It’s late Saturday night, Sunday morning by Boston time, and I’m hunched over on the airport floor. My eyes are glazed with the exhausting combination of spending quality time with my family/staying up late talking to people about Life, capital L/eating way too many yams, and I’ve almost entirely tuned out my surroundings when a thirty-something-ish man steps over me. The cry of the small child in his arms yanks me unpleasantly back to Earth like Floo powder. The babies are after me, I think, as my heart plummets from my chest onto San Francisco International’s questionably-colored carpet.
I don’t know what it is about me and public transportation and babies. Though I don’t visit home particularly frequently, going to school 3,000 miles away means I’m racking up more frequent flyer miles ever before, and so I’ve pretty much experienced the pinnacle of bad flights – zero leg room, back row seating with the constant smell of bathroom wafting overhead for six hours, the guy in front of me reclining into my spleen, the guy on my right bathed in eu d’blah-blah-YOU’RE ON AN ENCLOSED AIRCRAFT, BUDDY – pretty much seen, done, and smelled it all.
But my limit comes at babies. I love kids, I really do. Really really really really, really really do. I babysit, and I go all girly and goo-goo-eyed at infants with their little-itty-bitty fingers and toes and their tiny shoes… BUT. However. There comes a point when you have not slept all night becaue you thought you’d get better rest on the plane, when you’re all tucked in under the ambiguously sanitary travel blanket, and you’ve changed into your footsie pajamas (okay, I don’t have footsie pajamas, but if I did I would definitely wear them), and your iPod’s on your sleeping playlist and you’re JUST ON THE BRINK OF DRIFTING OFF when the kid starts to scream and you think, I’m gonna go Sparta on that kid and kick him into a well.*
(Why yes! I did watch 300 over Thanksgiving. My family actually watched it three times, in three different languages. Nothing says epic like “ESTA – ES – SPARTAAA!”)
I suppose you can be thankful for this particular kid, though, because 1) there is only one of them, unlike the time when there were not one, not two, but FOUR crying in harmony on my first flight of sophomore year and 2) it is keeping me up to write this blog entry. Thanks, baby. And so my Thanksgiving break can not only be described as epic, but also too short, and hairy. Perhaps a more proper term would be ‘beard’-y, as it seems that about half of my male friends have grown beards since I came back from school. (“What? It’s No-Shave-November.” -Nick) I mostly ate a lot of food, and caught up with high school friends, family friends, randomly met but now current friends, in which we discussed the current states of our lives and how they compared to the previous states of our lives, and then ate a lot more food.
Sophomore year seems about as good a time as any for a midlife crisis, and from all those aforementioned discussions of Life, capital L, it seems to be happening/has happened to just about everyone I know. Keri dropped her double major; my hardcore physics friend at Claremont recently discovered he really enjoyed molecular biology and took a 180 into a bio major. I myself unofficially re-declared myself ‘undeclared’ at some point in the middle of the semester (which just means I thought to myself, “hmm, I dislike my current major”); shortly before I came home for Thanksgiving I officially changed my major; then over the three days at home I began reconsidering a different path. Even more than that, most of us are dealing with this weird thing about sort of, kind of being adults now (which I’m particularly terrible at; I forgot to change my Brita filter before I left for California and just drank half a cup of moldy water. Hopefully all those yams aren’t going to come back up).
But I won’t give you the dissatisfaction of telling you what major I’ve settled on for now, since it’ll probably change by tomorrow and we’ll be back to square one. :)
The thing that keeps coming back to me, though, is that I keep feeling like that everything important that I’ve been screwing up lately is going to make some monumental difference upon where I end up in life, but when I look closer most of what’s become important to me has all been the result of chance and momentary mistakes. Maybe it’s just a function of me being happy wherever I end up. Then, though, I have to remind myself that I certainly haven’t “ended up” anywhere, and these decisions and apparent slip ups are all part of the journey. A journey filled with screaming babies, no less.
IN ANY CASE. There are three weeks until I finish my finals and say goodbye to my first semester as a sophomore, and the sunrise falling gracefully on crimson New England trees below means it’s probably time to get my shoes back on. Three weeks filled with neuroscience readings, problem set grading, lots and lots and lots of hours of dance practice, and a couple long shifts on the ambulance before I get to fly back home; three weeks in which hopefully, just maybe, I’ll start to figure a little more of this out.
*I know that now I’m going to get all sorts of hate mail from Young Mother Travelers of America, so I apologize. I really don’t mean to be insensitive to mothers and their travel needs. Maybe you’re the kind of mother that never, EVER travels with her kid and have to make an emergency flight from San Francisco to Boston because Dora the Explorer is coming to town, or something, but if that’s true I’ve been present at least six or seven of these emergencies, and it’s starting to get a little old because a lot of them are red-eyes and I am sometimes selfish at four in the morning. Alrighty? I know I’ll probably hate myself for saying this when I have a kid later on, and have to make all sorts of emergency flights to large metropolitan areas with many college kids, but for now, can all the babies please just STAY IN ONE PLACE??