Thursday, May 06, 2010

diplomas and random college non-memory

I need to write myself out of this stuck place I've been wallowing in for a while. I'm not sure how I got here and I certainly have not figured out how to get myself out. I have loads of half-written posts floating around in draft form that are just not worth sharing. And my standards for hitting publish are not always terribly high so that is saying a lot.

But in the interest of getting back into the blogging habit and writing my way out of this dark corner, I'm just going to share a couple of really stupid things with you that aren't really worth sharing but hey, they are something to write about and they are semi-related so here goes.

Moving apartment and office within the span of one week really makes one analyze all the stuff that accumulates. "Stuff" being the nicest word I can think of to describe it. I apologize if I am repeating myself here but mid-way through the long day of my home move I called my mother to blame her for all my junk. Don't get mad at me, I was saying it in jest. Mostly. I only half-blame her for all the stuff I cart around. I place the other half of the blame on my dad. You see, from my mother I get this little voice in my head that whispers "sure, you aren't using it now and you haven't used it in 5 years and you didn't even remember that you still have it but you never know when you might need it, so you should probably just keep it." I also just don't like throwing away things that aren't broken and donating is a complicated ordeal in NYC. So I keep a lot of stuf just in case I might possibly have use for it in some hypothetical situation in the future I cannot even invision.

If that voice has not convinced me to keep whatever item I found hidden at the top of my closet, the voice from my dad's side will. That sappy, sentimental voice whispers "ooohhh, do you remember when you first got that? Yeah, you can't give it away, too many memories wrapped up in that [fill in the blank thing]." The combination of these two voices is a curse.

Of course, there are some things I stumble upon that are actually useful and sentimental in a positive way. Such as my framed law school diploma. Sure, I'm guessing most people don't cart around their framed diplomas in the original box for 9 years post-graduation stashing it under the bed and in the back of closets with each new move. But I don't think I've ever really been most people.

As a first year associate in a law firm I remember someone saying it was bad luck to hang your diploma before you passed the bar. So I didn't haul mine into the office before the November news came. And by the time I found out I was indeed a lawyer the following spring after being sworn in, it just didn't seem terribly high on my list of priorities of things to schlep through the streets and onto the subway. So it never got hung during my first job.

My second job was a temporary position of only two years so really, what would be the point of putting it up there? And when I started my current job five years ago I thought about pulling it out from behind my bed to hang at my office but then I thought maybe it was weird to hang just one diploma without the other. And that other diploma of mine? It was sitting in a crate of miscellaneous journals, notebooks, keepsake newspapers and printed emails I had collected over the years in the red faux-leather (I'm assuming) folder I was handed when I walked through college graduation thirteen years ago. . . wait, that cannot possibly be right. I graduated from college thirteen years ago? I'm going to pretend I didn't just say that and move on.

Instead of stashing the skinny box with the handle back behind my bed in my new apartment, I left it in the hallway as a reminder to take it to work already. Once in my new office with all its large empty walls I realized it was time to take action and I ordered a diploma frame online from my alma matter and had it shipped to the office. It arrived yesterday.

So today, 9 years after graduating from law school and 13 years after graduating from college (that number still disturbs me) I have two framed diplomas in my office. Note, I did not say hanging. I am not allowed to do the actual hanging and no one has responded to my request yet but I am pretty sure that before the week is out I will be able to say I finally have two diplomas hanging in my office.

The interesting thing is last night as I was pulling my college diploma out for framing I had to fight against getting sucked into the sentimental vortex that is this crateful of memories. Other than reading a hilarious but heartbreaking story I wrote about losing my best friend in 6th grade, I refrained from blowing off a night's sleep by digging through all the papers. A story I may have to share with you one day because it reads more like a teenage girl getting dumped than a pre-teen being told she is a loser. But I guess those two experiences can evoke similar feelings in the uninitiated.

Anyway, among the certificates and report cards stashed in with my diploma I found a certificate I was given at the end of my freshman year by my dorms. You know those silly awards handed out that are personalized with some joke about something the kid did during the year? I don't remember when or how I received this thing although I'm guessing there was some sort of end of the year party attached to it but I found my award kind of hilarious. Also, sad. My certificate was titled "Who Is This Resident Anyway?" Or something to that effect. I don't have it here in front of me. I guess it was true, I really didn't know anyone who lived in my dorm building other than my actual roommates. We referred to ourselves as the "people under the stairs" because we were in the downstairs room. We lived in apartment style dorms with a suite including three bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen shared by six girls and a common area for the building. If I recall correctly there were two suites per floor with a total of three, maybe four floors. When we first moved in we ventured up to the common area once or twice and immediately felt out of place and awkward so we retreated back to our own room. Of course, if any of those girls locked themselves out they had no qualms about banging on our window which was right next to the front door. And surely they caught a glimpse of us always sitting at our kitchen table with the door open down the short flight of stairs from the front entry or possibly when they visited the coke machine in the dark lobby outside our door with the grimy old couch where I once stayed up all night talking to a boy I liked. It is surprising the drama of our suite never drifted up the stairs to where they all sat watching soap operas non-stop as voices were often raised.

Of course, ultimately it was a good thing we kept to ourselves in that dark basement dorm suite with the filthy orange carpet and grimy linoleum. Otherwise, they may have given me some sort of award related to that time my roommate went crazy and clawed my shirt half off leaving scratch marks down my chest. It makes me wonder what awards my roommates received . . . .


Artax said...

I like the diploma story. Hmm... I wonder where my diplomas live now? Maybe in a box somewhere?

Tiffany said...

Welcome back to writing. We've missed you.

I understand the vortex all too well. Thanks for sharing these memories and congratulations on not getting sucked in all night!

Anonymous said...

...and now we're primed for the crazy clawing roommate story!

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