Friday, October 2, 2009

A trip to the Seward plaque

Last night's college fair was kind of a bust. And by kind of, I mean like whoa. I made contact with some kids who were really interested, but for the most part I spent the night cringing as Valley Forge boys called female representatives "ma'am." I did have a fabulous table buddy who spontaneously complained about missing "Survivor" during Thursday fairs, so we bonded over the tyrants who schedule these things during prime time.

The fair was at a Penn State campus (fun fact: there are roughly a billion of them) about an hour away from where I was staying. They had campus security posted by the parking lot clearly marked "Parking for College Reps," although their primary purpose seemed to be watching a parade of reps wheel their supplies into the building as they drank coffee. Until I pulled in. The security officer saw me pulling up to the lot, stood in front of my car until I rolled down the window, stared quizzically, and asked, "You're a college rep?" As he looked me up and down (only halfway, of course, because he could not see past my torso) I replied, "Yes." Unconvinced, he asked what college I worked for. I told him, but he still seemed unsatisfied until his eyes found the faculty/staff tag hanging from my rearview mirror. Only then did he step aside and allow me to park. Nothing like making me feel like a five-year-old before a two-hour shift as a pseudo authority figure.

Today I had an awkward visit... first they wrote down the wrong date, so they assumed I was visiting the 12th instead of the 2nd. The lady was really apologetic and wouldn't stop bringing it up, which I understand but I got tired of telling her it was no big deal after the twentieth time. She called three girls down to the office who had signed up to meet with me. One of them was there earlier than the others and as I introduced myself she looked at me quizzically and said, "You look familiar... were you a senior last year? I think you were my tour guide." Yeah, I didn't feel like a jackass at all. She's not really that interested in the school, which is understandable since she's applying to ten as of now, and at least three of them are (I know I shouldn't say this, but it's kind of true) basically the same exact school. (Or she's not that interested because this bitchy tour guide couldn't recognize her even though they spent 45 minutes together schlepping around campus one fine spring day.) And of course the exact opposite was occurring simultaneously in the same office: one of the counselors was at the admissions conference I attended this summer, but didn't recognize me at all. I didn't want to be awkward and say something, but part of me was thinking, "Come on! Remember that dorky game they made us play? Alfredo Allison! You're Pizza Peggy! No?" In the end, the usual pleasantries were sufficient since the conversation would have most likely gone something like:

Her: Oh, right! How are you?
Me: Good! Just... traveling. It's been fun.
Her: Good! ...
Me: Yeah! ...

So sometimes feigning ignorance is probably best.

By now you probably gather that the majority of my blogging occurs from whatever Panera I find in the area. (Today I actually pulled into a shopping plaza on a whim because it looked like a Panera should be there. I was right.) So as I sit typing this, there's two older (I say older with the smug judgement of a twenty-something when regarding anyone middle-aged) friends sitting behind me, and they noticed that I was typing frantically. The man leaned back in his chair and asked if I was with the CIA. "Of course," I replied, "Panera is where we do all our spy work." He chuckled and joked, "You're not writing a book, are you?" Then, seeing my blog entry, his eyes widened and he exclaimed, "Oh, my god, you are!" I then explained my job and my blog. Apparently his son is a junior in high school and is starting the college process. And the dad worked in admissions for a few years, so we chatted for a while about that. Good times. And now I've blogged about him and fulfilled his paranoid nightmares. Maybe I can list him as a reference if I apply to the CIA...

Home for this weekend once I've been sufficiently caffeinated. It might take a while.

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