It is a beautiful fucking day outside, and I’m stuck in the Science Library. I can’t think at the moment, and am in too much of the rushrushrush adrenaline mode of the past few days to accomplish anything. So instead of thinking critically, I’ll synthesize.
I swear, I totally meant to go to class on Monday. After not working the entire weekend, getting gloriously sunburt at the soccer game on Sunday, and taking waaay too long to recover from the debauchery of Friday’s Spanish Thesis Party, Monday morning was a kick in the ass. Schoenherr, the second reader, told me in no uncertain terms that all of the semiotic theory in my thesis was “wrong;” true, most of that wrongness is centered on my inversion and confusion of three definitions, but it’s still something that HAS to be fixed. After that super-fun hour and a half long meeting, I realized that I’d missed the first part of my class at Bryn Mawr, and since I’d skipped the screening on Friday I figured what the fuck, I’ll skip the discussion.
On my way back to the apartment, I checked my mail to find the mysterious Teach for America packet that everyone had already received last Thursday. In it I find that I’ve missed the financial aid deadline, because they didn’t get me the information in time. Now thoroughly freaking out, and not being able to formulate coherent thoughts, I read incredulously through the documentation in the packet, made it to my bed and proceded to dehydrate myself thoroughly. By the time I composed myself, it was past time for English, and I hadn’t packed for my trip home. Ooops. No English. Luckily, D. called in the midst of my discomposure and suggested that Starbucks might serve for a distraction before I headed out. Frappuccinos, here we come.
After that, I was on the road. There’s something very meditative about long car trips, even if they do numb your rear. Not really feeling like listening to outside thoughts, I turned off the radio and rolled the window down all the way to get some fresh air, literally and figuratively. For about 3 hours, I listened to nothing but the sound of wind rushing in at 65 mph (70 on the Delaware Turnpike). I needed that time to be by myself and think about the decisions that I have to make in the next week. Who am I kidding? The next three days. All was relatively well until I hit the MD-DE state line and checked my voicemail.
TFA called twice, CHC called twice, and so did my confused parents, whom I had not informed of my plans. I finally got my lesson plan that I was to “teach” [in quotation marks, because i’m not going to convince myself that the kids in Spanish 3 learned a hell of a lot from my 55 minutes of grammatical hell: the past perfect subjunctive tense in “if” clauses. WTF, man. WTF?]. My ex-Spanish teacher kept me on the phone for a half an hour with teacher gossip and the new curriculum, despite my protests of “I have to keep driving” and “I’m really tired.” So much for honesty.
Circa 8:00 pm my dry, itchy, salty eyes started to glaze over, and I conveniently spent 10 of the $15 I needed to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel on dinner. Oops. Then, at 9:00 I couldn’t find a 1. working 2. open 3. non-sketchy ATM. Ended up negotiating with some skeptical Indian guys running a Citgo right before the bridge, and got my 10 clams at last, just in time to get me home before 11:00. Fuckin’ a, my interview STARTED at 8:00 the next morning.
Running on empty, as far as sleep goes, I show up at Cape Henry in my suit, ready to be professsional. I met with next year’s Upper School Director, followed by the following people, in one-on-one 45 minute segments:
1. Upper School Guidance Counselor (the bane of my existence Junior year; how quaint that she hasn’t changed at all, and remains thoroughly condescending)
2. 10th Grade Spanish 3
3. Another Spanish teacher
4. Head of Facilities and Maintenance
5. Current Head of Upper School
6. Head of School
7. Upper School Dean, Upper School Activities Director
8. Athletic Director
9. Head of Foreign Language Department
10. Next Year’s Upper School Director
11. New-Faculty Coordinator/5th Grade Math Teacher
12. Student Panel
Are you kidding? By the time 3:30 rolled around, I was about interviewed out. I had a 25 minute break for lunch, and apart from that it was all questions, all the time. It’s a hell of a good thing that Mrs. Ulmer was there to de-brief me for a while afterwards; there is something absolutely invaluable in someone you can trust to speak to you with honesty and candor, not to mention someone who really ‘knows’ you.
I drove home with a burning afternoon sun coming through the window of the poor, overworked van, listening to some fucking Clear Channel country station As American As Apple Pie. Does anyone else find that a little offensive, when the next set consisted of three songs about the United States Armed Forces? Needless to say, the “American Soldier” was portrayed rather heroically. I know it’s a military town, I know Bush controlls Clear Channel, but what the fuck ever happened to the voice of dissent? How did it get crushed out of Hampton Roads?
I brought my own music for the long drive north on Wednesday morning, knowing that it would be a long one. I got through the first tunnel fine, and as I came back up over the ocean, drove right smack into a fog bank. The glowing reflection of the rising sun over the water dimmed to a faint yellow, and the entire world disapeared. I couldn’t see where I was going, hardly knew which way to turn, and could only find the tunnel because of the flashing lights at its mouth. How appropriately metaphoric. I’ve never been in a fog that thick; all I could make out was maybe 1/4 mile in front of me, 2.5 streetlights. In spite of all the obscurity and uncertainty, I wasn’t scared. I know the bridge, I’ve driven it before, so the fog was almost calming. I listened to Ella Fitzgerald croon away for a while, sailed by Fisherman’s Island without even seeing the dunes around me, laughed at the “Scenic Overlook” sign that I could barely make out in the soup-eyness, and just drove on. By the time I reached Maryland it was refreshingly cool outside, and I’d switched back to country music to keep me awake and alert. Arrived at Haverford in record time, with an hour to spare, during which I finished my English reading at last.
Rushed off to glass in Philly, during which my teacher told me to “quit your day job and become a glassblower” which perversely made my day. He also convinced me to look seriously into summer classes, which I think I’m going to do, because I’m addicted =). Did absolutely no work on the Thesis all Wednesday, and am trying to rectify said catastrophe, along with 2. the financial aid mix-up and 3. DECIDING MY JOB FOR NEXT YEAR in the next 12 hours. Ha.
I’ve heard a lot of things from a lot of people, and the funny thing is that when I finally decide to tune them out listen to the clamor in my own messed up head, I find myself saying a lot of the same things. But I guess you’ve got to come to a decision yourself. As the sage LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow says: “Don’t take my word for it…”
The decision is still pending, as is the Thesis, but at least I’m not in quite as much of a fog now. I’m starting to think clearly, and if nothing else, am able to methodically quantify the work that must be done before Tuesday. One day at at time, Thea; don’t worry so much if you can’t see the rest of the bridge right now, but you’ve GOT to get yourself to the other end of it somehow.