Monday, March 22, 2010

Last name, first name, date of birth?

Well it was a productive, if not incredibly busy, weekend. I made a chocolate souffle (pictures to follow, my camera is out of reach at the moment) which turned out perfectly. Mike and I decided to make Montreal style bagels on a whim, and it was way too much fun. Boiling breads and baked goods has become my new obsession. It's just so gratifying as you drop those blobs of dough in the water and watch them puff and rise to the top of the pot. Dumplings were never de rigeur in our household, but I've learned to love them. I think boiling wheat/besan/anything products is highly underrated. It's not just for pasta, people!

I'm thinking a lot about school lately. I hope both Mike and I get in, and are given the opportunity by these random arbiters of destiny to fulfill our dreams. How odd is it that some bureaucrat gets to decide this? And it is all based on a couple pieces of paper, in my case. A short letter pleading my worthiness, and a computer printoff filled with numbers that signify, in turn, my intelligence and stick-to-it-iveness. I've always had a bit of an obsession with school applications. In my senior year I applied to thirteen different universities. My parents, clearly not keeping track, kept doling out the application fees.

"How many is that now?" My mother asked offhandedly. I think I mumbled something vague about open opportunities with a dash of world as my oyster rhetoric that I love so much.

In the end, I got into one university, which was perfect because it was the one that I wanted to get into and it saved me the trouble of having to decide. I should say from the outset that my lack of options wasn't from poor grades, but rather, overambitiousness. I had graduated a year early, but my graduation was only going to come through in August. I hurriedly completed the last of my coursework in the chunnel, reading the Great Gatsby beneath the Tour Effiel. I found the contrast of European historicity and feigned American classism most ironic. Most universities weren't willing to give me a conditional acceptance except my alma mater, which did. As time went on, I would continue to love the bendiness of their administration, the flexibility of their manifestos. There was always someone sympathetic that you could wheedle if your tuition was late, or you really really needed to get into that class that was full.

I think those thirteen applications were the harbingers of the future. I learned to fill in my name, last then first, in caps in those tiny blocks. Birthdate, SIN, address, phone number, signature. It's a formula that is the catalyst for all of the hallmarks of life: school applications, marriage certificates, mortgage papers and your child's birth registration. Little did I know, as I pressed out those facts about myself to thirteen different schools through whitened knuckles and ball point pen, that it would eventually determine my entire future. Even if I did only get in to one of them.

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