Dancing on the Quad, and Why I Did

Today. Let’s talk about today. It was actually kind of run-of-the-mill, if you will. It was Monday. It was raining. It was exhausting. And so on and so forth—BUT—there were adventures. Yes, it’s exactly what you’re thinking: Today I got attacked by a ladybug.

I wish I could do this moment justice, but I’m afraid I can’t. Either way, I’ll start with the moment right before I encountered the polka-dotted monster. I’ll tell you about what I was thinking. First, you should know that I was here, which shouldn’t be surprising, because when I have a choice, this is where I am. If an FBI agent was following me because I was a suspect in the Grand Theft Latte  Case of 2012, I would do my part in making the capture of my person easy as pie, because this, my friends, this is where I like to spend my todays.

I like to head to the library when things get quiet. It’s a popular place, but when people are in class (or inside doing student-y things), the steps thin out, and if I’m lucky, one of the pillars opens up. I can tell you that I’ve spent many an hour on those pillars: I’ve laid my sweat upon them after summertime evening runs; I’ve laid my bare soul right onto the concrete as a boy looked back at me; I’ve laid study books all around and doggedly pursued higher knowledge. And I’m sure it’s lots of people’s place, but it’s mine, too. And when I’m there, it’s all mine. But I’m getting off topic, aren’t I?

So anyway, there I was. I was looking out into the milling throng of people and my thoughts were spinning in circles, the way it happens when you stop moving and sit down and they (your thoughts) forget to catch up. I was thinking about the day: “I’m tired. I could sit here all day. I could eat a snack. I need some coffee. I may fall asleep. Where did she get those shoes? Squirrel!” And of course, I was thinking other thoughts that were all wouldn’t-you-like-to-know, but hey, what do you know, I’m off topic again. So here I am, and it hits me: In a few years, and then a lot of years, and then what will seem like so-many-in-the-blink-of-an-eye years, this will be a memory. It was all so tangible right then. I could feel the concrete, smooth and cold. I could close my eyes and see the details: the girls in their leggings, the boys with their frisbees, the still-bare trees, the looming tower, the spot of soggy ground that never gets completely dry. All mine. All mine for now.

It’s integral to the story that you understand that I was running on five hours of sleep (in my world, this is the same as OH MY GOSH I PULLED AN ALL-NIGHTER FOR THE THIRD NIGHT IN A ROW.) The case was not one of particular introspection. I simply got it. Not that the future won’t be everything of now and more; not that I’m not excited that there are probably words and puppies and flowers in the years to come—but just that today is wonderful. Everything about the moment was wonderful, and mine, and I kept trying to take snapshots in my mind, but I wasn’t sure if I was doing it effectively because that was something I never learned how to do and my parents let me leave for college without teaching me. And I wondered if this was how they felt the day before they dropped me off at the University of Alabama. I wondered if they saw me, sitting on the couch, eating a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and had to snatch it up because it would never be like that again. It will be good, great, even better, but never that. They could have passed along a manual, you know?

All of this hit me like an avalanche of realization, and the perfection of the moment came and stole my breath. But I had to get up. There was walking to work, pounding out some personals, running the race. Things I won’t get to do forever. But that isn’t the story. Remember, I was telling you about the moment just before I came into contact with the L-thing.

I was crossing the Quad, and a ladybug attacked me. I was just minding my own business, caught up in the perfection of the moment, feeling like I could pen some spontaneous overflow into a Romantic poem like the best of em, when the most gargantuan ladybug I’ve ever seen attached itself to my arm and refused flit away like a good little ladybug would. What else is a girl to do but flap around the Quad? (That’s what I did.) How can a girl care if she caused a spectacle? (I didn’t. Care, that is.) What even matters when your life flashes before your eyes in the face of a giant dotted, winged THING? Well, some things matter. Like love and all that jazz.

I guess I’m writing this to say that I figured out one thing today: I’m not a ladybug kind of girl. In fact, I’m the opposite kind of girl.

And I can only imagine what’s in store for tomorrow.

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