When I was twenty I was supposed to be in college- like everyone else. But instead, I was trailing artist and sculptors over at what was then known as PCA (UArts now). Drinking cheap beer and singing Patsy Cline songs at Franks. Crashing at Debi’s on 9th and Pine. Throwing cigarette butts out eleventh-story windows from the Illustration Floor. This, of course, was right before I flew off to Paris to drop out of the Alliance Francaise and quit my job as an au pair. Needless to say, I was a reckless twentysomething. I didn’t believe in higher learning. I didn’t believe in conformity. And from those beliefs I gained two things: a love of adventure and low self-esteem for not following the herd when it came time for graduation.
Why I mention that is because I started working with PBQ again, which means being back on a college campus at age forty, socializing with twentysomethings and idealist professors, constantly reminded of my own failed youth and/or how late in the game I got started.
Lisa Grunberger, a professor of Comparative Religion and Writing at Temple read some of her poetry last night at Bubble House. I didn’t know what to make of her. I didn’t know if I liked the idea of associating myself with her or not. On the one hand, she was dressed well (ok, that’s pretty superficial), on the other all I kept thinking was, am I like that? Is that me up there, but without the great job? Am I this old, single woman who dresses all vogue and city and reads mediocre poetry to young students about the men I fucked? God. That’s ugly. No, please, no. I don’t want to go certain places. I don’t want to be certain things.
And then there was Christy Schneider, the homely-looking, thirtysomething “museum educator” who also read about being single, being accused of being “too excited” once when getting laid and a string of dates that went no where. At least that’s what I was able to fish from her. Most of what she read left me staring off into space. My brain felt like a tic tac box when it only has one tic tac in it, and you shake it and it makes that one-tic-tac-in-a-plastic-box sound. Like only one thought is rattling around in there and it’s not making much sense on its own.
But I was so far removed from associating with her that she didn’t quite bother me as much as Grunberger did.
So my issue is, do I stay with PBQ and work out these growing pains? Or do I seize this feeling of discomfort and say, this just isn’t me anymore.
Food for thought.