The latest parlor game among friends and family when I’m in their presence has been, “What are you doing with your life, Tina?” I thought that, rather than responding with the standard “I’m dropping out of grad school. And then I don’t know! I just don’t know! Please don’t ask me again because I’m going to explode if you do!” line, I’d mix things up for a change.
So I’ve been saying instead, “Oh, you know. I’m going to move to a bigger city and be a performance artist and work on the side to pay the rent.”
I’ve been getting some interesting responses.
There’s the concerned parent always looking out for her daughter’s well-being: “You could marry some rich doctor or lawyer. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about working. Or you could work for airport security. Or, this friend of mine’s daughter got this job somewhere in New Albany, and the HR manager brings in decorations for holidays — or, when things are slow, she brings in balloons, tapes them to the wall, and all the employees get to throw darts at them! Now, doesn’t that sound like a fun place to work?”
The ex-boyfriend who never understood my existential crises: “Oh. Well…. Well. Wow. I mean, my aunt was a film producer and had to work some odd jobs to cover that - at least until she started getting government grants. She and her husband never had enough money to raise a family… I mean, maybe they could have if they really wanted to. Well, they seem to be the happiest couple in our family. But they just never had much money. Well… Wow.”
The random English grad student acquaintances: “Oh. That’s cool. I wonder how you report a pound of cheesefries on your tax return?”
The college drinking buddy, whom I thought knew me better than he actually did: “I don’t know what’s more shocking: that, or the fact that you seriously contemplated the rich-old-doctor-or-lawyer thing as an option.”
The one person so far who has actually responded positively: “Cool! So we can all say someday, ‘yup, we knew Tina back when she was nothing but a horribly lazy grad student and borderline alcoholic.’ ”