near the edge

"Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it."

Ferris Bueller

Sometimes I wish I had time to really get to know someone or something. The way university life is structured, you get quick snippets of people and things and then you're forced to move on to the next semester.

It leaves me wondering what I've really learned or who I really know after all this time. They say that college is all about learning how to learn, implying you absorb nothing along the way. There's some truth to this especially after midterms.

However, I wish I had more time to enjoy the people or things worth knowing.

Last weekend I got the chance. I was going to a cast party in an apartment complex when I got stuck in an elevator with 12 people. The first thing that goes through my mind in a situation like this is, "Maybe I'll be in 'Police Beat.'" The second thing is, of course, "Damn."

Luckily, we had come prepared. There would be no starvation or scurvy for us with a plate of homemade oatmeal cookies, five limes and a full bottle of vodka. We could have stayed pretty happy in there for a couple of hours, or at least until the blender blew up. But the ordeal only lasted about 45 minutes.

It would've lasted only a few minutes if I wasn't living a cursed life. Luckily, the man who keeps the key to the elevators was in the building that night.

However, he was stuck in the elevator with us.

To top it off, he was in there with two fire marshals checking to see if the building was up to code. It wasn't. The elevator had no phone and the escape door in the ceiling had been bolted shut. Those Fates sure do like to thumb their noses at me.

Being the smartass that I am, I started making light of our situation. I said cheesy things like, "So, do you come here often?" and "Can I offer you hors d'oeuvres?" Annoying yes, but I've always dealt with rotten situations like that. I'd make a great EMT if they'd let me wear Groucho glasses.

Then someone introduced the cheery subject of dying in an elevator shaft crash. I mentioned I've always wanted a death that made headlines. Too bad none of us were nine months pregnant or chronically claustrophobic like on those keen television doctor shows.

One of the fire marshals said he could probably arrange a headline like "12 People Kill Girl in Elevator." Sheesh, this was a tough crowd. Then they started chanting "Waldo the dog-face boy" in three-part harmony. Any longer in there mid

and it would be Elevator of the Flies.

The fire department got us out before we ran out of cookies. Thank you, Tucson Fire Department.

I learned more about the people in the elevator in 45 minutes than I did in two months of play practice. For instance, Adam remarked that we had similar noses and I noticed that there really are more people in the world with brown eyes. All shocking revelations, but proof that we had the time to notice the things that make us unique.

We get so consumed with trivial dribble that we don't do the things that keep us sane. Sure, your life is bound to be dominated by school and the people you readily come in contact with, but why let your own interests atrophy?

When you graduate, what will you take with you? Hopefully, you'll pack a suitcase full of memories, not some neatly scrawled lecture notes or term papers. In there might be some club T-shirts, pictures of your friends and roommates and some special mementos that have meaning only to you.

These memories will mean a lot more to you personally than the sad-looking piece of paper they pass off as a diploma.

My only regret from high school is missing a very important birthday party to study for a physics test. At that time, I wanted to be an engineer and grades were everything. I regularly stayed home to study and didn't give myself much of a chance to enjoy life.

It wasn't worth it.

Wherever you are in your career, take time to decide what's really important to you. Tell the people you care about that you wouldn't want to live without them. Thank those that take the time to really teach you something you love. And take the extra cup of coffee with friends. Four years isn't as long as you think.

In short, live with no regrets.

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