjoy because it is obvious he is making an effort to appreciate the game) and Netflix until it was time to leave. From the second we sat in our seats at the theater, and then moved to other seats, we were deeply entrenched in the world created for us. I do not want to spoil this movie, as I suggest it to anyone who enjoys living, but I will tell you one thing: it is in its essence a love story, a demented version of Romeo and Juliet with a better ending (I never liked the ending to Romeo and Juliet, there are way too many ways they could have better resolved those issues.) and two twelve year olds being the central focus. The film was a roller coaster of emotions, but none of them were foreign. They spoke of love, death, insecurity, loneliness, dilemmas, and release in the film and I, no stranger to the principle of catharsis, used those emotions to understand my own.
Once again, I have to take you back a little bit, as I have once again gotten ahead of myself. Last weekend, similar things happened to me. Everybody had left except for Mikey, and he spent most of the weekend with John. You know John, but you know him as Chobo. But I lie, he spent most of his time with his girlfriend Heather, leaving me to spend most of my time with his guest. I got bored that weekend. There was no one to talk to, there was nothing to do, there was so little production going on in my head that I almost lost my sanity. But that wasn’t as unbearable as the previous weekend. Coming off of a great home victory over Tennessee, Georgia fans like my hall mates enjoy to occasional beverage of the fermented fruit variety. I prefer to stay sober. It is not out of moral objection, I completely respect anyone’s choices as long as they don’t lead to physical harm, but out of fear of being caught. But alcohol doesn’t bother me too much; in fact no liquid can bother me. People bother me when influenced by it. People bother me for one simple reason: they change slightly. Experiencing alcoholically infused humans as the sober person, as a few of you may know, is not as popular culture has made it out to be. People don’t become blackout, stone-cold hell raisers when they are drunk. Contrary to that belief, I have found that they don’t change so much. They may wobble and they may tilt, the may slur and they may spew, but they are still capable of conversing. But, each person takes a new personality trait. Some people become flirtatious, some become vicious, some become judgmental, and some try to force me to play truth or dare against my will when all I want to do is watch Saturday Night Live and unwind. But this is not what matters at all. In fact, I’m telling you this story to distract myself from my purpose. To refrain from telling you that on those nights I sit by myself and doubt everything I’ve ever thought to be moral and just; that I arise each morning feeling great and end those nights feeling as if I had been the one who did wrong by being different. Maybe that is my problem. Maybe I need to adjust. Maybe I need to realize that thinking about the past, thinking about my high school football days, thinking about Mr. Lauterbach’s class, thinking about standing under a tree before school freshman year, in short thinking about you guys, is counterproductive. Maybe I am truly unfit to change, too young and immature for the pressures of the solo lifestyle. Too set in my ways to ever accept the passage of time, is that me? Have I lived too strictly under the last words I uttered to many of you of any value? Are my three clichés ringing true? Has the best came and went? Has a new door opened? Has an ending occurred? Why do I interpret down time as introspection time? Am I alone in my thoughts? Are there other people thinking what I am thinking? I know I am not homesick, but I know that I prefer home. I love being in college, but I can’t deal with not being in college while in college. My eyes grow weary of the thought of free time, as being free is what restricts me. As I drift into my thoughts, I resent more than I repent. What am I doing?
Morgan and I came back to my dorm after the conclusion of the movie. And I mean conclusion in the truest sense. That movie did not merely end; it wrapped up an hour and a half of pure conflict with a doozy of a finish. Morgan called his mother directly after the film’s denouement and I could see he was hurting. I was hurting, and I had never been anywhere close to feeling the emotions displayed in the film. We didn’t say much to each other for about an hour after the movie ended, save a few remarks about the film and a few seconds of dialogue in between bouts of Super Smash Brother Brawl. We both understood that we were both emotional. Everything I thought in my head was tearing me up, everything he felt was about to burst out of him like a diarrhea of limbic pain. We needed a change of place.
He proposed we take a walk. I was ready for that. As a frame of reference, we took this walk between the time I typed the first paragraph of what you are currently reading and the second paragraph. We strolled down the streets of Athens, lit only by lamps and by cars. The headlights from a distance careened off of the building facades, as a tennis ball being dribbled in one hand before it is about to be served. Leaves and nuts fell upon our heads from the trees above us, as if they were gifts from the serene and black high heavens. We talked. In a simple sense, we sought to resolve each other’s issues. I gave him advice on how to decide whether or not to try to get back together with his girlfriend and he gave me advice on how to get one of those in the first place. I told him my insecurities and he me. We laughed at our intricacies, we reveled in our similarities, and we basked in the glory of the night sky above Sanford Stadium. This walk was everything for us. He texted his girlfriend immediately when we got back, and he is taking care of her, an inebriated version of her, but her, as we speak. I wish them all the best, as everything I learned from our conversation points to the fact that he cares about her. And I learned the gift of insight. Where my thoughts are my nemeses, my words are my elixir. Where I had strived for the Halcyon of my past, I learned once again that perspective is all I needed. I am set in my ways, because my ways make me the person that make people flock to me and make me respect myself. I doubt myself because if I didn’t examine myself, I wouldn’t have a life worth examining. I change in how I stay the same. I am me, so there is no sense in caring whether or not I am correct in being me.
Is it me for a moment? The stars are falling. The heat is rising. The past is calling. Is it me for a moment? Pete Townshend wrote that lyric in the middle of his epic Doctor Jimmy, the song that has been playing on loop in my head for over a week now. In that same song he wrote two other personalities, a violent one and a confident one. These tones have done work on my head and my body. Everyone catches glances of themselves in moments of tumult. But I have found the way to deal with that is to simply think these lyrics while looking up at the sky or out the window and just breathing. For a moment, I feel bliss. For a moment the stars do fall, I see the heat rise, and the past calls to me. Each weekend I resolve my dilemma and lead myself into a great week, only to break myself back down. Is it me for a moment? I’d be lying to say that I didn’t write this to justify my insanity. I, like many, am trying to find a cure for the sane. I am jilted and jaded, bent and broken. I don’t believe that I should feel anything, but I feel everything. The stars are falling. Why do I analyze myself so often? The heat is rising. Why must I take a mood swing as an existential crisis? The past is calling. And above all else, why does talking to a computer, intending the screen to be my old friends, my safety blanket, my tight end, comfort me so? Is it me for a moment?