I was late for a quiz – freshman calculus, 9am on the other side of campus. I had a black book-bag, bright tangerine bike, shorts and a t-shirt. Maybe a little toothpaste still in the corner of my mouth. Jumping into the bike lane with Jay-Z fueling each pump, I’m bookin’ it. My gears are maxed out, the sweat starting on my forehead is super-cooled by the wind as I get closer to top speed with each push. The Arizona sun above me, black-top pavement below, parked cars to my right and commuters to my left. A good few lengths in front of me, a car pulls into park. With 99 Problems in my ears, the driver and I exchange a glace that says, “You’re good.” As I pass, a surprise Backseat Bro decides he’ll throw the door open into traffic.
You know in action movies when someone is near an explosion, they have that ‘dazed and confused’ camera effect? Turns out, not a lens! That’s what a bad concussion looks like. I remember getting dragged out of the street – I had fallen into traffic after hitting the hood of the car. It was “pretty gnarly”. Cut and bleeding, I couldn’t focus my vision well and had attracted the crowd from a nearby crosswalk. For some reason though, my focus remained locked on that math quiz.
On the way to class with my bike in the back of Driver Bro’s car, I’m still foggy. We take turns fumbling around different compartments looking for spare napkins. He had a lacrosse stick in the back, so I tried making small talk. “Oh, you play defense?”
“Yeah, man, is your hand okay?”
“I was always more of an LSM guy.”
“Yeah, cool. We can go to the hospital or something if you want?”
“Nah, nah I’m fine. Plus, I have this math quiz.”
I got a 30% on the math quiz. Don’t worry, the quiz itself was worth less than a homework grade. An inability to focus on calculus inspired me to call it a day and head to bed after class.
Priorities change. New realities emerge that demand attention. Sometimes, we need to be resilient and maintain the current course. Other times, we need a shift in direction. Wisdom is knowing the difference between the two. I’m always working on this one – hopefully, a story about a dumb college kid will help you work on it too.
Thanks for taking a sip,