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Snooping Around

(For Meaning)

If you are anything like me, the sight of the bathroom Hana, Angie, and I share could prompt an episode. But, if you are anything like me, you will also understand why it hasn’t.

I am obsessive about my space--I wouldn’t call myself neurotic, but if you did I would probably agree. Labels are funny that way.

Anyway, the bathroom. Messy doesn’t do it justice; perplexing is more appropriate. Picture a bizarre set of objects strewn over a three-by-five-foot shoebox. Take that image, amp up the weirdness, and shrink the size…and you should be pretty close to the real thing. Something about it reminds me of little notes stuck to a refrigerator with magnets--I can understand why they’re there…but isn’t there a better place?

When was the last time a Von Elrod’s stein sat on the rim of your sink? Has an orange and yellow sippy cup ever leaned against your mirror--so relaxed it might as well cross its arms and rest its legs? Lest I forget the plastic cup that escaped the dining hall to serve its true purpose: cradling Angie’s favorite stick. How do these things get here? When? Why?

I used to try to clear the ledge of the mirror but ultimately chose to embrace its peculiarity. No object was ever necessarily noteworthy…until the book. I noticed it a few weeks ago and wondered about it more than I probably should have. When I asked Angie what The Philosophy of Snoopy was doing on the toilet tank, she shrugged casually.

“It’s a toilet book…obviously.”

Obviously. But, as the two Vanderbilt years between me and the Scary Real World wane by the day, little feels obvious to me. Attempting to envision where I will be in those two years only makes my future more obscure. So, while I will admit it wasn’t on the toilet, today I searched for some Snoopy wisdom. And, in the silly children’s book from the silly bathroom my silly friends and I share, I found a serious answer.

There is a cartoon where Snoopy sits atop his roof and stares at the sky. “I search the skies, but I can find no meaning,” he says.

When Charlie Brown comes over, Snoopy lunges at him. “Ah! Meaning!!”

For a moment, I think that I am Snoopy.

I read, write, apply for jobs, dream about my future, work hard, stare into the sky…all in search of That Mysterious Thing an imaginary dog managed to put his finger on before me. Meaning. But it is the two Charlie Browns with whom I live and our beautifully ordinary Disaster Of A Bathroom that tell me I’ve found it.

In such a nuanced life, this much is clear to me: relationships will bring us more satisfaction than any job, house, grade, victory, or spotless bathroom. I remember my dad telling me this over the summer, but now I understand. It is when we cultivate, mend, prioritize, and cherish our relationships that we will find the most meaning of all.

Though I can’t promise to never stress about all the Little Things, I think that I will never confuse them for The Big Thing again. That’s what Snoopy taught me today.


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