Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 1,301 - 1,400

From The 5,000 Question Survey 2.0 part 27 and part 28:

1353. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child?
1354. Do you still have imaginary friends?
1358. What would make you happy that money can buy?

1353. Two: Gary and Judy. No idea where their names came from.
1354. Yes. And years ago one helped me get through a hard year. I was at uni, doing a course I hated and should probably have quit but didn't. Every day of the first few weeks felt like torture. I didn't know anybody, didn't want to be there, and couldn't find anywhere to sit for lunch that didn't seem festooned with "Loner!" and "Loser!" flags. On the worst day I ate a sandwich while standing in a toilet cubicle. Thinking of that now makes me want to cry - the fact I was being so stupid - but at the time I wasn't thinking straight and just wanted to hide somewhere (but was hungry, hahaha...) Then at night in my ugly little flat I used to look out the window at the wall of the shed next door, all of one metre away, and the strange stick-like tree that grew in the gap. For most of the year it was like a skeleton, with no leaves. One night I looked at the tree and remembered an animated film I love, The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship. One of the characters has a bundle of sticks which are planted in the snow and grow into human-like shapes, and they look very much like that tree. And before I knew it, Stick-man was born, an imaginary friend. In my mind I carried him around in a pocket every day, and whenever I started to get anxious or worried, I'd think of him and feel better. I don't know why this worked, but it did, and bless it for doing so.

1358. It was definitely a one-off thing and wouldn't work again, but... At uni (not the Stick-man one) I lived in a college and hated going to meals in the dining room (a huge place, hundreds of people at long tables). One morning instead of going to the college breakfast, I walked up the hill to the uni cafeteria - one of only two times in three years I ever went in there - and bought a coffee and two doughnuts to take back to my room. And walking back down that hill in that cold morning air - sun on the trees, a spring in my step, coffee and doughnuts in hand - was one of THE happiest moments of my life. Cheap thrill; lasting impact.

NaNoWriMo word count = 7,610