Many of you who read this see me pretty regularly, especially during the school year. And many of you have at some point ridden in my blue Buick Century that used to belong to my grandparents. I know you all love that car, as if it were part of your own family. So I am sad to announce to you that there is sickness in that family. Or at least more serious sickness than the normal windows/radio/air conditioner not working. Yesterday I was running an errand to the City Park here in Manhattan when I noticed that my speedometer was having a little too much fun. Usually my speedometer is very self-controlled and honest. We have a good relationship. But apparently it had drunk a few too many Red Bulls yesterday morning, because it was jumping all over the place, one second telling me I was going 40 mph, and the next claiming that I had put the car in park. Then today, the rest of my car decided to follow suit by alternating between propelling me down the road and then slowing down while the engine whirs. Every time I've started it up today, I've wondered if I'm going to get where I want to go. So far so good, but the day isn't over yet.
All of that has nothing to do with anything. Here's something that does have something to do with something: Far too often, we don't appreciate the little things in life. Now that's not an original thought at all. We all hear it all the time. But normally when I hear someone say such a thing, I think of stopping to smell a flower, sitting in a chair listening to Mozart, and writing a poem about the sunshine. And it all sounds so pansy-ish to me. I mean, seriously, I have no desire to do any of those things. The small things are for dweebs. I'm a grown man, and I don't really care about roses or Mozart or the sunshine.
But what I've realized is that, no matter who a person might be, they have "small things" in their life that make existence more enjoyable. For you, maybe they are roses and Mozart and sunshine. Or maybe it's pumping The Classic Crime in the car on the way to IHOP at midnight. Maybe it's sitting in a dorm room tossing a ball back and forth with a couple guys just to pass the time. Maybe it's sitting in Panera and observing the couples who seem like they're on their first date while you listen in on their lame conversations and take relief in the fact that you're not the only socially awkward person in the world.
I spend so much time and energy wigging out about the big things, or at least what I think are the big things. It's like I always feel like some cosmic weight has been placed on me, and it's my obligation to the universe to stress out about it. And the only result is that I walk around freaking out about all kinds of things, many of which I can't even do anything about in the first place. That's all pretty unnecessary, I think. Yeah, we can't just run away from some of the heftier issues in life, but neither should we obsess over many of them. Going crazy about stuff usually isn't a fruitful endeavor. That's why the small things are important. Life should be enjoyed. Life is humorous, and stuff is worth laughing at. Even bad stuff. We've got to be able to step back from crappy experiences at times and laugh at ourselves and laugh at how unfortunate things are.
One "small thing" that many people have told me they really like is to buy dinner for their best friend with the initials DJH. You could try that too.