Your high school guidance counselor is
a person who has achieved his full potential.
For non-US residents, the high school guidance counselor is the person whose job is to suggest colleges or universities or courses of study, to set up class schedules, and to process transcripts and applications. They also told your parents that you were not living up to your full potential, seemed unmotivated, and risked not becoming a well-rounded and reliable citizen. In four years of high school and one year of junior high school, I never met anyone who was living up to his full potential.
And so it came to pass that I arrived home one early spring afternoon with a list of the following year's courses, to be presented to a parent for signature. Naturally I had read it before I jumped into the car of the cute guy du jour, and so to everyone's surprise I demanded to be taken straight home. The strategy was obvious - I would wash off the eye makeup, bang out the chores and be found laboring over the trigonometry assignment when Mom got home from work. I thought about putting an opera record on, but refrained.
Mom wasn't fooled for a minute, although years of dealing with woe and wickedness and the puberty of others had blunted her x-Ray vision just a touch. So while she was relieved to know that I wasn't planning to stay out all night, skip school with a rare disease that required days of lab tests, address envelopes for a dubious political campaign, etc. etc., she wasn't thrilled to be reminded that it was schedule time again. Funny how time flies.
This was the nasty surprise on the schedule: instead of Advanced Placement Chemistry I had been assigned to Home Ec. Mom and I supposed this had happened either because of the GC's personal animosity or because he had noticed a vacancy and had filled it the easiest way possible - with an "elective."
Scene: the Guidance Office. I have been instructed not to "pipe up." Thus I listened very carefully, and the conversation is embedded in my brain. I'd actually like to get rid of it and make room for something else, but like cockroaches and corporations, some things have eternal life.
Mom: I'd like a few things explained before I sign off on this. This line, for starters.
GC: She is entering her Junior year. All Juniors are required to take an elective.
Mom: I don't understand, why is it elective if it's required?
GC: Because it's not optional. She has no choice, she has to choose an elective.
The spectacle continued until it lost its power to entertain. In the middle of a discussion about the benefits of Home Ec for someone who had learned to use a sewing machine in 6th grade (this shows you how desperate to entertain a Scout leader can be), and how could there be no openings remaining in AP Chemistry anyway, I produced a note from the chemistry teacher in which he requested that the 4th period class with double lab time be added to my schedule, since the class had 2 open slots.
It was customary to take that Chemistry course and Physics the same year, or if that couldn't be accommodated, very close together. This leads me to my current project, which is related to the time, space and matter continuum.
We leave for London, Paris, Lyon in about 2 weeks and I am determined to fit the necessary clothing into a carry-on, but equally determined not to spend more than half an hour or at most 45 minutes per day obsessing over packing, with occasional time extensions as needed to exhume some things that might fit from the last time I failed to get off the weight from the winter travels in time for the spring excursion. And no, well, minimal, shopping.
I wound up getting a new raincoat, because my very very good one is Extra Long. This is great for protecting the knees and legs in city winters, but even without the lining there's too much of it for the carry-on or the overhead.
I grabbed the J.Crew Bonded Zip Trench, a single-breasted number with a really neat collar, as an alternative. Length is adequate, and fit is fine, except the belt loops are located 1 inch too high.
Here are detailed schematic drawings showing (a) little tab with button, and (b) corresponding little tab with buttonhole. The "complicated" task is to snip thread holding tab to coat, pin tab back on to coat but one inch below previous location, and sew each little end onto coat.
I wonder if I had "elected" to take Home Ec, would I have stayed in touch with at least one of the girls who had really chosen the course? I would have been able to do a good deed and put some probably very needed work her way. ("needed" work because after 4 years of high school Home Ec back in the day and no prospects of further education, would she be employable in today's economy?)
Instead generations of my female ancestors are dropping their haloes and falling off clouds laughing at my efforts to locate a thimble without leaving the house. Cab fare to and from M & J Trimming (and if you come to New York, this place is a must and call me because I love to go there) is out of the question, because I am determined to prove that I can do the "alteration" for nothing.
Alternatively I can return the Bonded Zip Trench - sounds like equipment for an armed bootlegger - and try the Madewell Travel Trench, which looks like bootlegger wear but without the dangerous-sounding name.
Meanwhile, this link will bring you to a good collection of views of trench coats a-travelling. Look how cute the longer coats look.
I think something in my closet is whining.