I have chanced upon a small group of intellectually superior women, The Progressive Young Women’s Book Club of Santa Monica. I had been excited for 2 whole weeks, hurriedly reading the chosen title, “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman. I brought my mozzarella, tomato and olive medley (we were instructed to bring a snack) along with a bottle of wine to one of the member’s house.
We did small introductions and waited for more members (that didn’t come) before launching into the book. We strayed from the topic at hand for a majority of the meeting, instead focusing on political events, recent cultural elements and most importantly, our personal lives. I learned that one woman was a professor at Santa Monica College and a recent foster mother. The group’s leader was attending a rigorous boot camp daily, volunteering with handicapped children on weekends and pursuing her doctrate, or no maybe now it’s her PHD… and the other girl described her experience in obtaining a Masters and then told us that she worked for the city of Malibu in housing permits. At one point I dumbly thought that I was on the same page and complained about my student loans, to which they all responded “for an undergrad? Oh, you should never have to pay on student loans for an undergrad!” Not to mention for an undergrad from a college no one has heard of! (why did I even go to college? The Zoo bar?) Then it was my turn; How old are you? ’25, yeah, yeah not exactly fresh out of college.’ What do you do? ‘I work at a Bariatric Physician’s office in Beverly Hills, yeah a weight-loss center, no, no, I’m the front desk, and no I don’t have health benefits’ (this launches us all into a tirade of the shit healthcare system). Well, what is it that you want to do? (oh no.. I don’t know that answer) ‘Umm, everything, I’m still trying to figure that out…(wow, impressive, hurry and redeem yourself) I spent last year living in Spain, working.’ (This gets approving nods, thank God) But what did you study? ‘Gee, everything, ya know I just didn’t know… it’s like, well I’m not sure if this happens to you, but inspiration and insight always hit me at night so that I can’t sleep because I’m so excited but by morning I’m tired and completely uninspired or motivated…’ (blank stares) So what did you study? ‘Oh right, sorry. (laughter) I was an art major, then PR and finally ended up with a degree in Corporate Communications’. They all mumble, “corporate communications.” “What’s that?” “Yeah, I don’t even know what that is,” says the professor. I give them my standard definition, ‘It’s an umbrella of advertising, marketing, public relations and human resources.’ But what do you do with that….(work at a fat clinic, duh). Group leader suggests I look into fundraiser positions. “Have you ever fundraised?” Yes, I did participate in a few Kappa car washes, but images of my younger fundraising days quickly entered my head (every time our school had a candy bar fundraiser my mom would have to write a check to the school because I’d eat all my bars and not sell any. One time we were selling giftwrap for a school fundraiser and I collected the orders and money from some neighbors, threw away the orders and bought candy at Walgreens with the money). But I’m adult and have a handle on my candy consumption so maybe she was right… I could fundraise? We end up on a conversation about a recent NPR story because one of the members admittedly states, “it’s the only station I listen to and I don’t have a tv so I listen at home too.” (God bless her) Luckily I just so happen to have been listening to NPR and proudly offered my input. 1 point for me.
The evening moves on and I get my fill of fresh veggies on the table (good thing I didn’t bring pizza rolls) and wine is involved so I’m happy. We somehow end up on the topic of Law & Order SVU episodes. The group leader shares a story involving a family member that was later made into an episode. I tell them that my mom isn’t allowed to watch that show because afterwards she calls me freaking out about how I’m gonna get raped, blah, blah, blah. I share with them a creepy story (one my mom called to tell me about, after making sure I was locking my door and not talking to neighbors) about a girl who is raped and murdered. When my story is over they decide our meeting is finished….
Our next meeting, for the new book we’re reading, will be in one month’s time.
Maybe I can a) secure a Masters, b) get a job with a non-profit or c) become a famous writer before then.
And hopefully I’ll be invited back.