College Stories 2011: The Unfortunate Consequences of a Limited Ability to Produce Witty or Appropriate Titles

The Unfortunate Consequences of a Limited Ability to Produce Witty or Appropriate Titles

by Akos Szekely ’11

Good day, morning, afternoon or evening. My name is Akos Szekely.

I’m not a writer, I’m a psychologist. I don’t mind dry writers, as long as the information they’re talking about is fascinating. My writing is fairly to the point, though punctuated with the occasional flourish of exuberance in tone or words that are longer versions of basic concepts.

You see, I’ve read amazing things before. I’ve read stories by people who know how to write. They’re easy to spot, you just read a work and somehow notice your vision tunneling a bit, your heart feels a little bit funny, and where did the time go?

My job isn’t to write those stories, unfortunately. What I’m good at is pointing them out and explaining the experience of reading it. Either that or answering questions about it; I’ve gotten good at answering questions.

My life so far has even played those same chords. No school spirit, couldn’t be bothered with sports, I don’t drink because I hate losing control, and unless a person has just stopped at one point, mind afire and roared a question at something until they were spent, I really can’t hold a long conversation with them.

But then, if you’ve never looked in a mirror and said “why?” and had it echo through your head until it hurts, or if you’ve never seen human pain and said “what?” with a rage building like a storm behind your head and your eyes sharpening until you feel that you’ll set evil ablaze with nothing but your will alone … why haven’t you?

In any case, I really only have one running theme of any merit to talk about. I’ve only really ever had that funny feeling in my heart and had my vision expand on its own under one circumstance.

Have you ever looked up at the night sky before? No, really. How long has it been since you’ve seen the sun set and seen the stars?

Depending on where you live and the light pollution of any given area, I’d wager this is a rarer experience than it once was. Living at Granville Towers I know that I couldn’t see the sky at all at night.

Night is always strangely pretty. Even when you can’t see the sky the street lights are this odd orange color that makes everything blur a little bit. It’s a little bit like a mist that you can’t quite rub away, but you wonder if you might not be missing something interesting. Was that a shadow, or was there something moving?

During the day everything’s sharp and clear, precision and clarity, you can see every flaw if you look hard enough and know what to look for. So obviously you have to move your stuff in and out during the day.

It’s always hot whenever it’s time to move. There’s light making everything visible, and you’re straining to lift some heavy thing and it’s fun because you feel the blood in your veins singing with energy and power, but the heat drains life from you, little by little. And worse yet, moving is something that you must be experienced in. If you don’t know how to move you end up leaving everything for late and panicking and becoming a whirling dervish of movement and energy, trying to get everything together and out of the way, and does this go here or am I stashing it or …

As you move more than once you learn to do it early, and in steps. When you do that you are human again and when it starts raining you sit under an opened trunk in a car watching the rain fall with a friend who you know you’ll regret losing touch with later on but at least it’s been nice.

Worse still is moving and then traveling. Air travel is crazy, and even though you’re already exhausted from moving because even doing it in time means you’re tired and frazzled, you have to throw everything about you in ever crazier organizations until you’re wearing five layers of coats and a hat and a scarf and it was already hot when you came in with just your shirt.

Then eventually you move yet again, being the oldest you’ve ever been, and finally it all works out for the most part. After all, the older you grow the more you realize that those older than you telling you that you weren’t quite ready wasn’t an insult and more like the kind of humor that’s made up of job complaints.

So everything’s set up, it’s all organized, and neat, and you have it all to yourself …

And it’s empty. So very, strangely empty.

Well, there are things to be done, and classes, and forward, forward, forward always …

And then you come back at night. It’s late enough, you’ve had fun, or been busy or who knows what. You look up as you get out of the car, because you kind of have to.

There’s the sky. Open and black. You can stare as hard as your eyes will go, darting your eyes a little to the side to use the rods to see things that are less bright, and still there’s so much that you only really are gathering dust. And just in that moment you breathe.

There are things above and below you that are great and big. And you, strange, little, always-forward that you are, can see them, hold them in your mind and use them.

This was my life. There are things in it that I took, and things that I was given.

 Akos Szekely ’11, of several hometowns and most recently of Huntington, N.Y., majored in psychology. He plans to pursue a doctorate and “become the crazy old professor at some university somewhere, though California seems nice.”