Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Short Story: Time in College

With enough time, one can look back fondly at college, a time when certain eccentrics were looked upon as a badge of honor (depending on the circles you lived in). I remember a certain girl I had the fortune of meeting at a coop party [1].  Reeking of weed and incense, she had a spark in her eye that I could not understand.

I would return to her coop, over and over, just so I could meet her and hear her views on certain topics. We could clash, of course, in a battle of wits. I enjoyed it, though, as it was a welcome change from the normal discussions.

For example, she enjoyed tagging cars and walls with these stickers she made and I, a brainwashed child of the middle classes, would dutifully point out that it was not her property she was tagging. She would giggle at this and say it was not the point. I should also point out that she was the kind of person who tagged Amerikkka, U$, on as many walls as she could. Coming back from parties late at night, walking through the tranquil streets of Ann Arbor, were quite the walks, as this was her favorite time to tag. 

Back then I was a stereotypical immigrant, in that I loved my adopted country in a conservative, fundamentalist manner. Thus her tags—and those spellings of said country—were an affront to my love of country. [2] A shallow love, this, and I only know that after forcing myself to understand my lover, and thus, truly love. 

But I digress. Back then I suppose I hung out with her because of the rush. After an especially heated argument about the America spelling, our conversation tangent in Christianity. Then God. At this point she gasped when she found out I believed in no higher deity. I gasped when I found out that she did. I was a little surprised that so rebellious a spirit would indeed believe in a higher power. To say nothing of the kind of higher power as did the people you were rebelling against. [3]

Of course, I simply asked her how her all-loving God could exist with her knowledge of history. She explained as such: she had this issue early on, when as a child her conclusion was that God was blind to people's suffering. A minister sat her down and told her that this was wrong. Young enough to be directly influenced by authority back then, she discarded her view. 

After a quick reading of a physics book, she switched to a view that God was all seeing and powerful, but that he was in all places at once and all times at once. From this inherent truth, she extrapolated that if God were at all times at once, He/It only seemed careless because It was unaware of loss or death, or time, or reward, even. If you were happy once, you were happy always, it was just a place in a land of time. Thus even causality didn't matter.

I never asked her about how she derived her strong sense of justice from this view of God. I was soon shipped off to Iraq and had lost touch with her. Even to this day one cannot google her name to find out what happened. So it goes. But I remember that time as a step in my education of how different human beings can be, even if they have certain labels. And it's one of the few moments in college that I remember fondly. 

[1] Oh my, you haven't lived until you've gone to a coop party. 

[2] To say nothing of the stifling of the love-making process byre highlighting of a blemish.

[3] I admit this wasn't a nuanced view on human nature at all. 
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