Thursday, January 05, 2012

In Passing

Back in the early '90s, I'd been in and out of college for years. Partly for money reasons -- I often had to drop out and take a full-time campus job to survive -- but also because I had a Romantic childhood notion about what I'd thought was "The College Experience." I.e., a "Great Enlightening," both intellectually, spiritually, physically (via sensitive college-boy lovers and/or professors). As I slogged on through school, I began to realize that there was no "Great Enlightening" gonna come. It was all a myth, like there being no Santa!

And so I sat down and figured out exactly how many credit hours I needed to graduate, and then just did it. Just slogged it out just to say I'd gotten my degree.

Same thing with grad school. Even after the whole drab undergraduate experience, I STILL Romantically thought that my writing grad school would be different: In a different town, I'd meet people serious about writing; we'd all gather after class to talk about writing; etc. In San Francisco, I'd really have a "Great Enlightening" in every way! Nah. It was more slogging out. The students there didn't particularly care, the professors weren't profound. (Blatantly liking only the type of writing that THEY wrote or, worse, writing that fit their "theory" of writing. Famously, one gay male professor initially mocked me for saying I liked Norman Mailer. He then ignored me for the first couple of classes. Then I mentioned in a poem something about being gay... After that, I was his favorite. Same with a female professor who disliked my verbiage in my poems. One day, I went to the library to look up her own work -- extremely stripped down. So, for fun, I edited one of my poems to look and sound exactly like hers... After that, I was her favorite.) Just slogged this bullshit out to get my Master's degree and say I had one.

RE all of the above: What if marriage is exactly the same way?! You initially, as a kid, start out thinking being with someone should be some sort of "Great Enlightening"... and then you figure out that, no, it's not, but perhaps you should just do it... just to say you had, just to show you'd jumped through the appropriate hoops. Just to make your everyday social life a little easier.

I gave in and did with college what I didn't feel, just to say I'd done it. Got some satisfaction out of it at the end, just the fact that I had degrees. So maybe I should give in and just do "the couple thang" now with whoever, just to have someone to go to movies and cafes with? It won't feel exactly right to my soul, but I will, at the end, have someone intelligent to talk to and there will be some everyday social satisfaction and comfort out of it: Here I am, WITH someone! We're a couple! AND I have a Master's! :)

What a hit. Especially at holidays. OK Santa?

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