Interesting People and a Collage of Weirdness

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” -Jack Kerouac

Like Kerouac, I prefer to surround myself with interesting people. People that devote their time to their own eccentricity and reject complacency. People that wear what makes them happy and say things that might not make sense to anyone but themselves. People that approach life with at once both an openness to its uncertainties and an urgency to not waste one moment. These people take YOLO to an extreme but do so effortlessly because to them, there is no other way to live. They feel things deeply because they have intentionally connected themselves to the world and those in it.

In the movie Her, the main character tell his artificial intelligence girlfriend that he often looks at people and thinks about the expanse of their emotions. He wonders how deeply they have been in love and how much heartbreak they have endured. Given, this man says this to a computer program that is only a voice, but his perspective is still worthwhile. Amid overwhelming waves of emotion like infatuation or grief, it often feels like no one anywhere has ever felt the extent of our complete surrender to our feelings. But humans tend to be pretty complex, so chances are that unless the person next to us is a sociopath, he has felt all the same feels we have experienced.

There is a certain beauty in this complexity that molds all the interesting people of the world together into a collage of weirdness. Spoiler alert: all people are interesting, but some people are more interesting than others. Or at least some people have discovered their interesting more quickly and fully than others. I love Eugene because the people there fulfill every level on the spectrum of exceptional weirdness. There are slug queens and roller derby stars, but there are also famous runners and maniac football fans. There are even white collar workers and horseback riding enthusiasts.

People in Eugene–and Oregon in general–embrace discomfort and deter conformity because their surroundings necessitate it. Though it is possible to live in Eugene and avoid all things hippie–Saturday Market, the Eugene Celebration, the Country Fair–it would be difficult to actively dislike these things. Their uniqueness and benevolence requires some respect, so most Eugenians provide it. The Eugene vibe moves beyond tolerance to a certain appreciation for abnormality that enables that same collage of weirdness.

The transition from a 500-person high school to a 25,000-person college has introduced all kinds of new, interesting people into my life, but I am still only one hour from my hometown. Right now, my interactions are mostly limited to those who also seek a college degree, and even more so to those in my major classes.

There is so much world left to see and so many people left to meet outside of this small town. People who have lived on the other side of the globe in situations I cannot fathom; people with brilliant minds and philosophies that understand the universe more clearly than distractions allow me; and people who simply have a story that deserves to be shared. This planet brims with curious people who do spectacular things. The only thing left to do is look for them.

Free Moon

One month into my freshman year of Catholic high school, I stood eating goldfish in a crowded hallway with my newest friends. We were amid a ten-minute break and the conversation had begun to run thin; each orange cracker placed in my mouth allowed me a few more seconds of socially acceptable silence. Though I knew one friend from middle school, the rest were entirely from that month and we had not yet bridged the defining stage of friendship: inside jokes.

After several long minutes of bearably awkward freshman conversation, one particularly enthusiastic friend whipped out her phone to capture my goldfish-eating moment and simultaneously asked for my number. Midway through typing my name, she paused and slowly raised her head to look at me. Noting her wild gaze, I immediately ceased movement and, with a lone goldfish hovering in my hand, awaited her next move.

“Monica,” she said. “Moooonica. MOON-ica. What if someone asked you to prom and said, ‘I’ll jump over the MOON for you?!’” We locked eyes in silence for several seconds until she abruptly deleted what she had typed and replaced it with what would forever become my nickname in that emerging friend group.

Since that fateful day, no one has asked me to a dance saying they would jump over the moon for me, and most people do not even call me Moon, but the name still feels essential to my friendships and, in small part, my identity. Plus I think the real moon is pretty freaking rad and the mere concept of space and the universe spirals me into an existential tizzy every time it comes up. Fundamentally, I feel connected enough to that gray sphere to make it 50% of this blog’s title.

The other 50% comes from the entire purpose for this blog. Since starting college I have felt freer to choose my own adventure than when I first read Goosebumps books as a child. Now I can write my own chapters and go back to the start when I need and even keep moving forward when the first adventure should end. My capacity for curiosity and exploration is endless, my quest for meaning and purpose is uninhibited and my desire for universal justice is unchanging.

This blog is essentially my attempt to release my thoughts to the world and create something meaningful.

This may emerge through opinions or stories or pictures but it will always reflect my fundamental belief in equality and it will always parallel my struggle to make sense of the world. I cannot predict how this story will end, but the adventure begins now.