Classless in college
Every once in a while I like to delude myself into thinking that I’m classy. In my imagination, I’m the type that wakes up early, takes a cup of coffee to the porch to read the paper while petting my cat. I retire every evening to my linen-tableclothed dining room, where I drink a crystal glass of crisp white wine and respond to handwritten letters. Occasionally, I’ll pick up a hat and basket and stroll to the market to choose vegetables for the week, treating myself to a cheese Danish, or perhaps a bunch of tulips.
It wasn’t until last night that I realized this fantasy has no basis in reality. Maybe it was something someone said, or a stray thought that grabbed my attention, but I took a moment to really evaluate myself.
Not only was I wearing a pair of dirty sweatpants pulled above my belly button, but I had a family-size bag of chips half-eaten, spilling greasy crumbs all down my front. I was reaching for a giant bottle of soda to swig down another mouthful, lazily propping my feet up as I debated cartoons with my brother. I was annoyed because my fingers were too dirty to be recognized by my iPhone. I was the archetype of a classless troll.
My instant reaction was denial. I don’t normally look like this! It’s a special occasion! It’s … because … I … well, I’ll tell you later! But there’s a reason, I swear! I’m different! I’m classy!
Of course, it wasn’t long until I began to question my way of life. How long had it been like this? Was it always this way? When did I start changing? Was it when I started eating food in bed, affirming that my main goal in life was to be as close to sleep as possible? Was it when I stopped buying organic soup mix and started getting the discount doughnuts at the grocery? Or was it even further back than that? In middle school I didn’t brush my hair very much … should I have known then? Or did it all start when I was convinced that overalls were the correct choice for school pictures — several years in a row — in elementary school?
The gloom carried into the next morning, when I sat down to breakfast. My dad and brother made crêpes with spinach and mushroom filling and a hollandaise glaze. I know — classy, right? My mom asked what other kinds of fillings could go into crêpes. My boyfriend quickly rattled off a list: truffles, Brie cheese, prosciutto, etc. I thanked the stars that I held my tongue, because my list was going to include Nutella and a whipped cream dipping sauce. The class disparity was evident.
At that moment I resolved that things would be different. I would actually do something or another to my hair once in a while. I would use a napkin when I ate my bag of chips. I would occasionally read the newspaper so I could have something intelligent to talk about — just as soon as I was done debating the best element to bend in “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”
But if I’m honest, I’ve been wearing those same crumb-covered sweatpants for 20 hours at this point, and they weren’t the freshest smelling pants to begin with. And, by the way, five in the afternoon isn’t too late to shower, is it? Let me just finish this box of Oreos, first …
Emily’s column runs biweekly Wednesdays. She can be reached at email@example.com.