Friday, May 8, 2009

A Wasted Life

I reached a milestone last week. I finally finished my B.A. degree. All (1) of you who’ve followed my column over the past three years (I know you’re out there, Mom. Mom…?) can now breathe a sigh of relief.

You no longer have to hear me whine about grades. Midterms. Finals. And the irreversible gain of the Freshman 15. (I put on 15 pounds every time I changed majors. Not good when you’ve majored in everything from premed to watercolor painting.)

In the end I settled on a major in Talking. The school guidance counselor was intent on the idea. (I have no idea why.) He was even tricky about it. He told me I would graduate with a broad education in the field of “communications”.

Which as you can imagine sells really well. Especially during a recession.

I’m grateful to have the support of my family and friends during this economically and emotionally depressed time for me. They ask caring questions like:

• When are you going to get a real job?
• What time does the Young and the Restless come on? (We know you must
have the T.V. Guide memorized by now.)
• Have you ever thought of going back to school?

They have a point. I could go back to school. But there’s a huge part of me that wants to believe the last four years were not a waste.

So I practice. I figure if someone’s going to hire me, it will be because I am proficient in my field.

I talk when my husband’s home. I talk when he’s at work. I talk to the mailman. I talk to the mailbox.

Yesterday, however, I made the mistake of talking to Aunt Agatha. Things were going well until she interrupted me with a life-shattering question:

“Do you EVER shut up?”

All of the sudden I realized: Who was I kidding? Who would ever pay me to talk? Who would ever pay me to do anything? The last four years were a complete waste.

Depressed and alone, I wandered into the grocery store. For once, I didn’t feel like talking. Apparently the store manager did.

“Are you OK, ma’am?” He asked. “You look like you need a listening ear.”

He began to ask questions and I began to talk. Tears rolled down my face as I told him about my wasted life. My wasted money. My dog named Pip.

The more I talked, the more distressed he looked. His eyes bugged. Little beads of sweat popped out of his forehead.

”Ma’am,” he finally said, “I’m really sorry, but I just can’t listen anymore. If I give you $5, will you shut up?”

Aha, I thought. I might just make money from this education after all.

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I know all about waiting--for the right guy, for high school to end, for my boobs to come in (two out of three ain't bad).

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