Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Interview

So, as maybe most of you, maybe most of you who are out there (Are you out there? Hello? Am I an exhibitionist or a hermit? Maybe a hermit with a glowing neon sign saying "Hermit Inside" on the front of my grotto.) Anyway, where was I? Right. As maybe most of you know, I had an interview at a scary, prestigious drama school this week for their MFA playwriting program.

I was a bundle of nervous nerves the whole month beforehand (I have, I'll admit, a pretty bad case of "I know I failed THAT math test"-itis), but the day was finally here. I'm leaving Tuesday afternoon on the 5pm Vamoose bus, only to find out at 2pm that Vamoose has conveniently cancelled its 5pm bus. So, I change to a 6pm Chinatown bus -- so far, so okay. Beloved Fiance offers to meet me at the bus station with a sandwich because he's wonderful like that and I make it onto the bus. Bus unexpectedly stops in Philadelphia, adding another half hour or so to an already-delayed trip. But that's still not too bad . . . I get off in Chinatown, walk to the subway and make it up to 168th St by around 11pm. Have some cold pasta and bounce off the ceiling with anxious energy with Catherine and her friend Heather until around 1am at which point everyone retires to bed, couch, or floor to sleep. Except that I don't sleep. At all. It's not too bad because I'm not unhappy, just totally wound up and incapable of sleep. I think of lots of different things and eventually start to notice the way the sunlight comes into the room in early morning. I am not a(n?) habitue of early morning. Get out the door by 7:30am, enjoy the morning rush to school and work and make my way to Grand Central Station. Where the one train that I am taking is the one train whose gate is not listed. With coffee and doughnut in hand, I wander from sign to sign, from computer to mechanical wooden lists and nothing. Finally find an information booth and inquire as to which gate I need. Make it on the train and luckily someone has left a Wall Street Journal, which is secretly my 2nd-favorite newspaper, aboard. Score! Read the Journal, make it to New Haven, and make it to a delightful lunch w/ two friends from college. One of whom spends lunch telling me his take on difficult admissions decisions: "Basically, they should just take the top 25 people and have a lottery. It's not like getting in means anything about your being more qualified than anyone else." This is both comforting and discomfiting.

Go to interview which is fine, I think, but it's an interview and you can never tell and what did that last thing he said mean and maybe I shouldn't have talked about exhibitionists on the corner in trenchcoats and prostitutes and reading the Bible cover-to-cover (all true). Have tea w/ a couple friends before leaving town, everyone is super-sweet and understanding and hand-holding to me, and I'm feeling good, if starting to get chilly, when my cab pulls up to the train station 5 minutes before my train takes off. I reach for my suitcase. And it's not there. Just not there. I let the cab go and then run dementedly after it, wondering if my suitcase might be in another part of the backseat. The cabbie finally stops and lets me check. There's not another part of the backseat. It's just, you know, a backseat, and my suitcase simply isn't there. So I run back to the train station, calling the restaurant where I just was on my cell phone. I check the departures list and make it onto the train, while trying to orchestrate the successful retrieval of my possessions. Take a deep breath and call BF to tell him about suitcase fiasco. As we're talking, the conductor comes to take my ticket. And he looks at my ticket. And tells me that I'm going in completely the wrong direction. I have missed the 5:45 train to Washington, DC and am now heading north to Old Saybrook on the commuter line.

It is at this point that I start to cry.

Around 6:30 we pull into Old Saybrook, a town, I would like to point out, whose train station does not sell a single magazine or newspaper (my book, of course, being in the suitcase left at the restaurant). At 7:45, the next train to Washington, DC pulls into the station and, with no books to read and only a copy of the Amtrak magazine "Arrive" (whose title mocks me from its little string holdy-case -- "If only I could arrive, 'Arrive!' If only I could!") I pass the hours until 2am. At which time, the train pulls into Union Station. Beloved Fiance comes to pick me up, and I get a good 5 hours sleep until Thursday morning when I have to wake up and teach my 3-5th graders how to write a play.

This story is either a sad story or a funny story. I didn't know which one until yesterday; now I know it's funny.

I got into the grad school.


Wamby said...

of course you didn't fail the math test! You got an A! You always do! Aarrrghghghgrrrhghgghg!!!!!

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