Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sixty Five and Sunny

“You know, for someone training to enter one of the most rewarding professions you can get into, I sure spend a lot of time wanting to shoot myself in the face,” I complained, sarcastically. It was a twenty-eight degree Wednesday night in February and I was going for a walk around campus with my friends Joyce and Chris. “I mean, I’ve got two portfolios and a final exam in her class alone. No, don’t worry about it, you shriveled-up shit encrusted ball sack! I don’t have four other classes to worry about!”

“Oh, please. You’re in good shape. I’ve got a fifteen page research paper due next week. I asked my professor for help, and he told me that I’m in college, and he shouldn’t have to hold my little hand through a research paper,” remarked Joyce. She was so furious that I half expected some of the nearby objects to spontaneously combust due to the fire I heard in her voice. She’s a sweetheart with a streak of passion and a definite hint of stubbornness. She’s the kind of person who will go to any lengths to help a friend, but would easily throw you under the bus if she got a bad feeling about you.

“Oh, I know who you have. He did that to a kid in my class, too. We don’t need hand-holding, we need some fucking direction!” Chris said, supporting her. Chris is just as stubborn when he comes across something he’s passionate about, but he doesn’t come across something he’s passionate about very often. He used to be a hiding-in-his-room-antisocial-nerd, but ever since he joined a fraternity, he’s either been in the middle of a party, red face and bug eyed pulling the gathering together, or freaking out over every little bundle of troubles that happens to come his way. There is no in between.

The three of us have a tendency to overanalyze our lives, so every once in a while we take a walk and get all of our thoughts out into the open. See what these other over-analyzers think. Let the over-analyzers over-analyze our over-analyzations.

“Guys, it’s freezing out here,” said Joyce. “We should go inside.” Joyce tends to be the most rational of the three of us, and we usually to follow her advice. Not because she’s rational, more because she’s bossy. “Really, I’m so cold. Aren’t you guys cold?”

“Just walk faster,” said Chris. “We’ll be inside in a second.”

Mid-complaint, we noticed a heavily intoxicated young gentleman standing outside one of the dorm buildings. The guy had snowy blonde hair, which was plastered to his forehead by the drunken sheen over his pale skin. He had a broad Cheshire Cat grin on his face and was stumbling around the campus looking up at the sky, wearing nothing but jeans and a t-shirt. No hat, gloves, scarf, not even a jacket. We all looked up at the sky with him. Damn, no spaceships. After deciding that whatever was making him happy was more in his head than in the sky, we decided to go over to him and make sure he was okay. Once he took a moment to look down around him, he didn’t realize right away where he was, or what was happening. Once his glazed eyes focused, he called out:


As a friend of his, Chris walked over and asked him how he was.

“I’m great, man! Have you taken a look at the stars? It’s so beautiful tonight! It’s so nice outside!”

“Yeah, you should probably get inside… It’s pretty cold out here.”

“You kidding me? It’s be-yoouu-tifull!”

“No, seriously, it’s 25 degrees. Let’s go in.”

“You know what?” the young man replied. “It’s gonna be 65 and sunny on Friday. I’m waitin’ it out, guys, I’m waitin’ it out.”

After this inspiring remark, I was half expecting him to break out into a musical number, maybe have a fairy godmother fall out of the sky, or be offered a poisoned apple. It seemed too perfect to be honest. Chris ushered him inside the building

Joyce and I just stared at each other for a moment. We had the same thought at the same time. This kid was stupid, but he had a great attitude.

“That guy,” said Joyce. “Was awesome.”

“That guy,” said Chris, walking back outside. “Was drunk.”

I probably shouldn’t base my life philosophies on the words of a drunken college student but something about this statement struck me as meaningful, almost insightful. Just a minute ago, I was walking around campus, bitching about my problems, and with the remark of a drunken party kid, all of a sudden I realized that I’m just waitin’ it out too.

His optimism amazed me. And not only was I stunned by his attitude, but I was astonished by his determination. Maybe it was below freezing outside, but goddamn it, he was going to wait out there until it was nice on Friday! And not only was he determined to wait for the nice weather, but he was going to do it with a smile on his face, appreciating the beauty around him. The stars were gorgeous that night!
Look at the pretty snow on the ground! The lake looks so nice at nighttime! He wasn’t going to let a moment pass by without fully appreciating it. And while I’m sure he didn’t remember anything that he was talking about that night, I took his words as advice.

We only saw this guy once again, ever, and in passing. We would never have been able to miss that snowy blonde hair or Cheshire Cat grin. He was yet again stumbling around the campus at the dead of night, and definitely enjoying himself. Joyce and I ran over and yelled: “THAT’S HIM! SIXTY-FIVE AND SUNNY!”

The first thing he said was “What did I do?” While he was drunk, he was in much better mental condition than he was the first time we met him. We could practically read his thoughts: How do I know these girls? How well should I know these girls? Would I be able to tell my mother this story? We told him about his drunken almost-insights, and he chuckled uncertainly at them, still looking at us as if we had told him about our sex changes or the kittens that we liked to drown. He remained nameless to Joyce and I, and we have been calling him Sunny ever since that night.
Honestly, I would rather not know his name. Now he’s just a random kid who came into my life to tell me what I needed to hear. I feel like if I knew his name, it might ruin my image of him.

Sunny, up to his bleary blue eyes in alcohol, was able to shatter my bad attitude and force me to see my world through the positive reflection beneath it. Happiness is a choice, and I can either focus on the negative issues in my life, or on any of the great things that are happening around me. Maybe it’s cold outside now, but it’s gonna be sixty five and sunny on Friday. I’m just waiting it out.