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like flowers (triple password)
Thursday. 4.9.15 2:32 am
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innocence and ice cream
Thursday. 3.26.15 9:37 pm

In my lit class, we're talking about the loss of innocence in a novel written in Spain (since calling it a Spanish novel tends to confuse--there's a difference between Spanish and hispanic, and this novel is both). Our professor tells us that we have to remember that the narrator was eleven at the start of the (Spanish Civil) war, and that her life is hard to conceptualize without having lived it.

When did the US go to war, again?

When we were...eleven?

Adults forget. I was in my fourth grade classroom, one desk away from the teacher's desk, when someone came to the classroom and told her to turn on the news.

And look, yes, wars these days are different, more isolated to those fighting it, but we do know financial instability. We know prejudice, we know insecurity. We've been at war almost as far back as I have memories, and it does change who we are; I've never known this country as a prosperous place of opportunities; I've known news reports on unemployment and my dad's tight expression as we talk financial aid.

But I digress.

Having left class, for the day, I walked down the main campus stretch and heard, oddly enough, an ice cream truck. They know we're a college campus, no ice cream trucks usually drive this way, so the music stopped my mind dead in its tracks for a few seconds, as I tried to process exactly what was going on. The juxtaposition of the representation of two very different lives--that from our respective childhoods, and that of our college selves--seemed to take everyone by surprise. I watched it dawn on several different people, and, on each of them, there was this strange, dreamlike expression on their faces--like when you hear the voice of someone you once loved across the room, after years of distance and healing. Their eyes were warm and seeing but not seeing, kind of...far off. An ice cream truck. Running for money to the sound of that incredibly stupid music, inflatable pools, sprinklers, the stable middle class! The security of ignorance that comes with youth.

It's strange to read about the loss of innocence, because it's something we've all experienced so recently, in so many different ways. Growing up is a strange and gradual sensation, although there are certain markers, throughout time, that will stand out as major "adult" challenges. We all talk about the novel like it's second-nature, because it's so close to what we know in our own lives, despite the fact that the novel is about a fourteen-year-old girl in 1930s Spain. It's oddly visceral.

An ice cream truck on campus, though. Such odd timing.

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surprise trust fall (my usual password)
Thursday. 3.19.15 2:23 am
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a creamy white graduation dress
Tuesday. 3.17.15 2:25 am
"A" unlocks the door and we enter the gym, after hours, because that's the time when we have the most unhindered access to the equipment, and the owners prefer it that way. She's armed with an old university bag that I wish I'd bought, instead of her, since I would have given it the love it deserves at the beach, or on picnics, rather than using it to tote dirty rags and toilet bowl gel, but that's neither here nor there. She puts on music, and I spray down the showers and fill the toilet bowls with gel.

It's 8pm on a Wednesday.

The thing about the college experience is that it's increasingly un-pretty, as the current state of the economy makes itself more and more apparent in both college students and their parents. I should be doing homework and eating a small snack before curling up with my knitting and an episode of Buffy (because that's the college dream, right?), but, instead, I'm throwing shower curtains into the washing machine with a scoop of whitening OxyClean (a new favorite of mine--smells great and gets mold out) and buffing sweat stains out of gym mirrors.

I don't have any illusions about not having to work for what I want, but I also don't think it's incredibly entitled of me to have expected the same college experience that my brother had had, a decade prior. We're family, after all, and circumstances shouldn't have changed, so much, in the past ten years...but, of course, they did, and here I am with callused hands from wielding the old-fashioned (but still effective in large areas) janitor's mop, grinning and bearing it when a trainer in for a late session brings down one of my just-cleaned rowers for a client, rather than having her use the other half of the room, which I have yet to touch.

(I don't think we should be exempt from the respect of someone asking, "Hey, any preference to which rower we use?" I don't think that it's worthy of shame that we're working our way through college debt.)

When I tell people that I'm an independent contract housekeeper, and that I do gyms currently but am also happy to work on houses, hotels, et cetera (I tell them, "I go where the wind takes me," to be ironic), they seem confused, because I don't seem like I'm struggling--and, really, that's the key. I want nothing more than to continue flying under the radar and to seem like that impromptu dinner after a meeting didn't put a dent in my summer class fund, which has nearly reached 65% of my bill--like I'm just working for the extra spending money. Once people know, it's free meals for me and a free pat on the back for themselves, and I'm not willing to trade one for the other. Sandwiches and black beans by the $0.67 bag are fine by me, so long as I don't have to hear about your poor cousin, or the time in your life when your family faced some minor hardship, or about how you think struggling financially is enriching, for Christ's sake.

Making someone think and talk about it even more than they already think (worry) about it isn't worth your shitty charity burrito at Moe's.

Today, I received a nomination for one of several school-wide awards--very posh, very expensive to throw. It arrived in the form of a shiny, cream-white invitation, which was folded intricately and placed into its matching envelope, sealed with a white, flower-embossed sticker. They used my full, formal name, and they even used the words, "Reception will follow." The envelope was the same milky, creamy texture as the $20 shampoo the gym stocks in its showers, and I was suddenly reminded that those would need filling, that night.

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