CXLIX. Ignorance De-stigmatized -
The top image was taken in my now boxed-up, unfurnished room.
The second image was part of an advertisement for a pen company. I cut out the tagline from the twentieth anniversary, September 2014 issue of Marie Claire Magazine, an action that is not uncommon for me, someone who is inspired by aesthetic intent professed in writing.
I was thriving. I had in hand my Ivy League degree and the degree prior to that, both written in Old Latin. I was thriving, counter-intuitively, or not, on fear. I learned that I could develop intellect and build my knowledge bank without the designated pedagogue, yet I knew I still had to commission at least one more pedagogue’s payday. I needed my masters degree. How I feared for it. Yet, during this period of self-taught lessons, I attained a level of self-discipline no doubt acquired throughout my years on the cobble stoned campus of my alma mater. I sat at the table, all noise tuned out save for crackling of candles that suggested Diwali would eventually come, that time would eventually pass.
I did not know that you existed and I was content not knowing any of you either. Who was the big shot at The New Yorker Magazine who I’m going to be scrutinized by in the ensuing months? I did not know. I did not need to know. I still do not need to know.
Truth be told, I am going to continue living as though you all do not exist. I am going to ignore the chuckles that an example of fashion journalism in The New York Times of all places, received solely due to the subject matter.
Not everyone is an impeccable writer as the judgmental fellow upper east side bus rider and career services professional - deemed as such in order to supplement her income as a quote unquote working journalist - had claimed. I am going to completely shut out the referred to but otherwise non-existent competition that is being forced on me. That is to say, I entered the pressure cooker of my alma mater, at first a delicate oatmeal flake, already a Quaker through and through.
I then exited Locust Walk, a degree-designated Quaker, a cooked and hardened oat.
I’ve become hardened but I will not allow myself to be cooked through, burned, are carbonated beyond the threshold pertaining to a human’s corporeal form.
I’m being pushed on all sides to enter the pressure cooker, to succumb to a second-round of clenched fists and furrowed eyebrows that disguise my otherwise meticulously shaped paternal inheritance, done by my once cracking, but now remedied hands on the daily. This is nothing I have not experienced before. These people are nothing to me; they never were. I did not know of their existence. Their written word hidden in the folds of their own world, a world a part from my own that is arguably the cradle of civilization. This is my home. This is my city. This is my life.
They are just transient occupants. Sheep that have lost their way, if you will. I’ll let them trample around so that they can relieve myself from having to encounter weeds as I walk forward and progress.
It is better to remain ignorant of the hours and the days passing by - better to not quantify: I tell myself to approach with caution the syllabus for a class I wish to complete as soon as possible. It is better not to count down. It is better to close my eyes and lull myself into a mind-sung song during the train rides home. I plead for the train to arrive at the last stop, my stop, so that I could nullify the negative.
You see, I am now on the fringes of a phase that I had unconsciously detached myself from during the time I was attempting to embrace it; applying to academia.
I’m on the cusp of appreciation and withdrawal: happy to rid myself of my fringe occupancy, just so that I can be welcomed by the outskirts, a fringe in its own right, after I get off at the last stop.
The train stops preceding the last are torture defined. I attempt to remain ignorant of the chronology. Placing my head on my neon PINK duffle bag, the seams of which are loosening under the onus of a new phase of life that in turn mimics my shoulder buckling under the onus of the bag’s weight. I attempt to tune out the crackling projection of the conductor announcing stop, after stop, after stop.
Reading material has worked wonders in this scenario. I’m flummoxed though. Reading has once again become burdensome, forced upon me during the days that I am mulling about city streets and during weekend windows of time, carved out to complete pending tasks.
On the train rides home I cannot bring myself to string letters together and so I indulge in the basest form of ignorance.
I try to peak my interest by finding something of interest on one of my fellow New Yorkers - people who not only live here but also cry here, cook here, coddle here, and cool off here.
“I’ve never met an actual New Yorker before,” an international dual-degree graduate student and fellowship winner said in her stilted crack at English.
It’s better to be ignorant.
That way you won’t see me coming.