Off the Board, Opinion

Blindsided by Rational Irrationality

I’ve always found a sense of comfort in routines. Even if they are sometimes dull, the structures that construct my daily life add an extra layer of padding to my occasionally rocky university experience. This extends from my regular breakfast of two years—fried egg on top of avocado toast, slathered with a sweet sriracha smile—to my lecture times neatly laid out on Minerva.  Don’t get me wrong, my 8:30 a.m. biology lectures make me rethink the Geneva Convention, and the hangovers surprisingly never seem to help. Still, as much as I despise that freezing morning hike to McMed, I appreciate the straightforwardness of knowing what to do and when to do it. Predictability provides an illusion of control, reassuring me along the way.  

This is why I find the unpredictable moments—the ones that stray from the mental map I’ve meticulously crafted for myself—so paralyzing.

This lack of control became especially apparent to me a few summers ago. It was after my first week volunteering at a local hospital to compensate for my oh-so-vibrant social life, with my dad driving me every morning, like clockwork. However, starting the second week, my so-called progenitor of life informed me that I needed to take the bus. I, of course, tried to plead my case. “But I’m only 17,” I bemoaned. It was of no use. So I crossed the street, only to be told by the bus driver that the bus I was looking for stopped on the other side of the street. Then, in a spurt of pure genius, I ran in front of the parked bus to go to the other side and didn’t see the SUV that promptly gave me a rough-and-tumble cuddle. 

The next moments were a bit of a haze. I heard yells from bystanders, but I just felt mostly confused. An old man waiting for his bus ran to me and started patting me on the back to calm me down, but he was using such force that I almost felt like he was trying to finish the job, putting me out of my misery. The SUV driver, surprisingly enough, was a nurse from a different hospital, which is why, to this day, I maintain that it was a hit job from a jealous competitor. 

It was at this moment, when I was at my lowest, that everything became clear to me… that this incident would become a stellar college essay. Still, I put that thought to the back of my mind as I waited for the ambulance, which quickly arrived and rushed me to the hospital. They asked if I needed anything, so I immediately responded with, “MORPHINE,” and I regret to inform my scrumptious readers that I did not, in fact, receive morphine that day. 

Now you may be asking: What is the point of this story? Did I come out of this experience more resilient than ever? Did I learn a valuable lesson? These are the same questions I’ve been asking myself over the past few years, hoping for some sort of conclusion that wraps the entire experience in a pretty pink bow and neatly settles the feeling of discomfort in the pit of my stomach. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I found it. Although I’m now much more careful when I cross the street and probably a little more grateful for my early lectures, that sense of confusion has never really left me. No one ever expects that they will be hit by a car, lose their dream job, or get a divorce after 20 years. Sure, it happens to other people, but definitely not me, right? All I think anyone can hope for is to adjust their perception of the world, to make it slightly more accurate for better or for worse, so that next time, their routines are a bit more attuned to reality.

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