Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Frolic in folly

By Josh Steinberg

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There are so many opportunities in life that we take for granted and do not seize. It is time for a collective wakeup call. It is time to stop and appreciate the little things that matter.

Take, for instance, a recent day of mine. I had to wake up at 8 a.m., blasphemy to the ears of a college student. It was my first day of work in Amherst Cinema volunteering with an after school program focused on teaching third graders media education. I had warned myself the night before that tomorrow was going to be “one of those days.”

At 8 a.m., sure enough, my alarm rang. Torn from the dream world of sitting on the beach surrounded by beautiful women and basking in the warm sun, I was suddenly cast into the clutches of the harsh reality shining through my window. I flopped out of bed, tripped over my chair and slammed quiet the blaring menace that had so rudely awoken me. I took a quick glance outside my window into the gray, depressing sky that is so customary of Amherst in January.

Rather than hitting snooze, I did the responsible thing. I set up my coffee pot and went to take a shower. By the time I was done with my shower the coffee was ready and, for once, I was actually functional pre-9 a.m. I did not have to be at work until 9:30 but I was not going to risk being late on my first day; I was set on making a good impression. As I sipped my coffee, I finished some homework for my class later in the day and as 9 o’clock neared, I decided I should check the bus schedule.

The bus was going to be on North Pleasant at 9:23 a.m. It was now 9:10 a.m. Perfect. I finished my coffee, gathered my things into my book bag and began to suit up to enter the brisk New England morning. It was chilly when I walked out the door of Patterson at 9:15 a.m. and it dawned on me that I was beginning to cut it close on time. I began to walk swiftly up Fearing Street.

Perhaps it is just a personal oddity, but paranoia always begins to set in when I’m walking towards a bus stop. It’s the feeling that just as I am about to turn the corner into the homestretch, the bus will go whizzing by and leave me standing there alone and demoralized. With this thought in mind, I began to sprint up the street. As I got to the bus stop I took a glance over my shoulder. Sure enough the B30 was right there, chugging down North Pleasant in my direction. Overwhelming relief washed over me – my day was going to be fine after all.

When I arrived four minutes early, I peered through the glass of Amherst Cinema confused as to why the lights were still off. I assumed that four minutes mean a lot to some people at 9:30 in the morning so I sat down and waited. I glanced at my watch and it was exactly 9:30. Then I waited some more. Five more minutes passed and I started to think, “Well, this is pretty unprofessional.” Five more minutes passed and I decided to get another cup of coffee on the corner. I figured somebody had to be there when I returned, but no one was.

At this point I checked my email on my cell phone. Nothing – no notification that the program had been cancelled or that somebody had fallen ill the previous day. A little perturbed, I decided to call the main office.

“Hello, Holly? I am down here at the cinema by myself and I am just wondering if I am at the right building or if I am missing a side door or something…”

“Did you check your schedule?” asked Holly.

“Yes, of course I did. I am scheduled to work today.”

“But the program doesn’t begin until tomorrow, you’re scheduled to work next Tuesday.”

It is a funny feeling when you are feeling so confident and eager, and then suddenly you are hit in the face with the brick of your own folly.

On the other end of the phone, Holly, anticipating a negative change in my mood, apologized and apologized that the schedule was not clear. But of course it was clear. In the haste of last minute work and cramming the night before I neglected to carefully check the dates.

I had to laugh. It was a ridiculous situation. I had woken up an hour and half early to make sure I was on time for work that started next week. If your friend told you that story, you would probably laugh. That’s what my friends did and how could I not laugh as well?

On my walk back I replayed the situation in my head; it was still making me chuckle out loud. I didn’t have class for another four hours so I decided time was not of the essence anymore. I had rushed my entire morning all for nothing. Or maybe it was for something? So I woke up early, ran to the bus, waited around for 20 minutes and for what? I’ll think of it as practice, like a fire drill. Had there actually been work today, I would have been early. I would have been hopped on three cups of caffeine and ready to kill it.

Instead, I got to relax until my next class. I had some reading to do which I was able to complete under no pressure. I got to walk back from Amherst with no winter hat and my coat unbuttoned in February. I saw one older man sitting on his front porch with the newspaper, his golden retriever running circles in the yard. Man and dog – the epitome of a successful relationship. The dog was playing with a fallen tree branch and absolutely loving life. It was inspiring.

Sure, I can be mad that I wasted my time that morning, but what fun is that? How can you justify a life worth living if all you are going to do is complain and point out the things that went wrong? Next time you make a mistake or screw something up, take a deep breath and laugh at yourself. You’ll realize it is a lot easier living with a smile on your face.

Josh Steinberg is a Collegian contributor. He can be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “Frolic in folly”

  1. john on February 3rd, 2012 2:27 am

    Does the Collegian allow anyone to write Op-Ed pieces?

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