Today I went to the student lounge an hour before class and sat down with my 14 page print out of a George Saunders piece to read for homework. I always wait til the last minute to do my homework. Even if it’s a thousand word article, I only allocate about two hours of my time and I just shit something out. It’s not anything to be proud of.
Last week, I stayed after and talked to my professor for about a half hour. I met with her ostensibly to talk about whether or not I should go to graduate school (the looming Big Decision of the moment), but the conversation became about my insecurities with regard to writing and eventually my confusion about my life in general. I cried. She told me I was one of the best students she’s ever had, that I had a real talent that can’t be taught. I cried again.
So anyway, I read this George Saunders piece and I was remembering what she told me about the humor in my writing and how my pacing is awesome and all this crap that made me feel really good. I mean, the smartest person I’ve ever heard talk, a woman who exemplifies the kind of person, not just the kind of mind, but the kind of person I want to be, was complimenting me.
I finished the piece a few minutes before class and stood up to leave the lounge. I was flying high. “I’m special. A real talent. My mind is incredible.” I rose from my chair and looked out on all the other students for a moment as I turned to the door. “Idiots. Simpletons. Dunces,” I scoffed in my inner monologue.
Then a girl held the door open for me. And she smiled.
Today my professor had us write in-class profiles of classmates. This is the stuff of nightmares. This assignment had me searching my pencil case for my prescription bottle of anxiety meds.
I was paired with a guy named Kevin who I got to open up about his life a little despite me never having heard him talk once before. He told me about his childhood, a funny story of false bravado, his job, his pet peeves, his family, his girlfriend, his hopes and dreams. I wrote a pretty nice piece about him despite the time crunch.
When his turn came to interview me, he asked me like four things with no follow up questions. He made me feel like the least interesting person in the world!
He could only write like 40 words about me. I wrote 600 about him. Dammit, Kevin.
I read a thing about Native American flutes in the shape of a birds head, supposedly embedded with the power to lure a woman into bed with a man. If this seems far fetched, please look at any guitar player and how any woman looks at a guitar player.
“One of the first items sold on [eBay] was a broken laser pointer for $14.83. Astonished, Omidyar contacted the winning bidder to ask if he understood that the laser pointer was broken. In his responding email, the buyer explained: ‘I’m a collector of broken laser pointers.’”—eBay - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (via thenotes)
I love the idea of Hawaiian shirts, and that they’ve become a genre of their own, and how they shouldn’t be so common but they’re everywhere, they’re ubiquitous, they’re whole sections of certain thrift stores, cheerfully acknowledging cultural appropriation in a sloppy way, like when I say to the cooks at work, “no cebolla” even though they know the word onion, they obviously work in a kitchen
Now join me as we mourn forehead sweat that makes your bangs look terrible, legs that you thought were shaven but in the light appear to be very, very stubbly, sailing lessons rescheduled ad nauseum, boyfriends traveling the world and the persistent hum of in-window air conditioning units.
These things aren’t bad things nor good things, they’re just things. They’re fact. They’re what happens when children get to live alone and accrue bills and choose how to pay for the things in their lives.
They give way to the all too fetishized fall, the leaves, the scarves, the cardigans, god forbid I forget the pumpkin spiced latte’s, the school supplies, the boots, the tights, the vague feeling of promise and a clean slate without the pressure of New Year’s.
These things aren’t bad things nor good things, they’re just things. They’re the same as the summer things. You can change the season but your gut is going to look the same in a two piece as it does a cowl-neck sweater and your existential dread is going to see the same sadness in a dead tree as it does in hot weather crime statistics.