This has nothing to do with my gas

He is sitting in the school computer room. It’s dark and dreary even though the lights are shining brightly. Different topics to write about collect in clumps while he tries to focus his thoughts. This always happens.—That was his first thought, but then he scrambles and recovers: everybody has difficulties put- ting their ideas into words, so don’t worry too much.—Now he’s playing the role of personal therapist.

As reluctant as he is to admit it, he smells. Thankfully, no one else is near enough to catch a whiff of his uncontrollable flatulence, making him figure that writer’s block is not his only problem. Maybe he’s not as lost as he imagines.

To soothe his nerves, he recollects a conversation he overheard earlier in the day. Two, three seats to the left of him, a girl stared at a computer screen, seemingly in an attempt to ignore the guy hovering in the seat beside her. Almost as if suspended millimetres away from her personal space, almost encroaching, the grovelling guy spilled his guts, giving far too many details regarding topics she seemed to care little about.

The thought simultaneously created laughter and sobered the writer to the reality of his own pending assignment. From his outsider’s perspective, the guy was creepy and irritating, but even if his assessment was correct, how could it be any consolation to him that people more pathetic than him actually exist? This manner of thinking evaporated quickly, and he set back to the task at hand.

His intention, though vague, was to begin writing a column that would inspire fellow students to be more thoughtful. In his mind worries sung loudly: Such hopes are bound to fail, usually because of a lack of direction. Astutely, however, he noticed how he was sabotaging his own hopes, simply by being overly critical of an undeveloped idea.

To regroup, he wandered through the school. Not a person in sight. As he walked, his thoughts started to flow: Spiritual insights are not instantaneous. Sometimes it takes a number of re-evaluations to determine what the soul/sub-conscious/spirit/universe/God is saying. The comment was yet another attempt to calm him self.

It worked!

Later that night he would second guess his decision, questioning whether spontaneity got the best of him. His co- worker, oblivious as usual, would joke, and poke fun, forcing him to pretend. Then, on a whim, he’d make a decision to not be ashamed and drop the sham.

Despite his previously firm believe in disguising his emotions, the co-worker pleasantly surprised him, and in his column, he attributed the success to a spiritual insurgence, but he disliked the word spiritual, mostly because it didn’t explain what he meant. “Sadly,an inability to define unique concepts and experiences,often results in them being left unexplored.” He used that line to begin the article.

Among other topics, he discussed how it is easy to ignore personal intuition, except in emergencies—which are situations when no other method is working. “But to be free of needless worry, it is important to be willing to listen whenever a potentially life altering experience occurs, which is quite often.

And the most significant moments can sometimes be the easiest to ignore. So we should always try to be open.”—And by the time he reached that stage of the article, he had grown very comfortable; it had been at least a half hour since he saw anyone in the school. Accordingly, his gastronomic exhaust technique became bolder.

He didn’t know exactly how long the girl had been sitting at the computer terminal closest to the door, but he concluded she must have heard him. Oh well. Truly, he was unconcerned. She was cute, and he failed to feel self-conscious. Because “sometimes we actively create the problems that we try so hard to alleviate and…” he knew any sort of embarrassment that arose would be a product of his own imagination, no matter how real it may have felt, so he figured: why bother feeling that way?

Initially, he concluded his inaugural article without explaining that spirituality can have practical impact on your life, but I talked him out of it. It was another of our cool/almost freezing cold 2004 summer days. We had been sitting together, relaxing, when he asked for my opinion, I couldn’t lie—I told him that it felt incomplete.

I’m not sure what changes he made, or if he made any at all. I suggested that he try to clarify some of his ideas. For example, he never stated outright his desire for the first article to casually introduce his spiritual concepts, which would be given practical application in future articles. That was a minor oversight. Hopefully he remembered to include specific details, but I’m guessing with the way he writes, you might have to re-read.