If you want to have a pleasant conversation with somebody, these things should be avoided at all costs. That is what conventional wisdom tells us anyway. Yet, as D and I strolled down Paradise Path this morning, politics and religion comprised most of our conversation. And it was . . . awesome.
I didn't wake up thinking an early morning stroll with a guy I'd only spoken to a couple of times in my life would be the perfect way to begin my day, but it was. I guess life is funny sometimes. I truly enjoyed having the opportunity to speak with him and to hear his thoughts on the big topics.
I certainly don't disagree. And even if I did, I know for certain that at least my world is better as a direct result of Professor TD. As I was applying to law schools four years ago, the help he gave me with writing my personal statement was invaluable. I loved that stupid, silly personal statement. Apparently, a handful of law schools also loved it, at least enough to offer me full scholarships. Last May, I received my Juris Doctorate from one of those schools. Not a huge deal, really, but I feel fortunate to have gotten a $108,000 education for the grand sum of $0. I feel fortunate to be married to a terrific woman who appreciates her university professor. And I feel fortunate that there was a university professor who took time out of his life to help me, to make my world a better place, even when he had no incentive to do so.
Two things about W really impressed me. First, his outlook on life always seems to be a positive one. I don't think I've ever read a negative thing on Facebook from him. Even when speaking of Vandal athletics (usually a sore spot for me), he always seems to be upbeat and of the mind that better times are just around the corner.
Second, as I sat there talking to W, I couldn't help but admire his persistence. Like me, his journey through undergrad was a bit longer than the average student. Stuff happens. To quote Rocky Balboa, "[I]t ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done." W has been hit and he kept moving forward. He stuck with it, and I was elated to hear that he'll be walking this May, with his family in the Kibbie Dome cheering him on. W is the type of person that makes me proud to be a Vandal, even when the football team struggles.
It was a bit surreal to be having dinner, sitting across the table from somebody that I had known so long ago. In 6th grade, I sat behind her in Mr. D's science class. I thought she was terrific. I forgot to ask her about this during dinner, but I think we might have even had some inside jokes going on at some point. I remember something about a "golf clap." I also think I remember sitting in Mr. D's science class and singing Garth Brooks' songs with her. That's weird, right? I don't recall much about her from high school. Things change. Times change. People change. But in my mind, as I was waiting for her to arrive at the restaurant, my memories of her were all middle school memories. And they were great memories.
It's odd to see middle school K all grown up. She seemed to be a successful, happy woman. She loves her job, has a great husband that was eager to share his homemade brews with me, kids that don't seem to be too crazy, and a pretty cool dog. After dinner, as we attempted to play Super Mario Bros., my mind wandered and I found myself thinking, "When did all of this happen?" It happened to K, but it also apparently happened to me, though I rarely take the time to realize it. Yesterday, I was 19 and there weren't any long-term consequences for the decision I made in life. Today, I woke up and I'm 35. Life is a funny frickin' thing.
Thanks for the memories, K, both old and new.