In The Middle

Yeah, still waiting for THIS to happen...

Ten days ago I walked across a stage wearing a green bathrobe, shook hands with a guy I’d never met, and got handed a leather carrying case with a University of Oregon Alumni Association advertisement inside it. This process was somehow meant to signify that I was now officially smarter, as certified by the Oregon University System, but the entire time I kept expecting Ashton Kutcher to pop out of nowhere with a camera crew.

”You just got Punk’d! Oh, man, we got you so good! You didn’t think that was what graduation was actually like, did you? Man, you’re an idiot!”

(I have never in my life watched an episode of Punk’d. All I know is that there are cruel pranks and Ashton Kutcher is involved, so please forgive me if I screwed up all the details besides those two.)

Also, I carefully guarded against any sense of accomplishment or finality, because I had some very serious and well-founded doubts about whether I had actually passed my last class or not. Attentive readers will remember that my last class was a 100 level geology lecture that was also the only class I was taking.

You would think that only having one rudimentary class to concentrate on would be a piece of cake, but in my case, that piece of cake wound up being really unpleasant and difficult to eat – like a cake made of rocks, or one of those cardboard cakes with a stripper inside, only the stripper has been dead for a few days.

What I discovered was that when taking 16 credits, the sheer amount of stress forces you to muster work ethic to finish the work for all your hard classes, and then momentum alone carries you through the work for your easy gen ed classes. When taking four credits, though, school becomes a very small and inconsequential part of your day-to-day life.

While it may be no sweat to read 11 pages about the fossil record after a day of editing video footage and transcribing interviews, when the only thing you have to do in a given day is read 11 pages about the fossil record, it’s way easier to blow that one obligation off and get drunk in the backyard with your roommates.

So when I stood around sweltering in my expensive, ugly bathrobe, I was facing the very real possibility that I might have to be one of those sad, unfortunate souls who still has classes to take after walking at graduation.

Somehow, though, I pulled it off – I scored a C- in geology, which, because I’d taken the class Pass/No Pass, went onto my transcript as a big, friendly P. Just today I received a congratulatory email from the dean of the journalism school; I’m not sure if he was aware when he wrote the email that I’d achieved the ‘momentous milestone’ he was congratulating me on by eking out a passing grade in a 100 level class with only four percentage points between me and a summer geology course at West Los Angeles Community College.

So now I’m a college graduate with a degree in a dying industry in which I have no interest, living at home with his parents for a couple weeks until moving to a brand new city where he’s 80% sure there’s a job waiting.

Right now, though, I’m in the middle, and when I say the middle I want you to think about the Jimmy Eat World song ‘The Middle’, not the hit or miss sitcom The Middle which consists largely of jokes about Indiana.

I’ve left the boozy, mouse infested world of higher education and am bound for the boozy, douche infested world of entertainment, but right now I can’t really lay claim to either one. In between college and real life, it seems, there is a boring month at home where you spend a lot of time checking email and putting off unpacking, culling, and repacking your possessions for the eventual move.

This, in turn, makes for pretty lousy blog updates. That’s why this one was so late – I had to choose between writing about college reflections or something about anticipating the move to Los Angeles, but four out of my last six updates have been about those subjects, and I’m a firm believer in the idea that everything you find interesting is at least 85% less interesting to everybody else.*

*And now all of you who invited me to see your band play know why I never went.

You’ve probably quit paying attention to this update if you’re even still reading my blog. Poop. Monkeybutt. Anybody out there?

But, like Jimmy Eat World said, it just takes some time, something-something-something-something, in the middle, something-something… You get the idea. I’m cooling my heels, (kind of) packing my bags, and very purposefully not spending money in preparation for the next big stage of my life, and as we get closer to the day that I leave Oregon* there will probably be a sharp increase in the amount of nostalgic bullshit you’ve already been putting up with.

*I leave on July 18th. Everyone else who asks me will be redirected to this update.

2011 is just a nostalgic year, I guess. The end of my marching band career, the end of my college career, the end of my Oregon career, and the beginning of my Southern California career. I promise to try and get us through this with the bare minimum of sentimentality, if any at all.

Truman Capps just needs to go out and get in a high speed police chase just so he has something to write about on Sunday.