Photo by Bev Lloyd-Roberts LRPS
- You have the means and motivation to buy Poptarts in bulk, but exercise enough self-control to only buy small boxes at a time. You understand, on some level, that this habit is more expensive over time, but it shields you from the judging eyes of perceptive cashiers who can tell, somehow, that you are not buying that family-sized pack of pastries for a family of four.
- You filed taxes this year because your mom set up a Turbotax account for you, and then on April 14th when she asked how they went, you groaned sonorously from the couch. She ended up filing everything for you and getting a decent return because, as she said, you filed as an independent this year, a statement that carried such a great amount of irony that you laughed and laughed and laughed.
- You applied for a service industry job to get some “life experience in the trenches,” and expected to work with some high school punks slinging coffee beans like they’re hot, or whatever. Instead you were faced with mirrored images of you — other postgrads who had applied years ago, back when the largest drink size was a venti, and remained because the benefits were good and pay was decent. You also work with a few punks who are actually reasonably good kids trying to get themselves through college and out of, and then back into, this spin-cycle of minimum wage perpetuity. You actually enjoy your work until around the third month, when a kindly customer asks about your future plans and you say you’re getting ready to go to graduate school/a salaried job/the Peace Corps soon, even though you haven’t done much more than click over to Stanford.edu and glare.
- You visit your college and grab a drink with friends who have yet to graduate, and when they ask about postgrad life you sip slowly from a dark beer and ponder the question. A cigarette (lit or unlit, nothing matters anymore) is in your hand. They repeat the question because you haven’t said anything for a solid minute. You sip again and cough because that sip was all foam. Instead of replying you get up, drop a number of bills on the table that may or may not have equaled your total, and consider the idea that everything is ahead of you, that you’ve studied and graduated without quite knowing what you were preparing for, that your entire life is composed of a series of choices that rest largely on your shoulders and that you either need to start choosing now or remain behind the register forever.
- You buy a family-size pack of Poptarts and eat them in your car because you goddamn can.