It always amazes me how it’s so cold but still the sun shines out. It’s like the sun is teasing me in this bitter cold but yet beautiful how these things co-exist. I do understand why it is still cold from a scientific standpoint but thinking in that way sort of ruins the fun. The cold is all around you but once you look up you can see the sun wanted to give you the warmth that you need but it is unobtainable, teasing you from about 93,000,000 miles. I guess this interests me so much because it is an expression of my life.
You see it’s my first semester of college and I had a really hard time getting acclimated. I thought things would be different but it’s the same. I thought the people would be nicer but in fact it’s worse, my roommate Darius is a jerk, the girls are mean and the workload is not what I fathomed. Those are just the external problems, internally I’m a mess. It’s already hard being a college student but added with my depression, being African American in a really trying time and my social anxiety, I’m surprised I’m still alive.
I thought about suicide many times but never really tried it. I think I’m weak for it but my friends think otherwise. “The fact that you are still alive facing your problems make you strong. I appreciate the fact that you aren’t giving up”, those words from my friends back home who have created such a great support system but unfortunately they aren’t here. I tell them how I have struggled with making friends and they told me that I should talk to people that live in the dorms with me so I guess that is where I will start. There is a group of people that usually talks about politics and real world problems outside my dorm maybe if I can impress them with my intellect and witty comments I can finally find my footing in this horrible place. This excites me as I grab my thinks and hurry to back to my dorm.
This walk is especially painful because it’s on the other side of campus and I recently just broke my headphones so instead of listening to music I find myself looking up current events preparing for this conversation. I would like to describe myself as an intellectual but unfortunately my mouth doesn’t seem to agree with me at most times. As I cross the street I see a newer model red Toyota Camry run straight through a stop sign! At first I was angered but I was envious at how rash of a decision that driver made. I was jealous that even though he or she made the wrong move it somehow worked out for them. This was a pleasantry that I have not experienced. I wish I could just act like that without any repercussion.
Finally I reach the door to the campus followed by the daily smokers with their longboards, I give them a nod like I usually do and then head in. I take steps up to my room because I am too excited to show my newly obtained knowledge of foreign policy, race relations and all the articles I have skimmed on my walk back. As I walk to my dorm I see them waiting outside this time it’s both my RA’s and two people, one I have seen around campus and one I haven’t. As I observe one of the females I notice how beautiful she is and I begin to get nervous. So I do a shy wave to them and I immediately run to my room and shut the door behind me.
My heart pounds as I throw my backpack down and take a seat. I take a breather and try to convince myself that she isn’t a big deal. I mean she is just a human like me right? Well probably not considering that she probably isn’t freaking out over someone she hasn’t met yet. I try to gather myself so I can head outside. I take a deep breathe and send a quick text to my friends to see if they can psyche me up. I wait a second for a reply but they haven’t so I decided to head out.
As I walk out of my room I hear one of my RAs, “Oh I’m sorry if we are too loud we can move”.
“Oh no it’s fine I just heard what you guys were talking about and it was interesting”, I said trying to act all nonchalant.
They accepted me in no problem and we began to chat upon various topics well by we i mean they I am more of a fly on the wall at this point. I have been “contributing” with some weak nods and basically being a yes-man. I take a few glances over at the cute girl and I try to snatch back before she notices. I have to say something quick before it gets awkward. “Ummm you had.. Ummm something in your hair so so I was waiting until you got done talking to tell you”. For a moment it seems they didn’t hear me or that they were shocked that I said something but this silence feels forever. What I said was perfectly normal right? Right? Soon the silence is broken as she goes through her hair searching for the nonexistent something.
“I still haven’t found it yet, is it out yet?” she says letting her hair down that was previously in a ponytail.
“Yeah it’s out now you are ok”, I answered.
“Thanks I’m grateful that you helped me”, she stated as she finally stopped fiddling with her hair to look up at me. Who says such nice things like that? There is something about her that makes me smile, maybe it’s just how polite she is or just her beautiful smile. Either way I’m just enthralled by her beauty if only we could just become friends.
“Hi Grateful, my name is Victor”, I said thinking this would be a funny joke. Girls always love guys who are funny no matter how ugly they are, right?
“Ummmmmm”, she says twisting her face, “My name is actually Lindsey.” As she stands there looking confused, a weird but yet familiar pain arose from my abdomen. This feeling I known too well and can only be explained by the cringe.
You know how you just randomly think about a social faux pas that could’ve happened like 5 years ago but yet you are still embarrassed by it, this will probably be one of those moments.
“Yeah it’s a joke”, I reply chuckling nervously. She lets off a smile as if she pitied me. I could tell it was forced it made me all the more uncomfortable.
“You know it’s not a joke if you have to say it’s a joke”, Jared retorted. Everybody laughs at my expense. I liked Jared well more envied him he always knew what to say. It seemed so easy for him like it’s second nature. For me unfortunately I have to think before I move my mouth and no matter how hard I think something always stupid exits.
Aside from that I we are having a good time talking about random topics ranging from sports to eating healthy. My random knowledge is showing well and I feel like I am gaining the respect of my peers.
Jared pulls out his phone and began showing us a video of how a white kid gets beat up for calling a black kid a nigger.
“I thought you said it was gonna be a cool video”, Renee my other RA said, “ This is honestly just nonsense.
“Yeah violence is stupid”, Lindsey gracefully states in such a beautiful tone. I wonder how she can make something so rudimentary sound so elegant and deep. I think I could possibly love her.
“I mean yeah but that guy deserved it, I don’t know why white people think they can use the n-word”, Jared replies. It is followed by nods by the other 2. Since I have yet to say about his topic they all look to me and the resident black person who is obviously such an “expert” on this issue. I don’t care to get into my feelings at least not right now.
Right now I see this as an opportunity, I watched this one video discussing the science behind humor and why somethings or funny and why aren’t. Something about neural pathways and your brain automatically connects to when you hear something. What makes something funny is when your brain is expecting something else to be said but the person who tells the joke gives them something they don’t expect. It’s hard for me to recall this video as it was like a year ago. I use these moments of silence to conjure up the best joke possible in such a short notice.
This jokes is so clever they should appreciate my genius!
“I use the n-word all the time”, I say with a smirk expecting them to smile but all I see are uncomfortable and disappointed faces.
“Uhhhhhh” Jared mumbles.
I look at Renee and she is just avoiding eye contact while whistling.
“Okay” Lindsey says under her breath. This one stings the most because I really thought I was getting somewhere with her.
At this point I remember another video I watched on the science of awkwardness. I didn’t really need to watch this video because I am the physical embodiment of cringe.
“Sooooooooo I heard there is a new pizza place on the east side of campus we should all go sometime”, Jared says to kill the awkwardness. They both agree. That Jared always knows what to say such a smooth talker.
They still begin talking about random topics and my chest begins to hurt. I feel unwelcomed by these people now. I begin breathing heavy and I slowly back out of the conversation so I can get control of myself again. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to talk to people. This will definitely be one of those random moments that I remember that’ll make me cringe.
As I get back to my dorm I look up at the sun it’s gone covered in the clouds. Even Mother nature can create funny jokes.
I worst part is I couldn’t deliver my punchline. Nachos.