9:30 on a Saturday night, as I’m walking down fisherman’s wharf towards pier 39, I come across a store that was selling a colorful assortment of animal hats with long ear flaps that had small mitts at the end for the wearer to keep their hands snug in during the blisteringly cold San Francisco nights. Pandas, tigers, lions, foxes, bears, and virtually every other animal that could be made to look adorable enough for kids to annoy their parents for. Amidst approaching adulthood and facing decisions that will affect the rest of my life, the boy in me cried out for a bit of silly fun. But before I settled for the common animal hat that many people had, I wanted to walk along the long pier a little bit longer to see if any other stores had more flamboyant and unique hats. However, after walking nearly all the way to the end of pier 39, I found the same selection of hats in every store that I came across at the same exact price. I said to myself, this has got to be illegal! They’re price fixing! But then, at the end of the pier, I saw a bright neon mirage with an eerie glow that gave me the feeling that it would be different, that it would finally satisfy the now somewhat disheartened child in me. I walked in slowly, it was now 9:52, near closing time, and I desperately searched for that unique hat which I started to feel was nonexistent. I looked around and realized that no other people were in the store except for the cashier and me. After seeing the same mundane selection once again, I was ready to leave the store and go back to the apartment I was living in during my summer intern. However, one my way out, on a low shelf under some cliché San Francisco magnets, I spotted the object of my desires: a Scooby Doo Hat. The only unique hat within a 2 mile radius, I was sure of it. I walked home wearing the hat with dog ears and a goofy Scooby Doo face with a smug smile, admiring the clear night sky and the sounds of waves crashing as I walked home in the starlight. On the 3 mile walk home however, I began to think about the process through which I eventually bought such a unique hat. If I had stopped my earnest quest after being disappointed so many times by the banal stores, I would have never reached the end of the pier. It was on this long walk home that I realized it was my persistence and disregard of discouragement that has gotten me as far as I have throughout high school. After numerous unpromising practices for big tests and competitions and activities of the sort, I would eventually reach the pier at the end of the long path to reach my goals and beyond. However, just as any analogy eventually breaks down, so does mine. Unlike my trip to the store at the end of the pier, I don’t have to turn around once I reach one of my goals; I just keep moving forwards and focus on the other opportunities ahead of me.
July 5, 2011