Monday, March 30, 2009

Why does your face look like that?

I'm getting a little tired of people acting like I have a terminal illness.

Let me back up a bit: I don't have a terminal illness. I'm quite healthy, actually. But others have not-so-subtly pointed out to me that I appear to have a debilitating disease where I graduated from college and now am doing nothing.

Let me back up again: I'm not doing "nothing." I've got a job that I work 30 hours a week at, I'm paying bills, and I'm writing all the time. Sure I don't have an internship or a journalism desk job that takes up 95% of my time yet totals 5% of my income, but I'm only hanging around this town until May. I graduated at the end of December, and I'm leaving at the end of May. That's a total of 5 months where I've had to essentially start from scratch and not only try to hone what skills I've earned with my degree, but also try to save money and salvage my post-college/pre-career existence while I can.

So then why do people who ask me what I'm up to cringe when I tell them "not much, just working and hanging out until I move in May?" It's like this weird reflexive action they have which they just can't seem to hide. There's this look as though I've just told them that my dog died, or that I'm going into rehab, or that I have terminal cancer. This sort of knee-jerk widening of the eyes coupled with a thin, smarmy smile and a phrase that carries an air of mock-understanding and sympathy ("Oh, wow, well good. That's good that you're working.").

Sorry folks, I didn't move home with my parents and I didn't just return to my "home town" because if you want to get technical then my home town was Los Angeles. Seriously Idaho, there are other places besides Coeur d'Alene and Boise. I see people all the time on Myspace or Facebook or in the UI Alumni Magazine (which I receive in the mail now along with a helping of guilt for not financially supporting my alma mater) who moved back tot heir home town and have started some kind of career. A guy I graduated with is now working at a TV station in Twin Falls.

But here's the thing: That's Twin. Falls. Idaho.

And that's fine. Do whatever you'd like and go where you'd like to go. It's just that my aspirations go beyond this state. I don't want to just go back to the comforts of home to a place that's familiar. It's the same reason I didn't do community college right after high school. It's the same reason I didn't just try and get a desk job at the local paper here in Moscow. I like to experience new things. I like to live on the edge of my seat. I like having a warm place to call home, but I also like that place to have a sense of wonder or excitement.

Maybe that's why, after 5 years in my undergrad, Moscow has almost completely lost its charm.

I don't know what to see to these people that act as though I've just told them I've been diagnosed with HIV-I when I tell them I'm in a working, hanging out, sort of grace period between my undergrad and the start of my career. Except to tell them that I didn't run home to mommy like everyone else and that I actually have had to work since day 1 in college, and that I've still got to work because I pay my own bills, so that's why I couldn't just up and go home.

I want to tell them to go hang out with the skeptics, who are the other group of people that are infuriating me at the moment (I feel like the Palouse region [meaning Moscow, Pullman, Lewiston, etc.] can be divided up into 3 groups of people right now who are reacting to my life choices: The Sympathies, The Skeptics, and The Supporters). But third-party skepticism of my life choices is a whole other post that's probably more rant-y and less rational.

Oh, internet. I'm glad that I can vent to you. When I look back at this chronicle of my post-grad existence, hopefully it'll be from a place where I can smile and just say "ha."

"Sometimes I feel
That I need to move on.
So I pack a bag
And move on;
Move on."

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