Unlike Miss J. or the Professor–who clearly went to grad school because they have that mysterious it that’s going to insure that they set their little corner of the world on fire–I went to grad school because I didn’t know what the hell else I was going to do and I needed to get out of my parents’ house.
One would think I would have learned to make better life plans at some point, but I’m actually the person in my family most able to prepare for the future. Shudder at that, folks.
Anyway, growing up as I did in a hermetically sealed tube, otherwise known as a United Methodist Parsonage, there was a lot I hadn’t done before I went to grad school–used illicit substances, kissed girls, watched The Magnificent Seven, eaten actual Mexican food, passed out in a ditch, flashed Lithuanians, snuck onto golf courses, developed the towel dance, been to Mule Day, met anyone who was actually in the Klan, hitched rides with Mormons, been bitten by an inept and strange man, installed light fixtures, eaten Moravian cookies, been to New York City, etc.–but I had one skill (aside from the mad kissing skills): I could polka.
Normally, unless one is at a wedding in Chicago with a bunch of very old men, polkaing isn’t really a skill one needs. But, my first year, there was another girl in the program, who taught me how to smoke pot, and who could also polka.
We got on well, I thought, because we both had unusual middle names and could polka. I guess now, looking back and thinking about how she took me out for coffee and asked me to run away with her, she thought there were other reasons.
(Ah, strange and artsy women of the world who have strange and artsy boyfriends, if you’re going to come on to me, you have to be more blunt about it. I’ve lead a sheltered life.)
Still, I’ve noticed that there are certain things I do well when drunk that I simply cannot do sober. I can’t speak Russian sober and I can’t polka sober. But put a little liquor in me and I’m all asking folks to polka with me in Russian.
So, you can imagine, at Miss J.’s wedding, when the boy the Divine Ms. B. was seeing whipped me out onto the dance floor and proceeded to polka with me, I was delighted! There’s something about a polka-dancing boy that lets you know that, later on when all the girls are floating naked under the night sky, if there’s only one boy with the guts to take his clothes off and get in the pool, it’s going to be the boy who can polka*.
*Hmm. I may be conflating two nights. For some reason, I remember Miss J. being there, but not her lover, and certainly she wasn’t going to come swimming with us without her brand new husband the night of her wedding. Anyway, let’s not put too much stock in the veracity of this memory, then.