Sitting in a classroom, head tucked close to a book, I found myself drawn to my once-cellphone-now-MP3/PortableApp. Several months ago, I shut down my service (Straight Talk) due to the fact my biweekly paychecks couldn’t pay for my bills and a monthly cellphone plan. So I cut out the one I didn’t need, but decided to keep the phone itself just in case I decided, one day, to reactivate it.
I’m in college, now. I’m studying to be a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist at Metro Business College. Working my way through the first term, I sometimes find myself a bit on the bored side (first term classes are rather easy, minus math) and, after a test I had to take today, I found myself drawn to my OCNMPA. When I saw what today’s word of choice was, I spent the last fifteen minutes starting at my phone.
Paper. Of all the things it could have been, it was this.
I was not quite sure what to make of that one word. It was something I saw every day. This one substance lurks everywhere I go, but rarely would I turn my thoughts onto it with a singular focus; not often am I asked to think on the word ‘paper’ and have a response to it. In this, I hope I am not alone.
What does one come up with, when given a word they don’t think of all that much?
It’s half-past six, where I’m at. In a handful of hours, I’ll be heading off to bed. As I sit here, hands on my keyboard, I find myself restless. Here is this word, one I do not often think about, and I find myself unable to come up with a story to go with it. So this is what I am doing instead. I am thinking aloud, my thoughts clear for all to read.
Perhaps I should ask myself a different question: ‘What do I see, when I think of paper?’
The answer is as rough, as unfocused, as before. However, now I have an image in my head. 300+ pages of text, holepunched in a binder, stares up at me. I am daunted by the task I have assigned myself; I have never done a fullscale revision before. The thought of having to read through of all that is as frightening as it is eletrifying. I want to do it, but, at the same time, I find myself unsure if it will matter in the end.
A writer’s insecurity, that one. A monster, in and of itself.
When I think of paper, I see my mathematics classroom. I’m sitting at a desk trying to work out the problems my professor gives me. Payroll is easy enough, so far. Then I’m in a different class, in Terminolgy. Fifty new words to learn on top of 175 I have already memorized; I have pages and pages of work to do, in regards to my schoolwork. If I could find the person who said ‘college isn’t all that hard,’ I’d hit them dead.
My thoughts go to the forests which create the paper I thoughtlessly use.
How many trees are destoryed so humanity can have notebooks, planners, sketchpads and all that other shit we take for granted? How many ecosystems are we crippling, taking from the earth yet not giving anything of use back to the planet that sustains us?
I want to start a garden. I want to grow something, yet I find myself, once more, unsure if I’d be any good at that. Part of me wants to say ‘my soil isn’t any good, so why bother?’ It is frustrating, these voices that whisper in my head. Excuses to not do something, they are. Nattering, useless little things that get in the way.
However, this daily prompt also reminds me of one other thing: Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF).
I joined ADF in 2015, in the early days of November. For those who are unfamiliar with ADF, it is a druid organization that focuses on researching our past, our roots, in hopes of learning what our ancestors believed long ago. It is a mixture of scholarly studies and of learning to live, in harmony, with the world and community around us. A worthy task, I believe. People no longer act as they use to; we are absorbed in ourselves, in the technology we have created, but the connections once had are diminishing.
What happened to the simple, pleasant coversations with our neghibors? Where did the days go when children could play in the front yard without having to worry about a stranger walking up and wisking them away? What happened to people helping one another, to working together, instead of living a singular, self-involved lifestyle?
I am as guilty of many of those things and, likely, many more. Yet these questions pop up, and I have no answer. Has our communities fallen so far that the people we live beside will be nothing more than strangers? Perhaps, being young myself, the things adults older than me were taught simply…never reached my ears.
Again, I am reminded of paper. Many times I have been tempted to find a book or two on how to talk, interact, and work with people. I’m an awkward personal, and social interactions can be unnerving due to the fact I often don’t know how to act in many situtions. I tend to be quiet, simply opting to watch in favor of trying anything else.
Books are a lifeline for me. They keep me company. Books are made of paper.
Paper is made of countless, beautiful trees.
Trees are part of a forest.
Paper, it seems, can make me think of many things if I give myself time to work it out. In the vast landscapes of my mind, one singular word branches away to form many different roads leading to interesting places. Am I alone in this? No, I know I am not, but it is always nice to have someone else to speak with.
For My Readers
What are your thoughts on this matter? What does ‘paper’ say to you?
Do you agree with me? Or disagree, as the case may be?
Share your thoughts, and I will share mine.