Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Drafting Table, a Chair, and Some Books -- Part I

I've wanted to tell this story for a long time, but the sheer length of it made it daunting. I've decided to try something new to take a swipe at it -- a serial! How exciting! Let's just hope my ADD and/or procrastination doesn't kick in and I can actually finish this tale in a couple daily installments...

Those of you who know me personally may know of my love of backstory. Those of you close to me, know that the backstory rarely involves the linear short cut between two points and instead involves a rambling, sometimes incohorent path resembling Billy's footprint trecks through his Family Circle neighborhood -- sucking in family members, friends, and their tangential relationships along the way.

Anyone who actually made it through the previous paragraph should not be surprised by this.

Now where was I?

Picture it: North Plainfield, NJ, December 1995. I've been rebuffed by several medical schools (I made it onto a couple waiting lists, which is shocking to me in retrospect. Apparently, I used to be somewhat smart. Just not smart enough). My best friend, Lauren, and her then-boyfriend, Mike, live in Northern NJ, where I work with Lauren's mother, Sue.

[See, there I go. The med school waiting list thing wasn't necessary and pointing out that I work with Lauren's mother is ridiculous and has almost no relevance to the story. I appreciate your patience, all the while wondering why on earth you're still reading. You can do better.]

OK. I live in Central Jersey, Lauren and Mike live in Northern Jersey, and I've been accepted into a Masters program in Richmond, VA. Ohhhh...that's where the med school comment came from...

I deferred my entrance into the program until January 1996 and Lauren and I concocted the following plan: she had a friend, Donna, who was hip and brilliant and talented and a city girl, who INEXPLICABLY found herself living in Chesapeake, VA with her girlfriend. Now that I live down here, I'm even more shocked by this -- Chesapeake?! As happens with most lesbian relationships in the Hampton Roads area, they broke up. ;)

See? Backstory. Haven't mentioned the plan yet. No, go back and look. Sigh.

I needed to register for classes in Richmond and Donna needed help getting some things from Chesapeake to Brooklyn, NY, where she was set to move into an apartment. She told Lauren she had a drafting table, a chair, and some books. I left Central Jersey around 4:30 am one Saturday morning and drove up to Northern Jersey. Lauren, Mike, and I piled into Lauren's Honda Civic -- with their dog, Roth, and drove to Richmond, in time for the very small window during which the Registrar's Office would be open on a Saturday. I registered, then we continued down to Chesapeake to retrieve Donna and her few things. She had rented a small U-Haul and Mike was going to drive it north.

Thus concludes Chapter 1. To be continued...