Thursday, September 29, 2005

I am the dog

"And even though I was having a great time and becoming a better writer, the truth was that the year I entered graduate school was the year I stopped making decisions that were appropriate for my situation and began making a rich person's decisions. Entering this graduate program was a rich person's decision. But it's hard to recognize that you're acting like a rich person when you're becoming increasingly poor."

"Like a social smoker whose supposedly endearing desire to emulate Marlene Dietrich has landed her in a cancer ward, I have recently woken up to the frightening fallout of my own romantic notions of life in the big city: I am completely over my head in debt. I have not made a life for myself in New York. I have purchased a life for myself."

--Meghan Daum, "My Misspent Youth"

Underneath her smiling book jacket photograph, it says, "She has recently moved from New York City to Nebraska."

And everyone I know keeps asking me what I plan to do when I finish school in May (except my boyfriend, who never mentions anything related to the future for fear of having another conversation about, erm, what is going to become of us). Depending on my stress level, these are my responses:
1. "I'm going to keep writing and sending my essays out. And then I will try to publish this -- dare I say the word? -- book."
2. "I'm going to get married and have a fat baby. Right, Rob? Rob?"
3. "I've always wanted to study reflexology."
4. "I'll keep teaching yoga and maybe I'll go back to grant writing."
5. "Temp?"
6. "I'm leaving New York as soon as I'm finished."
"Where are you going?"
"Either Mexico or Guatemala. Or London. Or Paris. Or Southern California. Or someplace else."

I am blessed not to have any student loans, indebted instead to the generosity of a deceased great-grandmother and parents who want, more than anything, for my sister and me to be happy. Robert and I have paid the rent for our apartment through May. I worked full-time during three years at NYU and have decided, now, other than teaching regular private yoga lessons, to give myself this time to write and read and sometimes write and read (and, admit it, do the Times crossword puzzles), in bed, all day, getting up to make mugs of tea and check my email and go to the gym. It's fabulous, particularly (and only) because I know that it won't last forever.

Last spring, Jo Ann asked us to write from the perspective of a dog in a truck. "A dog?"I thought. "I didn't come to graduate school to become a dog." (Didn't I, though? And a very pampered one at that.) But this morning, zipping north on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, my windows rolled down and the wind whipping my hair into a thousand fuck-knots, I got it. "I am the dog," I thought. "I am that kind of happy."


Anonymous camille said...

I am currently a dog in a hot car with the windows only slightly cracked. I see my owner paying the sales girl and heading back to the truck. My tongue will wag when he gets close enough to see me. Patience now....

10:07 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Camille, you are hilarious. Everything you write -- I can hear it in your voice. I can't think of any reason you would come back here and read this but I'm on the floor again. (you know, rolling around.)

5:32 PM  

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