Today was a wonderful day. Yes, I think I had a good day (platitude here). I even went to Olive Garden to celebrate. I had no job, no money (well, not counting savings), unpaid bills, tuition, and one thousand pages of nursing homework. I came into Olive Garden with an uncommonly depressed look. The waitress told me to sit down and wait five minutes. I took a seat in a brown, wooden chair near the entrance. It so happened that a large fellow came in and asked for seating for four, “Yes, the wait would be about ten minutes,” the waitress replied. “Oh,” he added, “I want drinks with that.” “Sure,” she responded. After a minute or so, she looked at me and asked me if I was twenty-one and whether I wanted to drink. I told her no.
It was a few minutes later, me and my depressed look were brought to a single, small table hidden off to the side. I took a seat and within seconds the server came and brought a jug of vodka and made sure that I did not want any. Wow. By this time I realized that I must look really depressed. “No, thanks,” I told him. As I settled into my soft seat, I realized how far back I was; they really did not want me drinking and slobbering all over some waitress. Ah, I was literally isolated! I sat there for a few minutes and kept looking around; I wanted to figure out why I was here. I thought about my day and kept coming upon some heap of thoughts that lay waste in a state of absolute disarray. I was flabbergasted. Why in the heavens was I here?!
Earlier today I wanted to go sit by the river and think about what I was going to do next: Should I quit the nursing program and go pursue theology? Or maybe I should become a bum and play rock music for crazy near-the-river-people like me. I didn’t know. Gosh, being all lost in my thoughts, the server came and asked me if I wanted soup or salad. “Salad,” I replied with a hoarse voice. I needed the lettuce and the tomatoes; I did not want to become fat as my next door neighbor. While sitting there and reminiscing, I was knocked out. Yes, I was hit with a thought that knocked me out! Well, it was not really a thought; it was a most romantic memory.
It was summer and I was sitting with a girl in Olive Garden. I had chicken alfredo pizza and she had raspberry lemonade. We sat across from each other. I remember sitting there and thinking how great life was. You know, you have a girlfriend and the world revolved around her. It was a great feeling. I remember how I was talking with her about everything and it seemed that nothing would ever take that away; we would always remain together, happy and forever. We sat in the same section that I sat in today; it was the ‘right wing’ as I called it. I think we talked for about four hours before I realized how tired I was. So she came and sat with me and massaged my temples. Somewhere along the lines I may have drifted to sleep. I do remember waking up and leaving thirty minutes after Olive Garden had closed; they had the decency not to remind us that they had long closed. I remember how we could not figure out why the waiters were staring at us! They were, apparently, waiting for the love birds to finish up. Yes, I remember…
“What would you like to order, Sir?” the server asked me. “Chicken scampi. No bell peppers, with extra mushrooms,” I replied. “We’ll have that right out for you.”
I looked across the table to a couple kissing. Yes, I think I know why I was in such a state. I was lonely like the rest of the world. You know, when you study for eight hours a day, you slowly lose your mind. I was going through Phase Two of social suicide: eternal damnation with text books being your only friends. I must have thought that too loud; the couple stopped and looked at me. I was only gaping. I must have had too much raspberry lemonade (that stuff works miracles!). The server came to me and brought me my food and hurried off (I must have looked like a depressed philosopher). I took my first bite of the warm chicken and I was struck by more memories.
I was sitting at Dockside Café on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene. It was summer and I was dating some crazy girl from the desert. I think we sat near each other and tried each other’s food (it was a marvelous experience. You should try it!). I cannot remember the exact details of everything but I do remember one thing: I loved the sunset and the warm summer feeling.
As I sat there in Olive Garden, I was brought back to reality: it was not summer and I was not with a girlfriend. I was single status and I was taking myself out. I do not know why, but I was in a horrible mood. I was carrying the weight of the world (whatever that means). I thought about all of the lonely, single people out there and I was scared. I was frightened to death. If only they had experienced love, they would have a chance. But as for the ones that were lost, they had nothing but this cold world to hold on to. I began to think about my friends that were all single and I was worried. They would confess to me their worst nightmare and it would remind me of my own dreams: me sitting all alone, two-hundred-years-old, with nobody but a black cat and thrash music. I think I began to shiver (no wonder the crowd around me thought I was an end-times prophet!). I looked outside and seen the cold, gray clouds. It was all so depressing.
As I sat there lost in thought, I realized how much people need each other. So what if you had that Mercedes and that new house in that new suburb? Did it really give you anything? Nope. It only locked you away from the cold storms that were raging outside. Nothing more. Nada. I stared at some drunken people that were now laughing. Wow. Maybe people just try to cover up everything with that superficial laughter and mind numbing drink. Heck, yes, they were all, deep inside, depressed. Or maybe not?
The food was getting cold and my thoughts were getting colder; I chose to remain. I began thinking about all of the love that I used to have; all of that young passion. It was all gone now. I had nothing left to give. There was no use lying. Nada. You know, the world makes you cold and you only make it colder. “Wow, Moses,” I thought, “You were the guy wearing the ‘Jesus Loves This Guy’ t-shirt a while back!” Yes, I must have forgotten that Jesus loved me. You know how that goes? Oh please, don’t tell me you don’t.
That lemonade must have had something in it. Yes, it must have. Why else would I be thinking like this? Boy, I was going mad! I leaned in my chair and shuffled my cold feet. Ah, marriage was a commitment, was it not? Somehow my thoughts drifted into that marriage cellar of mine. I had just finished reading a Christian view of marriage and remember that awful, overstated, statement: Nearly half of all marriages now end in divorce. Really? Half? And what about the other half? What were they doing staying together? I don’t know. Maybe I should not lead myself to believe that marriage helps people. Maybe I should just become a monk and preach celibacy? Yes, that has been on my mind lately. Often, actually, very often.
I think that a situation that occurred yesterday had to do with my being depressed: I had discovered that one of my friends was an abusive husband. I felt utterly disgusted. Him? Really? I asked myself all night those questions. I could not find solace. I could not find a way to help. I was helpless. She seemed like such a happy young girl. But she ended up with a controlling monster; a beast with absolutely no self-worth. What was going on with the world today? When was Jesus returning?
The server brought me my bill and I paid in cash. He was sort of shocked to see me pay and not escape. By the looks of it, I should have busted through the great windows and committed suicide by having a bus run me over. I think they may have been expecting that. But, as you already know, nobody does that these days. We sit around and talk about romance as if it exists. You know, just like we talk about Heaven (though none of us have ever been there). We do commit suicide but it’s more formal, legal, professional, and civilized: social suicide (no bombs included, just lock yourself up and “boom”!). Ai, that lemonade must have been tainted.
I think I was going to pray, but I felt sorry more for myself than for those around me. I usually don’t feel that way. But today, for some strange, odd reason, I did. I could not say thanks when I felt like I needed to be that chicken on the plate. Yes, I felt like being someone’s meal today. Wow, the world was coming to an end and none of us knew it. None.
I left Olive Garden and was told to have a nice day. I told the waitress that I would. I think I may have smiled because she blushed and I hit a chair and ended up on the floor. I told you that lemonade was tainted!
Wait a second. How do I commit suicide? Well, I take it that you already did! If you are reading this from Facebook or MySpace or you found this via Google, you already are semi-dead. Consider yourself socially dead and virtually alive. You are no better than that kid that got run over by a school bus while eating at Olive Garden and talking about summers past. Yep, like me, you’ll be soon in nursing school studying pharmacology and totally killing yourself to the outside world (though, unless you are lucky, you may end up dating the young nursing professor!). Best wishes, my friends, and, for my sake, get off of Facebook and go have some hot sex with your beautiful spouse after reading the Song of Songs. As for me, I have to go read half a textbook and drink coffee for a multitude of days!