Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Senior Scramble

When I was a child, I was terrified of the dark.  I'm pretty certain that this wasn't a unique characteristic I had among children.  They even named a scary television show for children Are You Afraid of the Dark? because they knew the answer was ""yes, of course."

When I found myself in the dark, there were various ways of dealing with the situation.  The Blanket Over the Head method had a high success rate.  Sometimes talking or singing out loud was helpful.  The only real cure for this particular type of fear, however, besides turning the lights on, of course, was to hear a familiar voice (that wasn't mine), or better yet, a physical confirmation that I was with a person in whom I had great trust.  For instance, if I were afraid, in the dark, then felt the hands of one of my brothers on my shoulders (assuming they weren't trying to scare me deliberately, which may be a stretch), then the fear would leave as if it had never been.  Even my little sister linking arms with me could melt my fear.

Again, I'm sure this is a childhood story that any one of us could tell.  However, it's not really logical, is it?  I mean, what was I afraid of in the first place?  A monster? An ax murdered? An alien?  Could my little sister really help defend me from any of these things?  No.  She could not.  Why, then, did her presence take my fear away?  Either I really did think that the small girl had some as of yet untapped power, or she distracted my thoughts from what might be lurking in the shadows.

Fast forward several years to college.  Beginning with my freshman year, I watched a thing we called the "senior scramble."  What this meant was, if you were a senior and single, you best scramble to find someone to marry before it was time to flip your tassel.  (After all, there are no decent mates to be found outside of college - in case you didn't know.)  I say I "watched," but what I really mean is that I mocked, judged, laughed, and rolled my eyes at the senior scramble.  I didn't understand what people were so afraid of.  So they would graduate single.  They were only 22.  Get over it.

Fast forward a few more years to my senior year of college.  A veil is lifted and I get it.  The senior scramble was not much different than my clinging to my little sister in the dark as a child, except for the scramblers, their future was the dark, and their spouse would be their little sister.

As adults, we don't fear the dark as much as we did, but a new fear has crept into the mix.  It's not that different, really - a fear of the unknown.  Then, we couldn't stand the thought of facing the beasts in our dark room alone.  Now, we can't stand the thought of facing the beasts in our dark future alone.  No light in the world can tell us what will happen, so we cling to someone to distract us from the fear, to make us feel safe.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing.  In fact, I think it's one of the things that makes us human.

I do it.  I'm still single, but hold fast to those I trust, while tiptoeing into the great unknown.

Fellow synchroblogger posts:
dark city
From Darkness, Light
Into The Darkness
How Are You? I Am Fine
synchroblogging in the dark

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