Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where spring brings new life to a weary world! As the sun rolls into this hemisphere, I salute Robin, Marian, Orphee and Bride -- and all the fine Gentry of Sidhe!
There's nothing quite so frustrating as coming home from a long week of work, only to find that your teenager needs to go to the mall. Truly this is akin to cutting your finger and then pouring bleach into the wound.
Spare wanted to go to the mall to get a birthday present for a friend. I suggested the sensible alternative of a suitable lawn gnome. Give gnomes! The all-occasion party present!
The pharmacy in Snobville has lawn gnomes, so Spare and I went there. Before that we had to go to the grocery store -- and wait in line 15 minutes -- just to buy cake icing. By the time we got to the pharmacy, I was more in the mood to wrestle a Rhodesian Ridgeback than to stand in line to buy a lawn gnome.
Of course the line was long, and it was full of Clones in Abercrombie outfits. I was about to hack up a furball until I looked outside.
A fine-looking young gentleman was seated on a Main Street bench, curled over a laptop.
I pointed him out to Spare. I said, "Apollo comes to Haddonfield."
She didn't argue. In fact, she agreed wholeheartedly.
Then I looked at the dude's t-shirt, where it peeked out from beneath an unbuttoned hoodie. I could see the letters OPKI.
First I said to the Spare, "Oh, he must be in a fraternity."
Then I thought about it. I'm not nearly as swift as I used to be.
I paid for the lawn gnome and said to Spare, "I'm going to go talk to that guy. You want to come?"
Did she want to come? She's 16. She wanted to crawl under a rock and pretend her mother lives in Albuquerque. But that didn't stop me. Come to think of it, nothing much stops me. I'm the fool who rushes in where brave men dare not tread.
Out I went to the bench. He looked up.
Me: I can only see part of your shirt, but I'm guessing the rest is "HOPKINS."
He (obligingly revealing more cotton): Yes, you're right.
Me: When did you graduate?
He: Actually I'm still there. Class of 2011.
Me: Wow! I'm an alumna. I won't even tell you what year. What's your major?
He: Writing Seminars.
Me: Get outta town. You're kidding me. That was my major!
He: Seriously? Do you live here in Snobville?
Me: Yes, I've been living here 22 years. Where do you live?
He: (Names the very poshest and wealthiest little borough, even too snobby to be Snobville.)
So at this point I just plopped down next to him on the bench and we began a jolly old talk about professors past and present, courses we both had to take, where he lives near campus, on and on. All the while, Spare was spying on us from a safe distance. She could see, but she couldn't hear the conversation.
I gave him my email so he can friend me on Facebook. And you know what? He will do it. We OPKI people stick together, especially those of us in little itty bitty majors like Writing Seminars.
Spare turned about 27 shades of green in envy. Oh well. Don't want to be seen with a crazy mom? Can't blame you, but don't pout when you lose out.
Oh, snap! Now that I look at his graduating year I realize that it's an anniversary year for me too! We'll be at reunion lacrosse games together!
For those of you who have never heard of Johns Hopkins University, I'm not going to laden on any false humility. It's a college that only takes really, really smart people. When I went there I often felt like I was in over my head. But I had a way with words in those days, and they handed me a Phi Beta Kappa key when I left. For those of you who have never heard of Phi Beta Kappa, it's a society for really, really smart people.
There are several morals to this sermon:
1. What do you have to lose by asking a stranger a polite question about his t-shirt? I guess it depends on what the shirt says. If you see OPKI, that person is smart.
2. No day is so bad that it can't get a little brighter.
3. When you get to be a woman of a certain age, toss the humility aside and brag. I may be getting old and gray, but dammit, I still have that key.
Good night, friends. I will try to be serious tomorrow. No promises. Me being serious is like bending steel. It can be done, but not easily.