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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Two Weeks Notice

It's about two weeks until the Ghana trip and I've completely, completely checked out. I have a million things to do between now and then (like buying bug spray and sun block), but I find them hard to do as my mind caught a flight to the motherland last week. I got to meet him there.

You know that moment at a job when you've turned in your resignation letter and you have just two weeks left working there and you're just going through the motions, counting down until that last day. That's where I'm at. I bet this is how President Bush feels. Or has felt for the last three years or so.

I mean people are talking to me and I can't even hear them. I'm across the world.

This is my first time leaving the country since I was like 15 and I didn't expect to go out of the country for maybe a year. I didn't expect to go to Africa until the World Cup in South Africa, but even that was all a dream.

You know that scene in The Graduate when Dustin Hoffman is floating in the family pool and his father, that guy from Boy Meets World, Mr. Feeny, comes by and starts yelling at him? Telling him that one can expect a period of relaxation after graduation, but after a few weeks it's time to start looking for a job and planning for the future. Before this Ghana thing came, I felt like Dustin Hoffman, not sure of what was coming, just floating, working on this novel that might never get published, trying to figure out what I was going to do this summer, hoping to avoid work for a few months, watching daytime television (judge shows, Tyra, Maury) and looking for a way to pay my bills that I won't hate. Everything was so blurry. Grad school was the best extended experience I ever had, and I was leaving that behind with nothing to replace it with. Yeah I was applying for jobs and shit, but I was just waiting for Mr. Feeny to come by and start shouting at me [1]. Plus, I was trying to holler at Mrs. Robinson at the time.

Right after graduation I bought Che Guevara's The Motorcycle Diaries. While reading the book-- despite its bad prose [2]-- I was trying to figure out how I was gonna ride around the country like Che through South America. I thought that would make things clear. I've always had this wanderlust thing. My uncle and aunt, the ones that live in the UK, always used to send us postcards from different spots in the world when I was a kid and I was so envious. I thought that's what adulthood would be like. When I lived in upstate New York I would drive to Vermont to get away from Binghamton. It was cool, but it always made me yearn for more. Maybe I'm just never satisfied.

I didn't expect to place in this contest. When the e-mail announcing the contest results came, I rolled my eyes looking at the subject line. Other people place in contests judged by their favorite authors, not me. This Ghana thing came at the right time for me. Things are still blurry. I'm still floating, but I've postponed my date with Mr. Feeny.

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