You’ve got to make the moment last. That’s what they kept telling me. How exactly do you do that, make a moment last? Seems to me like a moment is a moment, lasting for however long or short a time it damn well pleases and anything I do isn’t going to change that. Of course, I knew they were just trying to help, to make this whole thing a little bit easier, but I wasn’t in the most receptive mood to their sage wisdom.
The line ahead of me moved a bit and I took a single step to catch up with it.
The entire idea of this bothered me. I couldn’t think of any single part of it that I was honestly comfortable with. But judging by the excited faces and nervous chatter between the others in line around me, I was alone in that.
Back when I first got my letter, I was ready to toss it in the trash and go on with my life. There were much more useful things I could be doing with my time than spending an entire day standing around waiting for my turn. If my roommate hadn’t seen it sitting at the top of the recycling, that’s exactly what would have happened. But of course, he picked it up and started waving it around excitedly, texting everyone we knew and yelling about how lucky I was. I’m pretty sure he even tweeted about it, the idiot.
One by one, everyone I had ever come into contact with in my life, from family to friends to people whose names I hadn’t forgotten only because I had never even learned them, they all started in on me. They told me what an honor I had been given and how lucky I was and how they’d all heard of some distant association who had gotten his or her letter and nothing was ever the same for them. I wondered if it was because no one would ever leave them alone again.
Finally, I relented; I agreed to go. I had known from the very second I saw the letter in my roommate’s hand flailing around wildly that there would be no escape, but I still tried my hardest to fight against the tide of people who claimed to know just what I need to do better than I did. It was exhausting, and got to the point where it would be easier to just do the damned thing.
The door opened and the guy in front of me stopped bouncing up and down on his heels in time to eagerly step through. It shut behind him quietly and I stepped up to take his place.
It was almost finally, blessedly over. In just a few moments I’d be able to walk out of here, tell everyone how newly enlightened I am, and get back to my actual life. After the requisite phone calls to my family, I expected a week or two of intense questioning from friends and coworkers, and the occasional Facebook post, but once they realized how shallow the well of stories about a 30 second meeting could be, they’d move on. And so would I.
The door opened. I sighed and stepped through into the darkness, hearing it close behind me. The lights flickered on, revealing the Dalai Lama sitting on a small wood stool.
“Good afternoon. Allow me to explain to you the true purpose of existence,” he said with a genial smile.