Wednesday, February 27, 2008

the same boat


Reading your post makes me want to laugh in that evil way that people laugh when others share their misery - so apologies in advance if you hear my cackles come rumbling 'cross the Pacific. We have both been cursed with this thing called an English degree...and let me tell you something: people think this means we don't have skills. But I am here to tell you that we have mad skills. That we are the best people in the world at what we do (none better, for damn sure).

(Un?)fortunately, we possess the unfailing ability to maximize our grades and minimize our effort. Or: we are the best nominees for getting drunk instead of going to class...for producing enlightening discussion and insightful essays without doing the assigned reading...for passing classes any ordinary mortal in our position would have given up on after the midterm. We are the elite slackers of the academic world. And I, for one, am damn proud.

Not that this speaks to our hireability. As we can both attest to.

I was actually just thinking about this. Ste's pretty much given up on passing his geology lab midterm, having slept through 1/3 of the actual labs already. And I was thinking, damn, studying my ass off for a week and passing a geology midterm against all odds and expectations seems like just the kind of challenge I would have welcomed in my undergrad days (those good old Long Island days!). It would be like my own personal version of an 80s movie montage...Van Halen blaring in the background, the camera would fade from one shot to another as I absorbed all of the information I could about different kinds of rocks from my book, from the internet, museums...and it would end in a tense scene where I'm in the lab, handling rocks I've never seen before in my life but recognize, a memorized fact buried somewhere in my overcrowded and impressively large brain. I silently mouth their names as the fingers on my left hand slip over the surfaces of the rocks and the fingers on my right hand scribble feverishly what I already know are all the correct answers in my little blue book. It's hardly a surprise when the grades go up the next week and I didn't get a single one wrong.

Or: I'm going stir crazy shut up in this room with no job and no prospects. I'm ticking off the days until grad school with an increasingly trembling hand.

So really, what do I think you should do? What I think you'd be great at? Translating the written word. You told me once you take your time speaking because you want to be understood. I have always admired you for that. (Being, as I am, one of those people who says as many things as possible in the hope that some of it will make sense. Whatever, it's my trademark.) I see you spending hours poring over the same few lines of text until the translation is just so, losing none of its poetry nor narrative meaning. I am reminded of the twisting maze of essay fragments color-coded and taped to your bedroom wall. Are there any publishing companies operating out of Osaka?

Things continue as they have been here. I hate money, so I get a little confused about why I want it so much. The need for a job grows greater all the time, and the prospects just seem to get bleaker with each day that goes by without a response to the dozens of resumes I send out. I am also, I believe, developing a slowly simmering loathing for the television, in the way that one comes to loathe an inoperable brain aneurysm, simply because there is no escape.

Keep your chin up,


No comments: