Nothing Worse

by Nic Olson

“Nothing worse than not getting enough sleep, eh?” The bearded bus driver said in response to his sidekick, the exact moment I stepped on the bus. He looked a lot like Kenny Rogers. It seems that more than half of the bus drivers in Regina have a co-pilot that accompanies them on those long, cold, lonely morning drives, like they had enough to fill a conversation for more than ten minutes straight. Nothing worse, I wondered? Nothing you can think of could be worse than getting five hours of sleep in your pillow-top mattress in your heated home beside your wife who also resembles Kenny Rogers? Congratulations, my commute-directing friend, you have officially reached enlightenment.

My second stint at university lasted no more than one three-hour class. You drop out once, you’re a drop out forever, they seemed to want to tell me.

The night before, I was stressing out about textbooks. About the prices, and if it was really necessary to buy a ninety-dollar textbook for a Creative Writing class, and in arrogant fashion, I decided that it was not. In my previous English class I didn’t even open my textbook, and this class was even more open than English 100. But through the advice of a friend, I decided that if I was going to do it, I might as well do it right. Study and learn as much as I can, and to think not that I am greater than the class or the textbook or the students. But it was too late. The next day my negativity from the night before cancelled out any chance I had of learning and practicing the trade. Karma got me and I couldn’t say I blamed it.

So for ten minutes after learning that I was no longer able to take a single class, I reacted as if there was nothing worse in the world than getting fucked over by a university. Nothing worse than not getting enough sleep? Yeah right, Kenny Rogers is a dickhead. I kicked at the dry snow, careful not to slip and find out that something worse would be a broken coccyx. I put on loud music and walked the pathway back home wishing that I could say that my dreams were crushed, and that I would never write a book now, and that I wanted to cry, thanks to being twelve hours late to a deadline that I didn’t know existed (apparently one must apply to school before registering, and the professor’s consent means little more than me saying that I have an Arts Degree). Spitting and fuming I looked up from my feet and saw a man, skinny, and not at all like the Kenny Rogers bus driver, riding his bicycle in the snow with a wide grin on his face. Behind his large glasses his eyes instantly suggested that although I may never become a famous playwright, or may never get formal training on how to hook a reader with well-developed characters, or may never know exactly what the verb ‘to workshop’ means, that I will be fine and likely able to ride a bicycle through to old age. And for that possibility I am grateful.

There is nothing worse than being the person that thinks there is nothing worse, when there is in fact a catalogue of things that could be much worse.