Eleventh grade. I’m at a school event, it’s called College Day or something like that. Representatives of universities from all over have gathered at International School Bangkok (quite an effort!) to sell their schools and recruit students. Each school has a booth, or rather, a classroom you can walk into and they’ll tell you about their school and give you a fancy catalog and you can ask questions.

None of them seem very interesting. M.I.T. maybe, but there are a lot of people in the room and I already know that if I really want to get a feel for the place I’ll have to visit.

Information overload. I’m tired of reading, listening, smiling, and walking. Hey, look!–there’s food laid out in the school lobby. Long tables with white paper over them. Bowls and trays of stuff–or, there used to be. Apparently I’m behind the curve on this one. Most of the food is gone. On the far table there is a big white plate that used to have a pile of chocolate-chip cookies on it. Now there is exactly one.

That’s what I want. That’s the answer to my sickness. That’s what will lift away the colossal burden of my weary life: that one cookie. I make a beeline for the table, carefully threading my way between tables, chairs, and conversational groups. As I lift the cookie from the plate, a woman much older and taller than I am speaks to me. She is standing right next to me, but I had not noticed her there before. She says, laughing, “You almost bowled me over, trying to get that last cookie!”