Climbing to the Neighbor’s Flowers

Margaret - Wayzata, Minnesota
Entered on June 11, 2008

Be rational, they tell me.

I can do that. There is a chip in my brain that contains the necessary information. I know how to function efficiently and effectively in my bubble of a world.

My ear hears a radio alarm (but an alarm nonetheless) each morning. My mouth eats. My legs walk the grey-carpeted hallways. My brain studies, my body exercises, and I am tired. Again.

I am technically seventeen years old, but it is tempting to ignore the days that the chip controlled.

I believe in ejecting the chip.

I did it once without even trying. I was sixteen, and it was a warm breezy summer. I was uptight, the first to a hockey team potluck by a teammate’s chlorine-reeking pool. Out of nowhere, the tree was there. A sea of pink blossoms swaying set me tearing off like a crazed person towards the neighbor’s yard. I was shocked with glee for no apparent reason, and I shyly felt the grey grooved bark. This was something my fingers never would have done. The tree did not belong to me. I swung myself up, up, and up, the branches scratching my limbs until I stopped, having found my resting spot surrounded by the shaded blooms that looked so sweet and smelled so pink.

I was oblivious to the people a few yards off, barbequing by the blue house. A woman shielded her eyes from the sun to get a clear view of me. She addressed me in a scolding tone, “Please get out of the tree?” She said it like a question, and I felt young and a bit silly. I mumbled an apology and descended with as much grace as I could muster in my flustered state. I ran back to the pool barefooted and red-faced and tried to act like none of it had happened.

Now I remember both: the embarrassment and the wonder of climbing to the neighbor’s flowers. The surrounding hours, which the chip operated, are lost to me. Nothing extraordinarily good or bad happened. I am no wiser for them, whereas the flowers brought both rapture and disappointment, remaining fresh in me.

Not that they made sense at all; they simply were.

I believe that this is precisely what made them beautiful. Rationality and order may have their place in my world, but it is the inexplicable compulsions of irrationality that ultimately define my life.

I believe that I am a seventeen-year-old who wakes up to a radio alarm each morning, but more importantly occasionally climbs to the neighbor’s flowers to taste their pink.

I believe that though rationality is important in life, irrationality is life.