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My friend Abby and I have an agreement — if one of us starts talking about something cute our pet is doing, it’s a signal the conversation has reached its natural conclusion. It usually goes like this:
Me: “So anyway, that’s all I’ve got going on. (Pause.) Hazel’s tongue is sticking out.”
Abby: “And with that, goodbye.” (click)
But we never agreed on the protocol around discussing non-pet animals.
Me: “There is a chipmunk living in our backyard.”
Abby: “This is news to you?”
M: “You never see chipmunks in the city!”
A: “This would be like me reporting that I saw a squirrel.”
M: “You’re not alive with wonder like I am.”
Anyway, there is a chipmunk hanging out, and we think it’s adorable, and our cat has spent every morning of the past week glaring it from the sliding-glass door, absolutely intent on murder, which she will never manage, because she is an indoors-only type of cat. Unfortunately yesterday we came across a six-foot-long black rat snake sunning itself on our patio, so we believe the chipmunk’s days are numbered, if not over entirely.
I updated Abby on the chipmunk’s fate, because we talk every day and sometimes you run out of topics, and she was more interested in why I wasn’t losing my shit over the six-foot-long snake. Honestly, snakes are among the few things in this world that don’t send me into a sweaty panic. According to the Internet rat snakes are harmless (to humans). I don’t know if I would let Hazel outside while it was there, since Hazel is basically a large rodent. But otherwise, it didn’t bother me. They’re constrictor snakes, and I enjoy a nice hug.
The country! Who said it would be boring?!
BUT THAT’S NOT WHY I’M WRITING
Henry is graduating from college this week. I know! What! The menswear design program awards an associate’s degree, and he has declined to reapply for a bachelor’s. (It was an intense two years.) He already had an associate’s degree from his high school, so now he has … two associate’s degrees. It kind of irritates me that two associate’s degrees don’t equal a bachelor’s, but as we know, I did not major in math, or degrees, so clearly there’s something I’m missing.
More importantly, he’s got an impressive body of work that he should be proud of, and great connections from a particularly cool internship. He’s going to be fine.
This whole “associate’s degree” business is scandalizing my mom, who pointed out how much my dad depended on his bachelor’s degree from MIT to get him places. We tried to get through to her that MIT and FIT are … different, and that we are no longer in the 1950s, Henry is not liable to help build rockets on the power of his fancy diploma, etc., but she’s still shaking her head at his decision.
I think she wonders why we’re not making more of a stink about this, and honestly the reason is: He does not care. He would not listen, and he does not care. I cannot stress enough how unconcerned Henry is with any of our opinions. I am deeply envious of his ability to take our two cents and toss them right into the gutter. Not in a hostile way, but in a supremely unworried manner that says “I have considered your opinions, because and only because I love you, and they are not relevant.”
It has always been thus. When Henry was a baby, he wanted to nurse my armpit. No matter how hard I tried to urge his head into the right angle, he fought me. I’d be sweating and cursing and wondering when the blissful bonding was going to begin while he was like GODDAMMIT, LADY, I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING. LET ME AT YOUR PIT.
So it doesn’t surprise me that he’s doing college his own way. And I imagine the armpit story implies that I think he’s wrong, but that’s not the case. I realize, anyway, that I have zero knowledge about the fashion industry. And it’s not like he can never go back and get a bachelor’s degree, if and when he feels the urge. Life is short, man. If you’re done with college, be done with it.
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