Green Eyes

An Essay By Ben // 1/8/2003

At 8:29 this morning I must have flipped the "off" button on my alarm. I woke up at 10 (as usual) and (as usual) grimaced at the clock. I haven't been so punctual in my waking this vacation. I just lay in bed and started reading the latest Dostoyevsky novel: The Possessed. I read The Idiot this summer and Crime and Punishment the summer before. Not what you would call light reading! Then the phone rang, and it was for me. Who would call me at 10am?? It was my friend Dan. He was on 495 going north toward the Manchester airport, and his car had died.

"What are you doing?" he said. "I'm at home – and I'm reading Dostoyevsky," I replied, with a sinking feeling. His next words were, "can I ask you a favor?" By 1pm I had him and his girlfriend at the airport, a whole 15 minutes before their plane took off!

First, we tried jump-starting his car in the emergency lane on the highway. I don't think that lane is made to fit two cars side-by-side like that... but we weren't hit by any trucks. The car worked for a while, so I drove behind them until we got into New Hampshire. The car died again in New Hampshire, and I panicked trying to find them after I passed them on a residential street. Some close calls later, and they finally jumped into my car leaving their car to bite the dust in a parking lot. "Danielle will get it towed," Dan told me. We flew (yes, flew) the rest of the way to the airport. I've never gone through a highway toll at 95mph before....

I sound annoyed by the whole thing, but I actually think I enjoyed it more than anything else! After I dropped them off, I called my mom at home and my dad at work to let them know that we all survived. They had been helping me find the jumper cables and giving me advice throughout. Then I called my friend's apartment to see if I could come over and say "hello." We played Boggle and ate brownies. The brownies were good. I stank at Boggle. Erin was getting 36 points a game, while me and Bernadette had 13 at the very best. I was happy to see those friends from school.

But none of this is what I feel like writing. I don't know what I want to write about: and this is what I want to write about. I feel asleep, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Dull. Boring. Comatose. Lethargic. Today it's bothering me. I want to do something or go somewhere to wake myself up once and for all. Perhaps we all feel this way sometimes. I have visions of myself running around in the snow barefoot – or driving to some distant state on a whim.

Nothing that I did today woke me up, unless it woke me up to how sleepy I feel these days. I don't want to be a boring person. Mostly it is lack of direction. I have vision. The photograph I took while on the ferry to Greece inspires me. The lifestyle of a monk, of a writer, of a teacher, of a painter, of my parents... none of these great vocations are mine now, and it's hard to foresee if they ever will be. What, in heaven's name, am I supposed to do? Now, this moment. Misdirected zeal, sin, weakness - these will somehow educate us all in patience. But maybe we've been a little too patient these days. One of these days....

Instead of looking at that island, I need to walk or swim that sea and touch its sand. The trouble is finding the island formed for me to climb.

(Written while listening to Coldplay's newest CD)


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