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Sunday, March 6, 2011
"...an illegitimate love-child of my left brain and his beloved mistress, solitude."
Disclaimer: This is an unfinished thought.
Sitting outside my professor's office, waiting my turn to get some questions answered, I wait in a seemingly idle state. There are no flashcards to review, no tests coming up for which to study, and no homework with me at the moment, so I just sit and wait. Maybe for a subconscious fear of being the landlord of the devil's workshop, my mind is filled with absolutely amazing ideas and inquiries. My brain is transformed into Grand Central station with multiple, simultaneous trains of thought colliding and/or cooperating with each other. Faster than anything I could ever grasp, one thought triggers the next until an agglomeration of hypotheses and postulates builds itself up into a beautifully architectured structure of theoretical cognition. Reaching this zenith of my 10-minute philosophical journey, I feel an incredible rush of happiness that seems to stem from the innermost depths of my cranium and radiate peripherally. I feel the urge to write pages upon pages detailing my rationale, only to then search the volumes of forgotten lore to see if any other mind has yet conceived what I had just given birth to -- a thesis, a breakthrough, a brainblast, an illegitimate love-child of my left brain and his beloved mistress, solitude. Before I have the chance to write down a most humble description the fullness of this breathtaking mental construct, I realize it's my turn to go speak with the professor about the trivialities of thermodynamics. And it's all lost. The grief of having a stillborn baby overcomes me. Had I had a full hour to marvel at my unfinished thought, then maybe, just maybe, I could have won a Nobel prize. After resolving all my physical chemistry doubts, I try mighty hard to retrieve what had not too long ago been a spectacle of knowledge inside my skull. I pull out a sticky note on which I wrote the topic of my thought that was so rudely truncated by reality. Mirrors. Starring at that yellow little square encompassing that seven-letter word, I know deep inside that I will never know again what was so important about mirrors.
'Tis a curse, I tell you, for it happens far too often, especially in the last few months. In the lunch line at the cafeteria, when walking to Keplinger 3 minutes before class starts, when standing in front of a urinal, when driving to work, or at 3:27 AM as I'm trying to sleep. Novel ideas concerning political thought, secular ethics, biochemical pathways, metaphysical abstractions, aesthetics, and methods of finding car keys are all gone in an instant. As soon as these ideas mature into adolescence and are almost ripe, the real world that inhabits the space outside my big head calls out to me. That's when I have to abandon my cognitive ordeals in order to attend to my mundane obligations -- stupid things like getting an education, making a living, and even sleeping. These surreal mental delicacies whose fate is to be utterly destroyed by more pragmatic processes are what I call unfinished thoughts. Trust me, I've tried carrying a little notebook around to write them down, but I just don't have the time or the opportunity to do so. And when I do, it turns out to be a rushed, incomplete description of the unconceptualized awesomeness. And I kid you not when I say that despair and desolation accompany every frustrating loss of all these holy grails that pop into my head from time to time. I just wish that, someway, somehow, I could make time stop, just so I could nurture these creations of mine into completion. But I know one day I'll come up with a solution to this conundrum. Let's just hope it doesn't end up being yet another unfinished thought.