Pew?

by Jonah

I’ve been extraordinarily happy today. Cheerful, even. It could be the
chilling Edgar Allen Poe story I was listening to on tape on the way to
school this morning. Somehow listening to something so demented, so
depressing, so devilish puts me in a good mood. Or it could be that it was a
gorgeous day. Or that my birthday is tomorrow, and I’m excited. I kept
asking people I met, “Do you know what today is?” and “Have you seen the
comet?” My psychology test was too easy. Well, no, it was a good test, but
I knew all the answers. If I get anything wrong on it, I’ll be surprised. I
was the second person to finish. Usually I’m one of the last people to leave
the room during a test because I take my time. But I was confident, so I
just up and smugly left the 50 or 60 odd people still laboring over the exam.
Jaymz caught up with me outside. He was in a cheerful mood too. He’s got a
more mischievous demeanor than I thought. I also thought of him as the quiet
type, but he started talking about being in high school and playing poker and
chess in pre physics/chemistry class.

Even a trip to Food World couldn’t dampen my spirits on the way home despite
the fact that I seem to have lost my wallet. Although I invariably seem
destined to get at least one of the items on the list wrong.

Hmm… how very odd. Someone just rapped at my window. I pulled back the
partially closed curtain to reveal Nathan peering at me from the other side
of the glass. This might not seem odd, except that my room is on the second
floor. “You gonna elope with someone tonight?” he asked. I pulled back the
curtain further. He was standing on a ladder leaning against the side of the
house. I wonder if The Shadow Demon has been around lately.

Mom is in a cheerful mood as well, which is always nice. I think going to
the opera last night helped. She doesn’t get out as much as she should.
She’s downstairs now practicing her scales on the piano. She’s going to
audition on Wednesday for something, I can’t remember exactly what. It’s
like a big recital where a bunch of piano teachers play at the same time. Or
something. She’s real excited about it. She’s playing a Bach fugue and
something else. Maybe something by Beethoven.

Anyway, I was in a good mood today when I came home, lugging my things
upstairs. I used to just dump my purse, bookbag, and jacket behind the easy
chair in the den whenever I came home, exchanging my books later. But then
my grandmother had a stroke, and every little thing seemed to tick my parents
off, especially things lying around the house. So now I habitually take
everything upstairs first thing when I get home. As I performed this ritual
today, I looked through my sunglasses at the pile of stuff for me to take
upstairs lying on one of the steps. Added to the assortment of things were
three new envelopes. I picked them up and continued to ascend. Once in my
room, I looked at them more closely. One caught my attention. It was from
the Pew Younger Scholars Program. Determining to open my mail later, I threw
the letters onto my bed and strode back downstairs to further empty the car
of its contents.

I stayed up almost all night sometime last week preparing the applications
for a couple of things that might happen this summer. One of them was the
Pew Younger thingy. It’s a research type course for three weeks in May or
June at Notre Dame. Dr. Schaefer made an announcement about it in class, and
I sent off a card from a placard he’d been sent to hang up at school. The
information I received in response was of a program divided into several
interesting looking categories. Participants would receive a certain amount
of money for transportation,

Crap. I just got on maf, was fooling around with finger, and hit q for some
reason. It said, really quit lynx? I panicked and hit b, missing n by one
key, and it logged me off. Ah well. No one was on anyway, and I found out
what I wanted to know. I was complaining to Paul this morning about not
being able to delete when he said, “Zterm?” I nodded, yeah, I use Zterm.
“Rubout,” he said, “You need rubout.” Sure enough.
___
that half hour pause was me making lady bug chicken after mom yelled that
whoever was in charge of doing it better get it done NOW.
___

Anway, so I have backspace now. Thptptptptptptp….

Where was I.. Okay. Participants in the Pew Youngers thingamagigy would get
like 250 bucks for transportation up there and then a stipend of like 700
something dollars. Plus, I think all the books, fees, meals, and room were
provided. Good deal, right? I thought so. So I applied and all, sent in a
couple of writing samples (a paper on Madam Bovary, which I’ve been thinking
about sending to you, and one comparing Hamlet with the existential
philosopher Soren Kierkegaard), and managed to mail it a couple of days before
the due date.

So here it is, only about a week and a half later that I’m getting a letter
from them. Possibilities rushed through my mind. I thought of the nastiest
no-we-don’t-want-you-in-our-program letter I could think of and then
hurriedly slit the envelope open before my imagination came up with anything
more rosy. I forced my eyes to read the contents quickly.

Dear Joanna:

We received your application to our Summer Seminar program, but regret to
inform you that you are ineligible for application because you have not
attended one of the 173 small Christian colleges and universities that our
program targets.

If you have any questions concerning which schools may or may not be
eligible, feel free to call our office.

Thank you for your interest in our program.

Sincerely,

the administrative assistant

Well, I’m not disappointed. Just annoyed. Maybe even a little angry. I
didn’t expect to be accepted in the program. Just thought I’d give whatever
opportunity that presented itself to me a shot and see what turned up.
Rejection letters are a part of life. But this is stupid. I’m fairly
certain that Schaefer doesn’t put up any placards unless the people who send
them to him ask him to. If this is true, then they sent UM a thing that UM
students aren’t even eligible for. That just irks me. I mean, it would have
been okay if they said they didn’t want me, but now after all this they’re
saying that I don’t even go to an eligible school. That’s plain silly.
Argh. Okay. I’m a bit more than a little mad, now that I think about it.
To think that I stayed up all night sweating about this (okay, maybe I
stayed up most of the night chatting on the internet and then eventually got
around to getting the stuff together).

I guess this is one of those cases when I get upset. Mad. Injustice. Not
that it’s a big deal or anything. I’m obviously not meant to go there, and
that’s okay. But it bothers me. I’ll show it to Schaefer. He should know
anyway.

Ah well. It doesn’t really bother me that much. I just had to vent a bit.

Anyway, that’s one more option eliminated for this summer. I wonder what
I’ll eventually end up doing?

There’s something ironic about dead flowers. We surround ourselves with
flowers perhaps to remind ourselves of life. Color. Vivacity. The dead
magnolia is sitting still perched in its empty vase on my desk. Its red hues
are slowly morphing into a dryish brown. Its mottled appearance isn’t as
pretty as it once was. Yet its appeal is even greater for me now. It’s
looking more like death, and perhaps that is why it appears even more
beautiful to me. Death.

Death.

I handed the letter I got today to Nathan. He got mad. “Write ’em!
Complain!”

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