I have not seen the following items for at least ninety days (years?):
Paralytic crushes
Pants held together with safety pins
The inside of a bar
The view from behind a waiter’s service station
The A/C platform after midnight

I called Jim T, a friend from way, way back, in California–it had been over a year since we’d spoken last– “Nooooo!” he let out in an awed whisper when he answered. “Yessssss!” I confirmed. We went back and forth like that for half a block. “I’m a TEACHER in BROOKLYN, can you imagine?” I said. “NO!” he cried again. In a voice made small with affection, he said, “I guess you’re all grown up now.”

It’s been nearly a year since I left Philadelphia for New York; six months since I gave up waiting tables for teaching ninth graders; more than a year since I forfeited useless pining, coffeeshop gawking, and dates with my gay roommate for the hard-won, bone-deep satisfaction of an earth-bound, real-time relationship; and an almost half-decade since I came to New York in the first place as an apartment-hopping boozehound-cum-playwright about to wipe out her unimpressive checking account. (No disrespect to gay roommate dates.) ( R.I.P. gay roommate dates, since he moved to San Francisco six months ago, anyway.)

Even though I spend a disproportionate amount of time chronicling the ways I chafe against my job–and fantasizing about a career in academia–I can say with surety that these dilemmas are more redeeming than ones encountered in previous lives (jobs). More redeeming than the temperature of steak for an asshole on an expense account who won’t tip. Than making the right number of copies for the board members. And don’t tell the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, but also more redeeming than the dilemmas posed by professional dramaturgy, because the last time I checked, not only was public education something the rest of the world had heard of, but they actually pay me for it. (No disrespect to dramaturgs; they aren’t to blame for a gutted NEA and an apocalypse of arts appreciation in this country.)

I have to get up in nine hours and try to explain point of view and foreshadowing in Of Mice and Men to forty-four ninth graders tomorrow. ‘Night.

Grammatically resolute, I remain,
Ms. Magnolia Avenue


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