“I want to get out of here,” she says as she devours her beloved hummus. And me? I am praising my plantains. I say nothing. What is she hurrying towards, I wonder. She is going to graduate school. Her decision is made, nailed down. Today she left for an interview in Arizona. She’s a smart cookie, she’ll do well.
My superfluous encouragements notwithstanding, there is no envy here. Only a few resolutions. I know less what I want to be than what I want not to be. One of my reinforced decrees: I am boycotting grad school. I want to be one of those crazy escapists who stand against academic inflation with iron legs. We are a small crowd, I suspect. This cause is doomed to begin with, quixotic like some artistic statement. Like sympathizing with Humbert Humbert, yes, as risque as that. Do you hear me, Bill? Humbert Humbert has my vote. No – shut up. I don’t care if she was 12...
I had to write about my revolt against career patterning because today I discovered the hand-outs that Mi Amor (forgive me, your moniker is so apt that I could not find another to supersede it) has left me. A resume, a list with questions commonly asked at job interviews, another mumbojumbo sheet with what to wear, what color of folder to have and other such rigmarole. I have also been scheduled a meeting, it seems, with our career advisor, who in the past has failed to reply to my e-mails and fulfill the promises that she herself, without my request, has made. I must come up with innovative ways to elude the encounter with this fickle character, of whose helpfulness I am sincerely skeptical. How do I wedge myself in these situations where I am surrounded by people who want to help me against my will, I don’t know.
And then, how do you explain to somebody who leaves you half a pound of brochures meant to enlighten you in your professional crusade that you don’t give a crap about all that. That Corporate America is as attractive to you as fried cockroaches. That – slap me – your type is more that of the freelancer, which is the fancy word for an artist, itinerant, hippie, hobo, that sort of thing. Maybe I can afford such arrogance because I am good with computers. After all, the nerd stereotype is the Google guy in Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops who saunters in and out of angular buildings as he pleases. What a joke, no? Everybody knows that I detest flip-flops. But that Google-guy archetype is not so objectionable, I think. Not at all. To Mi Amor, I am sure, it is anathema. I will tell her tomorrow to test the reaction. I will bring a glass of water too.
Making plans, how onerous a project. Can’t I just go with the flow? If I could only find the water on this parched soil of promised land where foreigners are, suddenly, persona non grata. We have had enough fun with this full ride, it has been decided, it’s time for us to slide off the toboggan and make room for the local variety of achievement. It’s a shame that achievement is not endemic to this place where I drag my days. In any case, my days here are numbered. They are the color of anemia, of sedate boring colors, probably the color of the folder I will be carrying when I present myself in my solemn deux-pieces for an interview to be a bean-counter. In the meantime, I am going with the flow, the imaginary stream that separates the worthwhile from the pedestrian.
This Starbucks is all reggae today, Bob Marley and the Wailers, what a nice memento for sunsets with sand, waves and Shaorma. Shake it off, quickly. Better not dig up the switch for nostalgia. Presently I must leap onto my Pegasus and propel myself back to the temple. And, like much of my existence, the ride is all uphill.