When I was in college, a girl I briefly dated said something I've never forgotten. We were having a Deep Conversation and she was trying to convince me of something. She said:
"You're one of us, you know. You don't just go through life, you live it."
I froze like a lynx. Suddenly I felt conspicuous and exposed. I knew exactly what she was referring to: the examined life, self-improvement. Not too many people I'd met then were capable of talking about that, and nobody had ever put it in those terms. My inner life was one of relentless analysis.
It was us and them. The poets and the dead inside. And then the lust rose in me as I held, in my mind, this invitation to join a secret club. I'd been in it for years without knowing any of the other members.
The rest is all a blur. She played with my mind and slept with all my friends. I aged and the borders between us and them blurred. Some people I met could talk a little bit about what they learned from their experiences, and some people were so busy navelgazing that they weren't open to new experiences.
How did I get here? Sometimes I feel like I'm in a Talking Heads song. Did I fall asleep? This is no place for cruise control.