Several times a year a postcard — now an email — shows up imploring me to submit news to my college alumnae/i magazine. Once or twice I’ve thought of doing so, and so sometimes the email sits in my in box for a week or a month, and later, when I decide to clean out the inbox, the deadline has passed, and I delete it until the next time, when the whole process repeats itself.
I read the Class Notes section of the magazine with zeal, although I don’t know why. Unlike, say, the tabloids at the supermarket checkout, there’s rarely anything juicy in them, although I suppose also unlike the tabloids, what they contain is largely true. People go to school and get jobs and promotions and get married and have babies. A surprising number of them seem to bump into each other while on vacation. I went to college on the East Coast and then returned to the Midwest, with a sojourn in the West. I pretty much never bump into anyone.
Yesterday, though, my baby boy, six months, one week, and one day old, started sitting up. He was sitting at daycare when I came to get him, and when we got home he sat some more, and I smile and laughed and cried to see it, and then I began to think how odd and wondrous it is that I have a child, and about all the things that have happened. So here it is, my entry, far too ungainly for a chipper phrase in the Class Notes. In the fourteen years since I graduated from college…
I have lost forty pounds and gained twenty-five.
I have lived in four states, six apartments, a trailer, and four or five houses, depending on how you count. I have moved my belongings a total of fifteen times.
I have also had four or five boyfriends, depending on how you count, which is really depending on how I count, given my mood on any given day.
I have earned two master’s degrees.
I have racked up credit card debt and paid it all off and racked up student loan debt and paid most of it off. I prefer not to think about mortgage debt.
I have had four cars and four bicycles.
I have had more jobs than I can count, from office temp to college instructor to dog walker to librarian. I have never waited tables.
I have also been unemployed, mostly during economic boom times.
I have been arrested intentionally once and never otherwise. I am more proud of the work that I did that led to my getting arrested (and the work I continued after that arrest) than of just about anything else I have ever done.
I have maintained or neglected a website for thirteen years.
I have never been married.
By the same token, I suppose, I have never been divorced.
I have been paid for some of my writing, but I still write for free.
Once I spent a month at an artists’ colony.
Once I was hospitalized for five days on a psych ward.
Once I ran out of gas.
I have had five cats, two of whom are still with me.
I have had four computers, two of them new.
I have been to five weddings. I have been to many more funerals and baptisms.
I have a six-month-old baby boy who just learned to sit up.