Here is an old assignment I did for ENGL 106 for the summer. I meant to post it a long time ago, like in the summer, but for some reason got sidetracked. I just came back from a super long walk which is why I wanted to post it. I hope you guys enjoy it. It’s written like an enhanced blog.
Many things can devastate a human. Death of a family member, war, job loss, but one of the most powerful is that of finding out someone who you thought cared about you, doesnt. I am of course talking about a breakup. It can make a grown man weep, and knock you on your ass before you even realize it. In October of 2006 I had the displeasure of experiencing this. It was my first semester in college and away from home. Thats enough to deal with by itself without all this nonsense. It can really overwhelm a person. One November evening shortly after Halloween it was proving too much to handle. My roommate was blasting his music way too loud like usual. I couldnt relax. I had to get out and clear my head. I grabbed my jacket and my best friend, my iPod, and headed out the do
It was a calm, quite evening. The air had a kiss of crispness. It was my favorite type of weather, Autumn. If I could so choose to, I would probably live outsideduring the Fall. My journey began from my residence hall, Tarkington. I needed to go somewhere without people, I didnt want to see or talk to another individual. I just needed to be alone. I put my headphones in and set it to something soothing, something relaxing. I believe I decided upon Broken Social Scenes You Forgot it in People. Which if you have never heard it, please do yourself a favor and give it a listen. I was still a newbie to campus so I didnt know exactly where everything went, but I decided to give myself a goal. Get myself lost. If I could get myself lost then clearly there would be no one there. Not the best idea in hindsight, but it also wasnt the first time I had attempted such a venture. Off I was, not knowing where I was going, but finally some peace, some alone time. Some time to reflect.
I headed west towards the intramural fields. There was virtually no one around. I honestly cant recall what day of the week it was, but I imagine it must have been early because even the frats were quiet as a mouse. Taking this walk I had an immediate sense of tranquility flow through my body. It really was helping. I tried not to think about the situation that had happened a few weeks earlier with my ex as it had invaded and taken over every thought like a virus. It was nice not having to think about anything unparticular. Just enjoy the weather and let the music flow.
After heading west for about 20 minutes, I came to an intersection. If I went left it would take me to the Purdue West shopping center which didnt fit the criteria of the walk. I didnt know where right went, or where I would end up. I could possibly get lost. Perfect. I started right and by this time the surroundings were new, so I was trying to take everything in. There was a golf course that ran adjacent to the walkway I was on, I think it was Purdues Ackerman Hills. Every so often a car would zoom by at what I can only imagine was NOT the speed limit. The night was just so dark that the trees seemed to be one black mass. Itwas a really amazing thing to see, the black outline of the forest against the midnight blue of the sky. It was something that would make for an excellent photograph; the only thing is that it might not be able to be captured by photo lens. Maybe it would be better off as a painting. The sky was clear and the stars were out. I mean they were out at full force. It was truly a breathtaking view. It was like someone took a handful of glitter and threw it across the sky. I spent much of my journey with my head tilted towards the sky.
I wondered to myself how many people had taken the same path I was currently walking and why. The walk was paved so it had to get some use. Did they need a break from the tediousness? I wonder if anyone was in the exact same situation I was in. Not just here, but all over the world. I tried to think of people who had it worse off. I was in such a rut of self pity that I needed something to put the whole situation into perspective. Staring at the stars and thinking of the marble we live on really is a humbling experience. It shows how insignificant we really are in the grand scheme of things. We can really loose focus when we get wrapped up in our own personal problems.
I continued floating aimlessly down sidewalk just admiring the night, letting my mind drift into any direction it pleased. I cant recall specifics as to what I was thinking about for a large part of the walk as I was in a trance like state. If I had to play third-party looking at me I can only imagine the thoughts that would go through my mind. Something to the sound of is this kid high?wouldnt be outside the realm of reality. So, I was sauntering about when I come to this 3-way intersection. I was quite a ways from campus by this time. My natural sense of directionit told me campus was to the right. A little ways up ahead I notice this old fence. The kind you would see by some rotting old barn that you swear the slightest breeze will have that thing topple into dust. The fence had this walkway lined with trees and such, it was really pretty. I take this little side path and I was still not one with reality. Most of the time my head was tilted towards the sky admiring the starlight, but something made me angle my head down and check the ground. I was standing on some type of lettering. I back off it and it reads, TURN BACKwith an arrow pointing the other way. It was like I was immediately thrusted from my land of beautiful stars and plunged into a dark world of fear. My heart was racing and to add to it in front of the path there were trees that were encroaching on either side that seems to swallow up any thing that it housed. The first thing that entered my mind was, Why the hell am I out here in the middle of nowhere at night, and to top it off, by myself. I turned off my iPod so I could hear if anyone was coming up behind me. I was that paranoid. I started back to campus. Not my lackadaisical stroll I had prior, but a power walk for my life. I kept checking over my shoulder expecting to see some deranged old redneck toting a chainsaw or bloody hatchet. It had to be the longest walk of my life, the road seemed to get longer.
I did make it back physically unscathed, mentally, not so much. I told my roommate and he kind of gave me this expression of, Yeah, right and monkeys might come flying out of my butt. Surprisingly, this did not deter me from future night walks along, but I wasnt stupid enough to go back that way again. I realized later that it was probably some prank kids pulled because it was after Halloween.
The walk did exactly what I wanted it to do; put things in perspective and take my mind of things. Nothing quite puts things into the right light like your life being in danger, or at least you thinking your life is in danger. So in essence, even though the whole thing lead me to be terrified, it was a success. Its weird how your mind can really play tricks on you. In retrospect I dont think I would have been hacked to pieces or disemboweled, but being all alone in an unfamiliar place can transform even the most logical of people.It also makes you think how quickly a situation can take a 180. Just a few simple words changed what was a very enjoyable walk into something life threatening. I leave you with this sentiment. When you feel life bearing down on you and the weight of the world on your shoulders, take a deep breath, grab your jacket and some music and take a walk. It something so simple, but can really make a world of difference.
I walked in from class today and slumped into my favorite chair to watch a little tube-o-vision. I flipped on the History Channel and they had this show called Modern Marvels on. It’s a pretty neat show. They talk about different technologies that are current in today’s civilization and discuss their origins and how they came to be. The marvel they were covering this time was snack food tech. Snack cakes, chips, candy, what have you. They ended up getting to that incredible, edible favorite, tootsie rolls. The head honcho started talking about the famous question, “How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?” She then brought up the fact that many people had sent the company their finding on this, and goes on to mention that students from Purdue University built a machine to test how many licks it takes. That caused my ears to perk up. It was kind of neat to hear your university mentioned on the History Channel. It turns out some chemical engineers built a sort of “licking machine.” I looked into it further and the blueprint was actually on the tootsie roll website. The picture and website can be found here. They say that using the machine it takes an average of 364 licks to get to the center. The only real reason I’m writing this is because my university was mentioned and that was kind of cool. I wonder how many more age old questions science will answer?