At the end of the school year, once I got all my projects done and I was free and clear, I did some fun stuff. I went on two camping trips. One of them was at the end of an 18-mile bike trip to Newton, Iowa, with my friend Ethan. The weather was perfect that day, and I finally got to exercise my legs after making them stay tame and asleep for most of the semester. I got all the way there with no problem except that I was slowing down toward the end. Ethan’s a cross-country runner, so he was fine the whole time. We camped in a farmer’s field, hidden by rises from view of the farmhouse or the nearby road, and tested out a woodburning camp stove that I made this winter out of tin cans. It toasted our bagels rather nicely until we ran out of sticks. We were disinclined to burn the undoubtedly chemical-ridden cornstalks on the ground. In the morning we got up and I went to the train yard and saw only the back end of the morning train as it left. So, sadly, I had to follow Ethan, who’d left about 45 minutes earlier, back to the college. On the way, my bike broke a lot and I had to walk it up the hills. But there are few things I would rather have done than gone on that trip.
One such thing, though, might have been the camping trip I did the night before it, because on that camping trip I was with a girl. We lay in the grass and looked up at the stars. About this no more will I say. It’s just a shame that we had our first and only camping trip so late in the year. I mean, classes were already over. Now it’s summer and I won’t even be back in college until next January.
To the present day: I finally got everything worked out. I’m leaving for New York tonight by Amtrak at 3:29 a.m.. Then I’m staying with a guy I know from college, Darwin. He’s a first-year and works for the newspaper. That’s his given name. I’m staying with him for all but 16 days; I don’t know where I’ll be then, but I have 24 days to figure it out starting when I get there. I also emailed the company I’ll be working with, and got my first assignment, one that I’ll have done when I come in for my first day of work. I believe it’s about the same thing as I’ll be doing for most of my time there. I’m given a novel that was submitted, and I have to report back about it and say why they should publish it, or, far more likely, why they shouldn’t. I also write a rejection letter about a paragraph long that the company sends to the agent who submitted the book for its author. And then I get a new novel. I don’t know how many novels I’ll be dealing with per week. I’m working two days in the office (Mondays and Fridays) and two days from home (Tuesdays and Thursdays). Which means I’ll have free time. I’ll use some of that on a side job that I’ll get—I’m still planning on trying out being a bike messenger. I imagine that if I do that I might want a little time to get used to the city before I go asking for such a job. People have told me that New York is incredibly hostile to biking, but I searched online to verify that, and I found that an agency of some sort ranked it as the 8th most bike-friendly city in the nation out of 50 that it examined. So maybe I’ll do okay.
I think I’ll have fun in New York. Park Slope, where I’m staying, is supposed to be a really nice part of Brooklyn. Apparently Prospect Park has plays in it just like the more distant Central park does. And other fun stuff. I’ll have plenty to explore there. I don’t know quite what to expect there, but the 5 million people there must be staying for some reason. I imagine it’s pretty bearable, even though Dad says, “I’d rather chew broken glass than go to New York.”
I’ve also had a fun, oh, five days at home. I caught up with Aaron and Keith and we went out and acted like loons on Thursday. I’m not sure, but I think Keith probably always acts like a loon. What’s a good example quote from that day? We passed a large woman on the street and Keith said, “That’s how I like ’em! Large and afraid of their own shadows!” No one could figure out why he compared her to a groundhog. I doubt he knew.
I also got to go out to eat with Grandma & Grandpa at the Grand Finale, which was delicious and too much food. Grandma gave me some ginger snaps to make New York a bit more tasty. I’ve been reading a little, and spending time with the folks. But it’s really not much time to spend here. Micah and I didn’t even get to take a creekwalk that we were going to take—but we’re going to do it in August.
By the way, I’m out of school for the longest I’ve been out since I was four years old. Fun commences tonight with my Amtrak journey. People say I’m always talking about things I’m going to do in the future, and I don’t do things in the here & now. But I did those camping trips, darn sure, and now I’m going to the most active city in the country, where I’ll never lack for something fun to do. I do have fun, and now that I have eight months of time with nary a college obligation, you’d better believe I’m going to be having tons more.