Reflection by Saheel
 
 

I met Ben during orientation week at Rice, and my first impression was that I am not going to be friends with this guy.  You see, Ben was a big, bouncy, energetic guy, and I was much more reserved.  We were in the same O-week group, and within that week and the several weeks after, I learned that I was wrong; we actually had a lot more in common than I had thought.  We grew to be really close friends throughout our four years at Rice, and have maintained that friendship after graduating.  


What made Ben really great to me is that he was able to live in the moment and turn ordinary situations into amazing and memorable ones.  We once went to the Experience Music Project in Seattle, which is a large museum about music.  They have a soundproof room with a bunch of instruments, and they allow you to go in there and jam.  We jammed so hard and loud, that after we left they chased us down and gave us a poster (see picture above).  The museum guy said that he had never heard anyone outside the soundproof room with the doors closed, until us.  That was the origin of our talentless band "The What".


Another story is that Ben used to work at the Cohen House, the faculty kitchen.  One day he brought a flower arrangement from the Cohen House to our dorm room (we were roommates our junior year).  I came back to the room after raas practice (an Indian dance involving sticks) and so had a stick in my hand.  For some reason I felt compelled to hit a rose bud with my stick, after which the petals went flying and then drifted down beautifully.  Ben recognized my enjoyment in destroying his flowers, and instead of being upset with me, he proceeded to help me demolish the rest of it!  


Ben had a great ability to encourage me to do things I would not normally do, by making me feel comfortable and confident.  He encouraged me to become a DJ at KTRU, which is something I never would have seen myself doing, and is also something I immensely enjoyed.  We played on the Weiss flag football team together, worked out, and he encouraged me in running a marathon a few years after Rice.  Even though I ran a fraction of the amount he has run, and at a slower pace, he still made me feel like I was a champ.  


Another trait I valued in Ben is that he was a good listener.  We had different religious and political views, but he always listened to what I was saying and discussed the topic respectfully.  That is a rare quality to find, especially when discussing these types of matters.  Some of my greatest college memories involve wasting away hours just hanging out with Ben and Kristin.  


When I remember my time at Rice, I have very fond memories, largely due to Ben.  He was a best friend, and an inspiration.  I will never forget him and I hope to continue to be inspired by him, by pushing myself physically and mentally, and by remembering to live in the present and make the most of any situation.