Autumn brims with pleasant associations for me. It is home to Halloween – my favorite holiday – and the prelude to Christmas and my birthday, the next-best holidays (yes, my birthday is a holiday. Unobserved by the government, but deal with it. And send me gifts). Thanksgiving is nice because of the four-day weekend and excuse to eat copious amounts of pumpkin pie, and Labor Day rounds it all out with basically a Monday off of work, otherwise known as a day of blissfully not getting out of my pj’s.
But the best part of autumn has always been BACK TO SCHOOL!!!
In case you missed it, that was your cue to stab me in the eye with a pencil.
Now, you all know I am not a parent, and I am no longer a student either. But I was a student for the last ten years and I miss it terribly. I was good at it. I loved it. You’d have to love it to not mind consistently producing thick research papers and missing plenty of Halloweens while combing the MLA database for supporting documentation over the span of a decade. So many bad B-horror films I could have been watching! What a sacrifice.
This will be my second fall without looking forward to classes with such titles as “Shakespeare: Gender, Love and Sexuality,” “Victorian Literature: Empire, Exploration and the Other,” and the pièce de résistance, “Seminar in Romantic Literature: The Works of Jane Austen.” Last year I was okay, since I had the whole wedding thing keeping me busy. This year is harder. In the year since I’ve graduated and am no longer exposed to high daily levels of educated thought and the arts in general, I swear my I.Q. level has dropped significantly and my soul cringes as a reflex.
Can you hear that? The sound of it shriveling up and dying?
Like any self-proclaimed perpetual student, I love the sight of students hustling to class in their scarves and coats (or in this weather, shorts and flip-flops), books tucked to their chests and sagging black pits under their eyes. I love the smell of the student bookstore and the thrill of finding the lowest-priced used textbook, then proceeding to beat down the four people in front of me so I can grab the last copy. I love settling in a torturously uncomfortable desk while an intellectual discussion on READING takes place for the ensuing hour-and-a-half. READING! I love that Frankenstein was a required text for class. Twice.
I am forever ruined. Here is a screenshot of me “goofing off” last week:
Yes, that is me keeping up on the latest scholarly research on my thesis topic. I’m also researching the root of the word “misanthrope” (Greek). It’s like no one ever taught me how to goof off. I paused to snap a photo of this moment, because even I was struck with my absurdity. Last week I was researching PhD programs I want to enroll in. Just for fun. Because who can actually afford a PhD in English with no hope of ever finding a job nowadays? Besides those in the one percent, which I decidedly am not (they won’t let me in. Something about me driving a Honda prohibits my admittance to their “club?”).
And to answer the question I can virtually hear everyone shouting at me, yes, many people have pointed out to me numerous times that school is not the real world. I know. I went to school to become a literary professor so I would never have to live in the real world, people. The real world is like being in a perpetual math class…and you always have to show all your work. I’m going to put that on a t-shirt. And wear it to work.
I’ve just realized that this must be the motivating factor for people to procreate…so they can live vicariously through their children…the epiphany bird is singing to me right now…
And yes there is such thing as an epiphany bird, and I know this for a fact because I just made it up.
You want a picture?
Oh wait, that’s my depression chicken.
I would draw you a picture of an epiphany bird in MS Paint, but frankly I’m too lazy and it’s hot and there is a whole season of Downton Abbey that isn’t going to watch itself…