Dreams of Youth

The best thing you have going for you is your willingness to humiliate yourself.

-Greg Kinnear to Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets

Along that theme and feeling that humor is much needed these days, here, for your reading enjoyment, is the first paper I wrote in English 101 for Dr. Sroka. The topic (or prompt as we now call them) was: write about your dream future and the more realistic alternative.

   It is a typical March day in New York City. The partially melted three-day-old snow lies in frigid, foreboding puddles carefully scattered across the pavement for maximum inconvenience. I walk slowly pickign my way through the dismal ponds of slush, trying carefully to avoid getting anything on my suede Gucci's. A quick glance at my diamond encrusted Piaget (a thoughtful present from my handsome, extravagant husband, for our third anniversary) tells me that I am ten minutes late for my monthly editors' meeting. I decide that while a walk is good for my figure, a cab is better for my job.

   After carelessly tipping the cabbie twenty dollars I hurry into the modern thirty-story building in front of me. It is here that I head one of the greatest fashion magazines in the world, Vogue. Although I started out as a photographer and stylist, I soon progressed to heading the styling department and from there a complete take-over was easy. I run my organization with cool, calculated efficiency and do not tolerate incompetence from any of my staff.

   Once our meeting is over (of course, they couldn't start without me) I spend the rest of the morning touring each of the individual departments, all of whom are busily preparing for our upcoming April issue. I suggest lighting changes for the photographers; adjust a simple Halston tunic on a reed-like model who smiles graciously and re-assumes her position against a stark black background; call for more eyeliner on a sloe-eyed blonde with bones like a timeless Italian sculpture; and finally, phone my beloved husband the lawyer to confirm our reservations for tonight at Maxim's where we will enjoy a night of romantic atmosphere, gourmet cuisine, and later on, dancing and socializing with New York's elite, of which we are a major part.

   My afternoon is spent in a meeting with the heads of the directors' board, smugly showing them the increase in our profit column as well a substantial rise in readership. With that out of the way, I cancel all other appointments, walk the brisk fourteen blocks to the best parking garage in the city, retrieve my forest green, special edition Mercedes 450SL and confidently maneuver my way through the usual traffic messes, out of the city and into the quiet posh suburbs of New York. After a twenty minute drive I pull into our semi-circular drive and surrender my precious vehicle to our all-around houseman. He's the only help we keep on a permanent basis. I do all the cooking and have a tiny Spanish woman who comes in every week to clean and help out with parties.

   I dress with special care for dinner wanting to look my best for my husband, Jade. He is a tall, black haired, green eyed devil who first captured my attention at a Harvard swim meet, where he was team captain and all around champion. We dated steadily for two years before deciding to get married. Life since then had been bliss with everything going perfectly.

  The above is my own particular fantasy but I seriously doubt whether it will ever come true. Instead I think it might end up a little less "champagne and roses".

   For instance, the closest to being the editor of Vogue I will ever get is probably gossip columnist for my local newspaper. The town is somewhere in the Midwest, one of those nondescript places you passed through as a child on summer vacation and only remember because it had the Mr. Twisto ice cream stand. My husband will be an earnest, hard working sales manager for Sears, who someday hopes to put a Kenmore in every kitchen. I will spend long days picking lint out of our 10% discount Sears carpet and debating whether or not to serve liver for dinner (after all the kids have to get their iron somewhere). Yes, I will probably have the average two child family complete with slobbering, whining but ever-faithful Fido in the background, surreptitiously trying to drag tonight's entree into the garage. My children will insufferably spoiled namely because I, in desperation at having landed this lot in life, will discipline them with bribes and threats of "Wait until your father gets home" (making him about as popular as the bubonic plague).  

   Most likely, I'll spend my evenings with my husband snoring gently in front of the TV, staring forlornly at the perfect glossy faces smirking out at me from the latest issue of Vogue magazine. 


  1. I am so happy that I never wrote an essay like this cause never ever would living in my parents basement enter into what I considered the realm of possibility.

    Great Post!!

  2. Fun post! Even then you knew you wanted to edit and write. And you're not living in the MidWest...

  3. I was almost there living the dream with you!

    If only .... :)

  4. How cool is it to look back on what you wrote then. So, how does either view compare to the real you now?

  5. I love the details in this post all the way down to the tips of my toes which are snug in my Minnetonka Moccasins! (lol!)

    Yes, life can turn out a lot different than we may have envisioned. That, however, may be a very good thing!

    I stumbled on your blog last week and perused through it. I too went through an “identity crisis” after a job loss. It’s been quite an experience.

  6. Alyssa- I hear you. I never thought I'd be 50 and unemployed. I've given up trying to figure it out and am just trying to stay sane via this blog. Thanks for the award!

    Sarah- you and I are enough alike that you'll understand that my favorite thing about this piece is the photo w/ the shoes- which I now desparately desire.

    M Half- I'm not married to a Sears dude, don't have kids or a dog so I was way off on all that. Also, never planned on being unemployed at this stage but I'm rolling with it.

    Pam- I love Minnetonkas! I have a pair as well. Thanks for stopping by!


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