Monday, March 23, 2009

Post #1400

Wow. That number is either impressive or depressing; I can't decide. That's how I feel about most things these days. Some mornings I wake up in a cold sweat imagining that I'll have to arrive at my Swarthmore five year reunion with nothing to show for myself but a ring on my finger.

I'll have stories to tell, God knows, some of which will appear in my upcoming book Never Marry a Short Woman: Narratives by ester, featuring the one where the priest died at the wedding, the one about being left in a coffee shop in Amsterdam at closing time with no money to pay the bill, and the one about how I lost my first job in New York because I was taken to the ER with a kidney infection.

Ha ha ha!, everyone will say. What delightful anecdotes you have, you pointless but amusing little sprite who got married at 25 (isn't that sweet). Have you heard about my advanced degrees and how I am living in a third-world country making my own tofu and biking around digging wells to provide indigenous people with safe drinking water?

They will present me with a copy of their prize-winning thesis and I will bow my head in submission before retiring to a hidden spot under one of the many labeled trees to read it, weep tears of envy, and shield my inferiority from their eyes.

"You know, you don't have to go," my mother pointed out. "The people who attend are a self-selected group of those who have something they want to brag about." True, O king, but to *not* go out of fear would be the real failure. The coward dies a thousand times before his death; the valiant only ever tastes of death but once, or so said some guy I once met at a bar.

Better to face up to my accomplishments, or lack thereof, with good humor. Also it would be good to stop comparing myself to other people, like my brother, who was sworn into the NY State bar yesterday, and my dearfriend Tamar who "matched" this week into her first-choice for residency, and the myriad other successful folks I feel I am surrounded by. Excelsior, my lovelies! Onwards and upwards! Don't worry about me; I'll always have Jesus.

My mother the brigadier general was here for three days to organize our initial packing-and-moving effort into the new place. Paid movers will be coming next weekend but we got a huge amount done in advance with the help of a small volunteer army. Maybe once I'm done being obsessed with boxes'n'bins and bubble wrap and tape I'll feel better about everything, because stability really does tend to help.

It would also help if some publisher realized that my poor little novel is NOT a satire. If it needs a label, call it a koala, okay? Publish it and put it in the koala section and I will kiss your feet.

8 comments:

Rebecca said...

People can go to reunion for reasons other than just bragging. Are there people you want to see? Make sure they're going and only talk to them. That's basically what I did. Plus, everyone feels inferior and like they have accomplished nothing. You can all just joke about it.

ester said...

yeah but you HAVE accomplishments and you would intimidate the hell out of any snot-nosed do-gooder all fresh-faced from improving lives in a developing country. no one would write you off as a yet another mainstream heterosexual.

Anonymous said...

god, is the reunion this year? oy.

well if i'm there i will hide in the shade of those trees with you and nickname my fists "mainstream" and "heterosexual" and then if anyone tries to call you that we will say "oh, would you like to be introduced?"

xoxoxo.
stef

procrastsensation said...

You girls are funny and sad.

I'm tempted to go to my two-year reunion to laugh and point. But if I did, the conversations would go like this:

former classmate: So, Eva, what have you been doing with yourself?
Me: I'm a freelance writer.
former classmate: Cool! When was the last time you had something published?
Me: Uhhhhh .... (mumbles something about "stock market crash" and "Chinese milk scandal," then hides in one of the Lodge basements for the rest of the weekend.)

Stephen Byerley said...

I more or less concur with Rebecca. Go to your reunion because you want to see your friends (and because your friends want to see you). It's not as much of a shag 'n' brag as you might think--at least, not if you hang out with the people who are there to reunite with friends, not to shag and brag.

Secondly, I expect that most people will be more interested in your many stories than in the one insufferable jerk with the advanced degrees living in the third world country, etc. Besides, you can feel superior to all the frat boys who went into finance.

I can (and at times do) sum up my life since graduation in 5 words: "Married. Still in grad school." No one at my reunion was surprised by the first word--and none of my non-mainstream, non-heterosexual friends seemed to mind--and I had plenty of company with the other four.

Also: you've written a fucking novel. Put that in your pipe and smoke it with your tofu.

bec said...

some guy from my graduating high school class just won jeopardy!'s tournament of champions. who can compete with that??

sorelle said...

but you have to come because i want to see you! just don't hang out with anyone else... (;

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