My first flight was at 2 pm central time. I had not slept much the night before, as it was my first trip to Europe. I was seventeen years old and my eyes were glittering with purpose and excitement.
For days before the trip, I had researched diets to avoid jet lag and stuck very strictly to a regime of oats, brown rice and fish.
On the plane, upon meeting my trip teammates, I had preached the necessity of not allowing oneself to nap, as this would confuse the brain and keep the internal clock confused. A seven hour layover in the Vienna airport, waiting on a connection to Sofia, Bulgaria proved painful.
Twenty-four hours awake pressed heavily on my eye lids, oats, brown rice and fish or no oats, brown rice and fish.
The plastic lime green seats, bunched in rows on a tile floor next to our flight gate, should have been a deterrent for sleeping, but in my state of exhaustion, they looked like plush floor pillows.
I had made such a show of lecturing the team about not napping, I couldn’t bring myself to close my eyes. At least not in front of them all, although they all appeared to be dozing comfortably.
The airport restrooms in Vienna were stationed like broom closets, set side by side by side. I could enter one, switch the lock to “occupied” and be in my own private quarters, in other words, a 4×4 hard tiled space, smelling strongly of bleach and metal. I slumped to the floor and slept for an hour, unconcerned with the line outside my cubicle, or the fact I was sleeping soundly with my head on a toilet lid.
Why? Basically, the answer was pride. I didn’t want anyone to know I needed respite, not after my speech and personal attempts of thwarting off jet lag.
“Pride comes before the fall” says every grandmother ever.
Apathy is a lot like a nap in a toilet cubicle.
I gave up caring, I was completely unconcerned with my location. I was indifferent to the proper feelings of disgust or good judgement.
For me, apathy is dangerous, because it tricks my mind into thinking a lack of guilt means a lack of consequence.
It reminds me of a ride at a water park, the one that looks like a giant toilet, shooting its occupant out into a funnel shaped basin, where you swirl around for awhile before finally meeting the middle and popping out of a black hole to the warm pool below.
Apathy is the swirling business, spinning me round and round while I try to avoid the black hole.
But I can’t, gravity makes this absolute. Whether I like it or not, my actions will yield consequence.
If I avoid looking at my bank account, it does not mean I will not have to syphon out money for rent, school loans, credit card debt, groceries, gas, beer, bike tubes, tacos, flights, etc. I will still have to pay, I will still hit the warm pool below, I will eventually have to come out of the toilet cubicle and admit I suck at paying bills on time.
I can let apathy keep me in denial until the creditors knock on my door, or I can openly admit I struggle with managing my money, and seek help to get it under control.
Dating apathetically, seems beneficial because it allows me enjoy the comfort of company and the pleasure of physical touch without needing to commit to someone. It also allows me to choose partners with less conviction, I can allow myself to date men with different principles if I am internally ambiguous as to what I believe.
It will keep me uncommitted for awhile, but eventually, as proven, gravity will pull me to the center, to the results of apathy.
I can wait until this leads to dating one man and sleeping with another, or I can choose to value commitment now and speak blatantly of what I want in a relationship.
Eventually we have to wake up, whether we like it or not. I would rather it be my choice.
A friend looked me in the eye last week and basically challenged me to give up my “whatever” attitude.
“Krisi, you have so much to offer when you choose to be yourself.” She said.
In the past, I’ve made such a show of keeping myself passionate about things like financial budgets and physical purity. I researched plans of action and stood in front of students lecturing them to follow my convictions.
At some point, I grew too tired, I lost my passion a little bit at a time. One paycheck after the other, one heart break after another. I fell asleep with my head on a toilet lid, metaphorically this time.
At this point, pride is the only thing keeping me asleep. Well, it’s time to wake up.
But i’m going to honest, it won’t happen instantly. In fact, as I write this, I have already had thoughts of pursuing yet another dead end physical relationship, and I’ve considered pulling out my credit card to buy those adorable navy green ankle boots at Madewell.
Growing up, is waking up, one small decision at a time. Like signing up for Financial Peace, or seeking out a counselor.
I have to love myself as much as I am loved by others, for “the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. [apathy]” says Elie Wiesel.