That day, while studying in the library, he pondered serious thoughts about expanding his horizons and traveling overseas after graduation. On the bright side, his college classes had given him a greater theoretical awareness about lands beyond American borders, but Thomas strongly preferred to have real, tactile experiences of these places. Showing would be far more meaningful than telling. He knew that France historically had a café culture where people actually did sit in cafés and have the types of discussions that Thomas liked. He also knew that India was a deeply spiritual place; it sounded like a society where getting the next big car or large television wasn’t everyone’s first priority. He still remembered his professor lecturing about people bathing in the holy Ganges River; this gave him a lot of food for thought. Sure, many of his classmates were hypocritical Christians who prayed at church and then drank heavily and cheated on their significant others. But the Hindus who bathed in that Ganges River sounded more sincere to him. Possibly they truly believed in the teachings of their religion? Possibly they took spirituality and the soul as serious ideas to heart? He wanted to talk to these people who bathed in the Ganges. He thought that he would probably learn more from talking to these people than his college classmates, and they would definitely be more rewarding company.
None of this was absolutely certain. However, Thomas did know for sure that he was unhappy in rural Indiana. He was hoping that there was a paradise somewhere on earth. Was France his paradise? What about Japan, where a lot of his electronics came from? He had learned that Japan was full of Shinto shrines. Surely there was somewhere where he would not feel alienated and life might approach bliss? He didn’t know exactly where this place was, but French cafés, Indian spirituality, and Japanese shrines all sounded immensely appealing, and extremely far away from Indiana.
I am not staying here for the rest of my life. He could do that, and have a modern-day version of Dante’s Inferno. Or he could find a different experience that would open up his mind to different ideas, different cultures, and at a minimum, different surroundings. Just because college had been a major disappointment did not justify feeling completely forlorn about the future. Many famous people have recovered from setbacks, Thomas thought. He remembered that Einstein had difficulty obtaining a teaching post before he went to graduate school. I may not be Einstein. I may not even be as talented as the founders of Einstein Brothers’ Bagels. Doc Brown’s dog Einstein in Back to the Future had resolve though, and so will I.
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