Dinner may be romantic, but it’s not the most intimate meal of the day. Breakfast is.
Your morning breath stinks, there’s crust in your eyes, and you’re sitting at the table wondering why you’re still not in bed. Add a morning erection to the mix and you’re at your most human — pulling your pants up to waist height and holding your cereal bowl to strategic positions can’t change that, and it doesn’t fool the more perceptive folks.
The breakfast question is similar to the airport question: “you’re stuck at the airport for 12 hours. Who would you want to be stuck with?” And don’t forget: who would want to be stuck with you?
Both questions expose who you’re comfortable seeing at their most vulnerable (tired, stressed, etc), and who is comfortable seeing you at yours. But unlike the airport question, the breakfast question asks that you consider this during everyday moments — not just once during grand events, like when you have the good fortune to travel.
Dinner is too late; you already have your guard up after the baggage from the day, and dinner can often come with unsaid expectations. But with breakfast, there is already the sense of familiarity and comfort implied. The expectation to perform is less.
Fancy four egg omelets can be nice, but so can plain old oatmeal. It’s not so much the food that matters, but the time spent together.
Maja would be the one gathering the neighbors for breakfast time during our exchange year. She’d make her bread rolls, while the rest of the folks would bring coffee, pancakes, or fruit to make smoothies. Maja would also be the one giving friendly knocks on the door when we were slow to get up (usually Brian and I).
I’m no longer on exchange, but I’d like to follow her footsteps and continue that tradition when the next school year starts. I can’t think of a better way to start the day than to eat with good company.
I was looking forward to peeing in a cup, but now they’ve got this much-less-than-exciting cotton swab method to make sure that everybody’s squeaky clean on the job. You leave the swab in your mouth by the gum line for ten minutes, and it starts absorbing whatever saliva you have. (Pray that it doesn’t catch your habit of eating magic mold from the ground). Mine came out stained from the coffee I was drinking earlier in the morning.
“Whatever you do, don’t touch the cotton part with your hands!”
The guy sitting across from me did, and won a new cotton swab for the effort.
An empty bottle of wine lies in the bottom left corner of the closet. I stashed it there two years ago and had forgotten all about it until now, when I was cleaning out the room.
I still recognize it. It’s the same bottle my friend and I shared on the second-to-last day of freshman year. I finished my exams and she didn’t, but we drank it anyway. Moscato, because we both had a sweet tooth and didn’t know any better.
What’s curious is that I lugged the empty bottle from San Diego the entire ten hours back home to San José, when I could have just put it in the recycling bin and leave with the memory only. Is it the fear that if I throw the bottle away, I’d throw away my memory of the night, too?
The bottle is still there. I’ll peel the label off, keep that as a souvenir, and then recycle the rest — a compromise.
Shortly before school ended I had a conversation with Geoffrey on the bench by Ledden Auditorium instead of going to class. We met a few years earlier. He would tutor me in the AP&M (Applied Physics and Mathematics) basement, and if it weren’t for him I would have flunked out of calculus my first year. He’s a Ph.D. student now and I’m still an undergrad, but we enjoy the same benches and beaches and books, and we bump into each other from time to time.
Skipping lecture runs contrary to the good-student-role, but I also remembered to keep it in perspective. There’s more to enjoy and learn from lingering on the bench with a good person instead of rushing from lecture to lecture, so I could cram a few extra facts I’d soon forget.
We talked about summer, among other things.
Summers are some of the best times of personal growth. You have time to reflect and take stock of all that you’ve done throughout the year. Am I going where I want to go? What are my priorities? Do my actions align with what I consider important to me? and other questions that often get buried in everyday busy work.
Also important is to cherish the current summer we have. There are really only a limited number of “true” restful, even idle summers in life. After I graduate (next year, eek!) there’s probably not going to be another summer when I can just stick my head in the clouds all day — unless I decide to go into academia. As for Geoffrey, he’s going on a cross-continental (the way he described it) road trip from California to New York and back over the summer, with a good friend from his exchange year. He says if he survives he’ll come back with good stories.
When I finally said goodbye, Geoffrey said: “I’m glad you stayed around as long as you did.” Me, too.
30 minutes late. Too late to sneak in without a sound or people looking, but I went in the lecture hall anyway.