This afternoon, my computer punched me in the face.
I'd been in that typical late-winter mood since I woke up-- you know, when your skin's all dry and your jeans are too tight and you decide the missing leaves from the trees are a metaphor for the missing purpose from your life and waaah-- and I had assumed my typical after-class position, lying down with my laptop propped on my knees. Just a regular day. Watching The Best of Adam Sandler on Netflix, eating simple carbs, wallowing in the quiet misery of being rich and white. It was just when my mind had started down the path of I'm pathetic and wasting my time by getting this useless degree from an institute whose only real claim to fame is being consistently recognized by Playboy.com for its great keggers... when it hit me. Literally. A slight movement caused my aluminum laptop to slide down my thighs and, at full speed, knock me straight in the mouth. All I did at the time was swear and flail, but little did I know: The universe was trying to convey a message to me.
Still, I carried on as usual, having misinterpreted that painful beacon of fate as just another example of gravity wanting to spite me. It wasn't until later, when I was flopping my winter thighs around the indoor track of our school gym, that I finally got the message.
I like to let my mind wander while I run, and perhaps it stemmed from my earlier thoughts about the pointlessness of my Creative Writing degree, but I happened to recall a seemingly random memory from seventh grade Sunday School. Our teacher had asked us to go around the circle and introduce ourselves by saying our names and what we wanted to be when we grew up. I was (shockingly!) a bit of a douchebag when I was thirteen, and I clearly remember trying to overshadow all the would-be firemen and nurses by saying, "I'm Hayley, and I want to write for Saturday Night Live." Truthfully, I had only ever seen the first two sketches of each episode from the foot of my parents' bed before they turned it off and I went to my room, but I always liked what I'd seen, and I knew I'd sound cool for saying so. And I loved that dream-- someday being adult and sophisticated, writing topical jokes about politics I understood, seeing my name on a screen while trumpets played, having some little Maya Rudolph smile. So I said, "And maybe I'll be a cast member, too, but I mainly just want to write."
My Sunday School teacher nodded and said something falsely earnest like, "I'm sure you will be someday!" because she was supposed to encourage us and therefore couldn't have said, "That's cute, but in twenty years you'll be living down the street from your parents, working at the library, and crying yourself to sleep every night while your second husband rubs ointment into his varicose veins." Lately, though, that depressing spiel has been feeling a lot more realistic.
I could see that teacher's face in my head tonight, while I ran laps. I was thinking about it, dwelling on the particular sadness of having been more confident about my career aspirations when I had braces than I am at age twenty... when Fate threw a sign at my head that was much, much, much heavier than a laptop. I was minding my own business when a tall blonde girl entered the track and started jogging out in front of me, and I swear to you, on my Scout's Honor, because I could not make this shit up*... she was wearing a t-shirt... with the Saturday Night Live logo on the back.
Uh, yeah. Seconds after having resigned myself to someday being Ohio's Funniest English Teacher Who Hates Herself, I found myself quite literally chasing my childhood dream. Isn't life hilarious? Somehow, some stranger wearing a souvenir from the NBC giftshop was all it took to restore my seventh grade optimism, at least for a while. Somehow, I feel more inspired to write tonight.
Cue the big band music.
Chipotle burritos this year: 3
Nail color: "You Don't Know Jacques," OPI.
Miles run today: 4
Miles run this year: Lost track a week ago. It was fun while it lasted.
*Okay, in actuality, I could make this shit up-- fairly easily, even-- but I did not. This account is all true. My goal is to write for SNL, guys, not Saved by the Bell.