Friday, May 23, 2008

dispatches from the reunion (part 1)

after 5 years, i've been told, one can no longer defer student loan payments. over $20,ooo dollars in debt now, i am still seeking deferment based on "economic hardship"--5 years after receiving my degree from bard college. it was this day in 2003 that i graduated, which brings me back to annandale-on-hudson ("back to my old school" as fellow bard alumni steely dan once sung), for my first reunion.

reuniting based on shared educational experience can be a pretty strange phenomenon. my friend jared used to fantasize about returning for our high school reunion in a limosine and performing an identity completely at odds with his actual life. reunions are often social magnifine glasses which reduce us to empty soundbytes: "what have you been up to these past 5 years?"
we are restricted in this environment from honestly expressing ourselves.

of course, this is all just heresay as i just arrived on campus and have yet to squirm through any disingenuous intereactions. but i'm prepared.

i'm really glad to be here actually. this is evidenced by the amount of energy and money i spent today getting here. after a couple of potential rides from fellow alumni/ae fell through, i entered the abyss of online transportation options for non-car owners. i replied to craigslist ads for rides to not-so-nearby new york city, calculated unimaginable bus routes between the pioneer valley and this mid-hudson valley, and navigated the foreign terrain of the auto rental economy.

sitting at my desk, unpacked and flustered i was about to jump in the shower and run down to the northampton bus station to catch the 11:25 bus to kingston, ny--via albany (2.5 hour wait) and springfield, ma--when tony called. he offered me a ride to the closest car rental place that offered one way rentals. this gave me a couple more hours to get ready and retrieve my pay check, which i will obviously need this weekend. so now i have this sweet ride until 1:00 pm tomorrow. the only question marks that remain are: where will i sleep tonight (and tomorrow night) and how the hell am i getting home? i'm just glad i made it.

i drove around the campus when i got here. passing the office of financial aid i thought about the pile of overdue notices in my bedroom from sallie mae. i think my experience here was worth it, but now i find myslef at this crossroads and i'm not sure what to do. despite all this, i'm going to have a good time this weekend and party like it's 1999--the year i first arrived here.