An Academic Polemic (o, Un Polemico Academico!)

The twenty-first installment of my abandoned Granadino memoir, Flawed Abroad: Useless editorializing from an ignorant, close-minded American on his semester overseas.

Miercoles, 9 Feb. ’05, 14.15 (Wednesday, February 9, 2005, 2:15 pm)

I noticed a dark-complexioned gentleman walking down the street today.  Just for fun, I played a little game where I tried to guess his ancestral heritage. Regrettably, I was too distracted by the giant platinum pendant of Africa that he wore around his neck to ever figure it out.

Jueves, 10 Feb. ’05, 19.45 (Thursday, February 10, 2005, 7:45 pm)

I’ve been in Spain for just over a month now, and in that time I can honestly say that not once have I accidentally killed a stripper with a codfish.  (Sorry.  If you were looking for a little spiritual introspection and personal growth, may I recommend Are You There God?  It’s me, Margaret?)  Actually, it’s definitely been—to put it bluntly—a kick ass 32 days so far, possibly the most enjoyable contiguous stretch of my post-elementary school existence.  Admittedly, if push came to shove, I’d rather be catching frogs, building forts in the woods, and watching cartoons, but raising hell in Granada, Spain, with my new expatriate pals is a close second.

I’ve actually been trying to come up with a list of things that I really miss from back home, but other than my guitar, cereal with refrigerated milk, and American Idol, nothing comes readily to mind.  (Sorry Mom and Dad, you don’t make the cut yet.  Am I a terrible son?)

On the other hand, my experiences here have certainly thrown into sharp relief the true value I place on my education—which is to say, very little.  Every middling homework assignment and classroom problem set we’re assigned seems to me the gravest of injustices.  At Bowdoin, such busy work would have barely registered on my academic radar, but in Granada I’ve become keenly aware of how truly indifferent I am to my collegiate future.  Thoughts of actually receiving an “incomplete” for the semester pass through my head multiple times a day, but I am not even remotely phased by the possibility.  On the contrary, in a perverse way, a significant part of me would even welcome such an occurrence.  At least then I could end this charade I call my education.  C’mon, a Spanish and Philosophy double major?  Who am I kidding?  My parents would be much better off saving the money for next year’s tuition for my sister, or their upcoming midlife crisis.  Oh sure, they’d be pissed for a while if I didn’t go back to school—and I, myself, would be foregoing what I anticipate to be a blockbuster senior year—but anyone who’s been paying attention the last couple of years can see that College and I aren’t exactly a peas and carrots sort of deal.

The whole situation is kind of like that haircut you tried to give yourself when you were ten: it seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, but eventually you wound up looking like a total ass.  As it stands, it’s becoming clear to me that my life can only go one of two directions after graduation:  Either my hobby becomes my career and I find a publisher foolish enough to take a chance on one of the “hilarious” books I plan to bust out while leeching off my parents, or I break down and find some menial job laboring for minimum wage 40 hours a week, living out the rest of my life in a shabby apartment while, one by one, my friends find careers and move away for good, leaving me alone with a computer full of quasi-amusing anecdotia and a closet full of wrinkled Hawaiian shirts.

So here’s to the future folks!  May it come just as soon as I’ve finished my current perusal of the present and my plangent remembrances of the past, but not a moment sooner.

Oh yeah, and I puked my face off last night after 11 shots and half a beer, so I guess there’s that, too.

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