Well since I haven't posted anything in a while and I'm too lazy to write something, here is a college essay that I am not going to use. It received a B+ in English class, but none the less it is an interesting read:
According to the Buddhist monk Thick Nhat Hanh, "Life is almost always bearable moment to moment - it is the anticipating and remembering that are really painful." While this is true, Hanh neglects to mention that good experiences also create vivid memories. I experienced both on my cross-country bicycle trip while riding from Alamo, Georgia to Cordele, Georgia with a group of fellow bikers.
While staying at a Baptist church in Alamo, I met an evangelical minister who was preaching about hell and damnation. He kept asking me if I truly accepted Jesus in my heart, and whether I would go to heaven or hell if I died the next day. He fervently reminded me that death could come at any moment, whether from a lightning strike a sudden illness or a car accident. Being an atheist and not wanting to appear rude, I ended the conversation as quickly as possible. At the age of seventeen, death seemed so distant, if not impossible. Nevertheless, the preachers words haunted my thoughts whenever a car whizzed by the next day. I like to think of myself as a rational person, and although I knew that the chances of being hit by a car were slim I could not shrug off the thought. The unpredictability and uncontrollability of being hit deeply bothered me.
I had my meeting with destiny later that day on a stretch of route 280 outside of Cordele. While coming to a sudden stop going down a hill, I slammed on my breaks a little too late. My bike skidded into the bike in front of me. I quickly unclipped my left foot and broke my fall but I still fell into the road as I heard a screech behind me. Although I was in a calm mood, the other bikers were staring at me in shock. I turned to see that a red pickup truck had stopped inches from my head. I shrugged off the incident and after a short break continued biking. As I reflected on it however, the incident seemed more and more terrifying. It had been a matter of inches. What if the driver had reacted slower? What if he had been intoxicated or sleepy? As I relived the event in my memory, the truck seemed enormous, blocking out the view of the horizon with its red bulk as I looked over my shoulder and the hideous screech amplified a thousand times reverberated down my spine. I envisioned the tires sliding over my body and splattering my guts across the black Georgian asphalt. My stomach began to summersault as we finished the last several miles of the ride. Suddenly the words of the evangelical preacher seemed all to true.
I felt so sick that all I wanted to do is lie down and then go home. Although I am an extremely determined person and hate quitting, the task of biking another 2900 miles seem insurmountable and too dangerous. Luckily good memories have as lasting an impact as bad. In Cordele we were greeted by the deputy sheriff and associate pastor affectionately called "Bro Ronnie." His cheerful and friendly mood permanently changed my outlook and gave me the will to continue. He welcomed us with literally open arms, drove us to the high school to shower, and gave us a tour of the fruit market of Cordele, watermelon capital of the world. He even introduced us to his family and spent the night entertaining us with his stories and laughter. I still laugh when I recall "Bro Ronnie" describing opossums in his cheerful southern drawl. Although the memory of my near death experience would haunt me for the rest of the trip, I will always look back on that day with fond memories.