So I have gone back to college.
Which is to say, I am taking one class.
Which probably means that I really haven’t gone back to college, in the true sense of the phrase, but simply that I am enhancing my knowledge in one specific area.
Specifically, Photo Shop.
My friend, Missi, and I are quite good at burning up a memory card with the amount of snapshots that we take, and after studying a good load of photography blogs, we have decided that we are fully capable of dressing our own little punks up in cute outfits and posing them in trendy spots for priceless photo-ops, but what we lacked was the knowledge to then toss those snapshots into Photo Shop and enhance them to a level of pure brilliance. Somehow, we both ended up with the Photo Shop program on our computers at home, but we were completely unable to achieve anything significant when we sat down to use it.
It was sort of like Dumb and Dumber, or even the blind leading the blind, as we’d email back and forth and say things like, “Dude, can you fade a photograph out to make it look like it was taken in 1971?”
And actually, it’s Missi who calls me Dude, because Missi calls everyone Dude. I gave up the lingo when I quit surfing.
Which is to say, I never actually picked up the lingo, because I have never surfed, as I have issues with being eaten by Jaws while I’m on a fiberglass board decorated with floral artwork.
So, with our admitted lack of photo editing skillz, Missi and I talked our friend, Susan, into joining us, and the three of us made the pilgrimage down to the local community college, we signed some paperwork, and we paid extravagant fees. By doing these things, we became college girls.
And really, when I walked in to register, the woman behind the desk informed me that I’d have to declare a major, and so I said, “Pre-med.” And she simply looked at me, sized up the fact that I wasn’t 18 years old, and I could tell that she was thinking to herself, “Honey, it’s a little late in life to start that!” Sometimes the women behind the desks in a college registration office have a sense of humor that looks like my Starbucks cup.
Because I had no idea what to declare as my major, and because the humorless woman gave me the look that clearly told me that pre-med just wasn’t going to work, I scribbled down Art on my paperwork, and those three little letters turned me into an art major.
As the weeks progressed, and we neared the time of our first class, I waltzed into the local shopping center and bought myself the absolute cutest notebook that the discount store sold. It was trendy — very trendy — with a gigantic, abstract pink flower emblazoned on the front of it that shouted out, “This girl is an art major, and because she is an art major, she knows how to pick a quality notebook for all the necessary note taking.”
And then I quickly texted Susan and Missi, and I said, “Dude (which was me teasing Missi and her surfer dialect), I totally bought a rad notebook for class!”
Susan instantly texted back and said, “Wow! I totally forgot that I’d need to get a notebook. Crud. I have to buy one.” This, naturally, made me snicker, because clearly I was more in tune with college life than Susan, if she couldn’t even remember to buy a notebook.
And then Missi completely burst my self-righteous bubble (which was a good thing, as the good Lord above doesn’t usually smile upon bubbles floating high with self-righteousness), and she texted back, “Aren’t you just going to bring your laptop to class and skip the notebook?”
This is where I went slack-jawed with sheer surprise, as I had never once considered that today’s college student totes a personal laptop in a messenger bag from class to class. After that thought passed through my mind, I began to panic, because my Photo Shop program isn’t even loaded on the laptop, because I love my enormous desk computer, and that, people, is where I do everything.
At dinner that night, as I was quickly snarfing a sandwich and getting ready to fluff my hair a bit and leave for class, I told Hubs, “Missi is bringing her laptop to class. Do you think I should load Photo Shop onto the laptop and bring it with me?”
(And when I said, “Do you think I should load Photo Shop,” I really meant should Hubs just do it, because Hubs is the resident computer guru, and I tend to be the resident computer zombie, who stares at computers with glazed-over eyeballs and wonders why mine never seems to work as wonderfully as I would want it to.)
Hubs shrugged, which means that Hubs was barely paying attention to me, because he was checking hockey scores.
I quickly fired off a text to my friend, Cody, who actually IS a full-fledged college student, because Cody seems to have had a mid-life crisis and has decided to switch careers in the middle of her lifespan. Naturally, switching careers entails some higher education courses, like Holocaust Literature, and tricky algebra equations, so Cody is currently fluent with the ins and outs of going to school on a daily basis.
She texted back and said, “Why would you need a laptop in a class that is taught in a computer lab?”
HA! I rejoiced over that news, and quickly announced to Hubs, “Missi has no idea what she’s doing! She doesn’t need her laptop, because this class is taught in a computer lab!” And I smirked.
And Hubs, bless his heart, looked up from the hockey scores he was perusing and frowning over and asked me, “Have you ever licked a shopping cart?”
People, sometimes Hubs and his outrageous way of thinking leaves me with no comment.
Hubs elaborated by saying, “If you have your own computer, take it. You don’t know what’s on those computer keyboards.” All of this from a man who is the farthest thing from a germ freak as you can get. He’s the one who encourages the boy to swim in the muddy irrigation ditches, climb in the fast food play lands with bare feet, and rip apart owl pellets to find little skeletons inside of them. Hubs has no problems with germs, and he even embraces germs, so this statement was a bit of an eye opener.
In the end, I didn’t take my laptop, and all was well. Missi didn’t even end up dragging hers out of her backpack, because the class is taught in a computer lab. And we used the lab’s computers. And next week we’re planning to take a field trip to the local Wal-Mart to lick shopping cart handles just for fun. Hopefully, Missi will go first on that one.
Missi picked Susan and I up before class started, so that we could all hold hands and walk into class together, as any group of girls does. We learn to go in packs like this in the 5th grade, and we never look back. If one of us is going somewhere, we all go together. It’s the Girl Code. If Girl A needs to tinkle in the bathroom, then Girls B, C, D and W go with her, regardless of the fact that no one else has to tinkle, and that Girl D just went to the bathroom eight minutes earlier with Girls E, F, and M. We girls stick together, whether it’s a quick trip to potty or a trek across campus to a first class. It’s what sets us apart from our male counterparts, as Boy A will always go to the bathroom alone, and Boy B will not even think about going in there until Boy A has finished his business and left.
The best part, though, was that Missi picked us up in her mini van, and she had to rearrange car seats, so that we could ride with her. After she’d swung a car seat or two around, she stood up and declared, “Did you ever, in your wildest dreams, imagine yourself going to college in a mini van?!” And then the giggles erupted. Clearly, the answer was no. Nope. I never envisioned arriving at class in a mini van, equipped with three car seats and forty-seven cup holders. When I went to college the first time, I rode my mountain bike everywhere and kept my water bottle in the lone cup holder on the side of my backpack.
As we were walking to class, Missi announced, “Dave asked me if I was really going to take a backpack to class, when I only have ONE class, and it’s a class that probably won’t require a lot of notes, and I looked at him, and I said, ‘Honey, it’s either the backpack or the diaper bag.'”
And for some reason, this made the three of us laugh even harder.
As we walked across campus, admitting to one another that we felt some butterflies of nervousness and loudly declaring to one another that we would be trying out for the cheerleading squad and campaigning for student body president in the local coffee lounge, we decided that it was a bit flustering to return to school as a non-traditional student. We laughed about sitting in the front row, asking ninety-three questions per hour, and completely throwing the bell curve off with our outstanding grades, which is exactly what non-traditional students did back when we didn’t go to class in a mini van. We were fully prepared to be the oldest kids in the class.
And low! Sometimes God’s sense of humor just blesses us richly, because when we arrived, Susan and Missi and I discovered that there are only two (count ’em: one, two!) students who are younger than we are. Everyone else was definitely older than fifty-five, and this made us burst into giggles, too. Here we were, the three of us basically holding hands for support as we returned to college as non-traditional students, and we were the most traditional students the classroom had to offer.
(Besides that, we had the best looking hair in the classroom. But I don’t want to brag.)
Later that night, as I was gushing on and on about my Photo Shop class and college experience to Hubs, I told him, “And just listen! Everyone, except for two people, is…like…way older than we are. Way, way older! Isn’t that just great?”
Hubs looked at me and said, “Honey, it’s a night class. And college kids don’t take night classes, because that’s when they go out drinking. Young college students go to school during the daytime hours. Night classes are for old people who are trying to learn a specific skill, like Photo Shop.”
I think next semester I’ll ride in the mini van to my next class: How to Live With Your Husband and Not Stomp On Him.