My lecture was going well. Half the students were asleep and this meant they wouldn’t ask any questions. Getting paid to talk out loud is gold to a bullshiter and the room was mostly silent while I continued. Some students were trying to distract their brains with their phones. They were the sort who got government jobs and waited for the work day to end. Five years from now, they would be saying, “Cheer up; it’s Friday.”
I had a bottle of Scotch waiting for me at home and I was going to drink every drop until I passed out. Maybe I’d enjoy a fine cigar and stare at the smoke rings floating to the ceiling from my couch. But for now, I needed to finish the last hour of lecture and assign homework. I continued talking about Camus when a girl walked in. Half of the sleeping class woke up. They were mostly men.
She was too young for me and I had sworn off women completely. Still, her silky legs swam into her jean shorts and her brown eyes stared into mine, like she was trying to find a place there. I didn’t want any of it. My mind was my own mind.
“We mustn’t forget how our lives are ruled by randomness. Humans don’t want to acknowledge they have limited control. We constantly find meaning in things that are meaningless. For your assignment, read The Stranger and write an essay explaining how one random event can shatter reality.”
The girl was taking notes. She copied the homework assignment down and left. It was like watching a magnet erasing reason from the minds of men, pulling on their heart strings until they couldn’t feel anything but longing. Nature is a cruel teacher.
I walked home that night, not thinking. No ideas entered my mind and it was beautiful.