I came to Montreal this Friday morning on an overnight Greyhound bus that stopped at New York and Albany. The layover at Port Authority was around three hours. I don’t even know the name of the station at Albany; it was probably “Albany Station” or something like that. I came to see Ghostly Kisses perform and my friend who was studying at McGill.
I was sitting next to an obese man for my first two hours of the bus. He was sitting on my left, and the window was on my right. From the beginning, I noticed that it was very hot. There weren’t any dividers between the seats, so a lot of his body spilled into my seat. I tried to be empathetic because I could imagine that isn’t very pleasant for him either. He had his arms folded, and he wasn’t manspreading or anything, and I could tell that he was trying to occupy as little space as possible. It was a thoughtful gesture. But, regardless of his efforts, it was still incredibly hot, and I was still very uncomfortably pressed up against the window. I would imagine that it wasn’t a pleasant experience for either of us.
Around two hours in, my claustrophobia got the best of me. I noticed my heart rate increasing and my breathing quickening. There was the gnawing sensation that emerged from my stomach and carried on to the rest of my body. I gathered my stuff and told him that I was going to search for another seat. He let out a disconsolate “Oh” and let me out. I found another seat quickly after in the row in front of me.
I’ve been thinking about whether I should feel bad about the entire situation, and I still don’t know what I should feel about it. On one hand, it was an overnight bus, and I couldn’t possibly fall asleep with the sheer heat that his body emanated. It was only after I left my old seat did I could feel the comfort of the room temperature air against my legs. It was an instance that reminded me of how little we can appreciate things around us until it is taken away. Things like… ventilation, and space. But, on the contrary, how can we notice the presence of things until only we can feel the void of what once was is present?
It was snowing all day today. On my way from the station to my friend’s house, I encountered a couple skiing on the sidewalk to their destination. It was quite a jarring sight, although I suppose I should’ve expected it. There were some houses I passed that had a metal staircase going directly to the second floor. It was very pretty, especially when the same staircase had been pelted with a foot of snow.
Despite the cold, I did not feel sad, particularly. It was such a novel environment with so much to take in. There were some distracting parts like the snow seeping into my shoes after I step on a particularly large pile of snow. I sometimes tried to push the snow back out with my fingers, but that just ended with the snow seeping deeper into my shoe. When it came to that, all I could do was to wait for the snow to melt inside my shoe. As I was walking the wind also pelted the snow into my face like a torrent of cold salt crystals. I would taste the snow, and it would not taste like salt.
I am currently taking a painting class right now, which helps me to better perceive the world boiled down to its fundamental colors. While I can capture most shades of my life with just a combination of red, yellow, and blue, snow exists in a different realm altogether. There seems to be an endless brightness to snow that stands irregardless of the colors in its context. Snow on snow is just as bright as snow on my black iPhone screen. If anything, there seems to be a multiplier effect when I see snow on snow, and that’s just not a thing that you can capture with any variety of a titanium white tube of paint.
Ghostly Kisses was canceled. That was an L.
But, I’m still glad I came all the way here. I brought this up with my friend today, but I think it’s quite freaky that my high school friends and I are seniors now. I still remember back in freshman year, when I would promise to visit my friends from other colleges, there would be so much time to do so. There would be so much time in the sense that I would not even need to think about coordinating plans because I knew that there would always be time. But, now, in my last semester of college, that infinity no longer exists. If I don’t visit my friends this semester, then I never will.
I recently read The Death of Ivan Ilych by Tolstoy, and a big theme in the book is the regret that comes from the realization of finality with death. For now, I don’t think I am near dying. But, more and more, I am beginning to truly understand what it means to be temporary. I had a similar sentiment when I wrote an essay titled “Young and Beautiful” in my freshman year, but I don’t think I really knew what I meant back then. If anything, that was an attempt to frame my life in a beautiful way when it really wasn’t the life I wanted. But, now with all of my experiences (or lack thereof) that I have accumulated, I feel like I am truly ready to move on from this harmful attitude.
I’ve had this thought a lot recently: that my undergraduate experience really didn’t pan out in the way that I wanted it to. There was so much I wanted to do and so many people I wanted to meet when I arrived, and I really didn’t live up to the life I envisioned. For a long time, I thought that the only way to redeem my experiences is to engage in some sort of emotional self-flagellation because the possibility of happiness was overwhelming to me, and I subconsciously preferred the certainty of sadness versus the uncertainty of living a life that I wanted. But, here and now, I feel as if I am ready to move on with my life. There is the life that I left behind, and then there is the life I move forward.
Finna carpe diem this shittttt.