Tonight, while walking as quickly as I could without technically running to the car (I don't care that it gets to minus 40,000 in Iowa, it was cold!) I saw one of my very favorite teachers - from whom I took two theatre classes last semester - walking across campus. It was one of those funny moments, the sort that, though the little incident may not be hugely significant, makes you think about bigger things for hours afterward. Mr. McKinley was one of the most exceptional teachers I've ever learned from; certainly the best at this school. I always came home from his classes talking a mile a minute, dying to tell this funny story, or with an interesting piece of information to relay, or simply a wispy grin leftover on my face from 4 hours of interesting lecture and good jokes. He is well-read, intelligent, funny and fair. He doesn't swear, gives impeccably organized lectures, thinks textbooks are overpriced, and returns papers within two weeks. He's a great teacher. Thanks to Mr. McKinley, I saw my first-ever Shakespeare at the Old Globe. I read, with more depth than I've ever read anything - even in lit classes - Death of a Salesman. It was a great semester. So why, you may ask, didn't I wave or say hello? Because, (cough) I was signed up for another of his classes this semester and dropped it at the last moment. For some wacko reason, over Christmas break I suddenly decided that an English major would, after all, be the best choice for me. Why I even pretend I've got the whole major question figured out, I don't know. It's RIDICULOUS how often I change my mind.
So, I dropped all my fun theatre classes lined up for spring. But, really, this isn't why I didn't wave. I have this weird feeling that I owe him more than some paltry excuse, not just for dropping his class (which would have been excellent, stupidhead me), but for being where I am. Or maybe I feel I need to make excuses to myself. I had such great dreams and fantastic hopes last semester, looking towards the future. Visions of a more daring, seize-the-day me. If I didn't necessarily do great things myself, I was going to worm my way into a world where beautiful things, things I believe in and understand, happen.
Somehow, I feel like I owe my future to this teacher. That if I don't do something worhtwhile, even a small something, I will be letting him down.
And you know what's ironic? He probably wouldn't even remember me; I was one kid in 15-year sea of faces. Funny, you know?