Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Wooster Camaraderie

Well, I moved. And now I don't have wireless for a while. Which has been really nice. Mainly because I can't do anything that requires the internet, so I have enjoyed it, as I am a little addicted to the internet. And because of the move and lack of wireless, I have not blogged. And I won't have it for a few more days. It's strange because I only moved up two floors and I was always able to access other wireless connections. Oh well. I have been doing other things to pass the time. Like going out to dinner with a stranger I met.

Well, not really a stranger. Outside of my office the other day, a car was parked with a "College of Wooster Alumni" sticker, which I also happen to have on my car. For those not familiar with Wooster, (not pronounced like "Rooster"), it is a small, liberal arts college in a town called Wooster, Ohio. Most people I know haven't heard of it. When I attended, it had a college attendance of 1700. Well known for it's Independent Study program, mainly a year-long thesis that is then defended to a team of professors and also famous for its' bagpipers, Wooster was recently featured in a cover story in a "New York Times" article about colleges that are creatively cutting costs. And boy, was I proud of my alma mater!

Besides my graduate school pals and such, most people I know did not spend Sundays in a cubicle in the college library, madly doing research for their senior thesis. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. And yes, my little thesis title is still on the bottom of my resume.

Now, this car in front of my office. I ran out to put a note on the windshield with my contact information. As I ran back outside, the driver was getting in. After exchanging some information about where we are from and why we are in Madison, I told this young woman I would help her find a job and gave her my e-mail address.

We had dinner the other night. She is engaged to her College of Wooster sweetheart. Did I think for maybe one minute to invite my sweetheart? No. Not really. After learning the hard way that you do not include people who are not affiliated with the College of Wooster, I was not about to bring along my boyfriend who I hadn't seen in days.

Wooster has something about it that non-attendees just don't get. There is that "Wooster Camaraderie" thing going on. Completely segregated from the "townies," it's A "bubble" of its' own. And if you didn't experience it, you won't get it. And you will feel completely left out.

Eight years out and I still have a special place for Wooster in my heart. Meeting with this Wooster couple, two recent grads, we spent an hour and a half discussing dorms, the dining hall, parents weekend, building myths and structures, Stan Hales and more.

What is it about this college that makes it so special? I don't know. It's just special. I wish I could explain it to you. We all experienced the beauty of the campus, the distinguished buildings, the "there's nothing to do" binge drinking, the random restaurant selections, the drive-through liquor stores, the UG, Georgia at Lowry, Short order, Mom's Truckstop, Java Hut, naked runs through the snow, filling Kauke Arch, "The Voice," and more. A real bond.

And it's mine. It is my connection. They are my memories. And it reminds me a lot of my life now. The memories I am making with my friends in this small, compact city. Except this time, I am not the student in the bubble. I went to a bar for one beer last night, and it was filling up with the returning college students. "Are we townies," I asked my friend. "Yes, we are." he said....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bittersweet Move

When I moved into my own place at the end of last summer, I knew I probably would only stay in it one year. This is the first time I have lived alone in so long, and while I love it, I wanted something cheaper and it was hard to find something quickly with a dog. So now Scout and I are moving into something a lot cheaper in the same "fancy" building, 2 floors up.

And when I talked about minimizing things, I am so thankful that I took my own advice! After being a junk collector as a kid (my mom said our cleaning lady found a sandwich under my bed), I have nothing but the bare minimum and I love it. Especially while moving.

When you have the basics, you hardly have anything that you need to throw out. So far, I have gotten rid of a pot holder and a pie pan. I use everything else on a regular basis, which really tells you how little I have.

But it is sad to move out of my "first" place. I have truly lost count of how many times Scout and I have moved. She's all I have. And she's been through everything with me. And I do feel bad for her because she knows the drill now. Mom starts clearing the bookshelf and emptying out the closet - where are we going now? But she has always adjusted well. She's a very sweet dog.

And even though I am only moving two floors up, I am walking away from a memory. Nostalgic I am. This is where I made my first farmer's market meal for my new friends. Where we sat in front of the fireplace, drinking red wine, watching a snow storm. Where we people watched one Saturday afternoon with the binoculars. Where my boyfriend and I grew to know each other. Where my family came over for a meal.

So now we will make some more memories on the fourth floor of the same building.

If you aren't familiar, August 15th is an infamous date in Madison, Wisconsin. It's all over the news - moving day. Students are back. The funny part of the infamy is that many people must be out at a certain time, and are "homeless" for a night. It's going to be crazy. But fun.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The State of the Economy

I am in my sweats and sneakers. And a tank top. Sitting in the back of a bar. Where two of my friends are convinced that their places of employment are cutting funds resulting in the loss of their jobs. In the meantime, I am blogging and they are on my laptop, working on my social media stuff.

I have had a long day. I was at work a long time. I woke up at six. I have to run in the morning. My poor dog has hardly had me around in the past twenty four hours, which is the only reason I left work. She got to the park, but then I left immediately to help my friends who think they are victims of the economy. But the economy is ok here.

Compared to many other places in the United States, we are semi-protected. We have the state jobs and there are plenty of corporations surviving this hardship. So I guess I was disgusted when people asked me why I was moving here in the first place. Besides the obvious, the suffering is not as sad. There are jobs.

And I wasn't around when anyone could consult. That was when I was in high school and the early years of my college life. You could learn how to write HTML and charge a ridiculous rate. I never knew this feeling.

So here we are, at the back of this bar. And those two are still flipping out about their job stability while working on my crap. And I am here doing this. And the other two girls nearby are playing pool, talking about how they are going to grad school.

Did you hear about the 27 year old girl who is suing her college because she graduated with a degree in information technology and she cannot find a job? Driving to work this morning, listening to NPR, I heard about this gal. So, she wants them to reimburse her for her tuition? What has our country come to? Face reality, girl. It's not 1999! Why do we always have to blame someone else?

Or maybe she can move to Madison, Wisconsin which seems a ok - compared to the rest. Or maybe, because she studied Information Systems, her job is oversees - I dunno.

Are we at the bottom? Who knows. Since I graduated from college, I have heard that we are "bottoming out" for a while. And I graduated college in '02. Automobiles and houses are so flat right now that they won't be steering us out of the recession at a rapid pace.

But again, I would have to say that something happened in Madison that I was not used to: I came to visit in June of 2008 to determine if I wanted to move here. In the three days I was here, a house went on the market while I was visiting and when I moved here one week later, it was contingent with two offers on it...... and it closed two weeks later.

It will only get better from here.