…because you made the mistake of double-checking your student loan payment date and discovered that somehow, in the past week, your repayment amounts have doubled. Hopefully I can knock those back down to size in the next few days, because otherwise I may have to resort to less savory ways of earning the money to scrape my way up from the black hole of debt that college in America creates.
Someone please explain to me why this is the way it is.
My only comfort here is that I can plainly state, “I cannot pay you this money,” and they’ll have to work with me. Does it feel good knowing that I’ll be paying for my three years at university for the next forty? No. But I knew going in that our system is a fucked up mass of tracks and spokes that is incapable of carrying anyone without outstanding scholarships or well-off parents anywhere better than “interest-only”.
…is by and large a beautiful state. Pictures to follow.
I must advise that you never, ever go to Shelby.
It is a town with more casinos than roads, and everything is inexplicably closed on Tuesdays. It does have a quiet, dim truck stop (attached to a casino) in which two aging Canadian bikers bought my dinner in exchange for stories from the road, but as they were not from Shelby, I cannot in good faith use them to endorse the place.
It’s got the mountains, the trees, the not-too-hot weather, the beautiful architecture, the incredibly open-minded people, the awesome seafood… I really like this city. Plus, bonus, I got to see the 4th of July fireworks from a prime balcony on the edge of the lake. Biggest fireworks show I’ve ever seen. Imagining how many of my college loans could have been paid off with the money Seattle spent on 20 minutes of colorful explosions pains me.
In other news, I also lost my wallet there. Somehow. Not to worry, as my mom overnight’d me my passport, and I have an emergency credit card; I am choosing to take it as a blessing. Now I have an excuse to get a new license that doesn’t make me look like a skinhead. Ah, the joys of being 17 and not particularly photogenic…
Most people I know who’ve ever lived in SF are of the opinion that everyone, at some point, should live there. I’ve always been relatively skeptical, considering my bias against the West Coast.
Listen, everyone… you should probably live in San Francisco for a while.
I’ve been staying with a small collective of college friends on Mission Street, which is a fairly dive-y, splendid part of town a short walk from the Castro. (By the way, can I just take a moment to tell you all how lovely it is to see two middle-aged men, one black, one white, strolling along hand in hand? Very lovely, to be clear.) So far I’ve been to a large open-air market (millions of mushrooms, herbs, veggies, spices, trinkets, etc.) and a park that was overflowing, at 6pm, with people getting high and drinking beer and throwing balls for their dogs. Kites, music, and folks wandering around collecting empty bottles. Yesterday also happened to be the 21st birthday of my good friend Brian, and while we spent most of the day lounging around indoors (or giving impromptu haircuts after the requisite midday mimosa and tequila shot) (don’t worry, not my hair), I had the honor of watching that kid buy his first beer at a trashy, loud, beautiful pit of humanity called the 500 Club at 11:46pm.
This city knows what’s up, I’m pretty sure. It knows how to have fun, and - more importantly, unlike New York - it knows how to chill the fuck out. People here seem happy. Excited. Capable of forgiving themselves their daily sins with the sweet confidence that we are, all of us, in this muddled world as a team and… honestly? It’s gonna be okay.
I got to the Amtrak station in Tucson about 20 minutes early, having split up the walk with a stop in Cafe Passé (which advertised a drink called Mexican ice water that sounded dangerous) for a bagel and a local, unpronounceable beer. I was greeted by a whole passel of cops and Amtrak agents - more than I’d seen at any stop - and, for the first time on this trip, someone asked to see my ID.
They were combing the train for someone in a white t-shirt who had purportedly managed to slip through their mighty fingers and had been spotted in a restaurant attached to the station. We left 40 minutes late, and I don’t believe they ever found the gentleman in question.
Possibly he smoked on the train. They take that seriously these days.
I have done the “break into a pool to go swimming with a guy you met an hour ago” thing now.
So Texas is hot. I walked the two miles to a used bookstore today at around 11:30, and was grateful that it was only 90 out. By the time I bought a $3 horror novel and a salad and headed back at 1:30, it was 99. In a few hours it’ll be hovering at around 106 degrees. I stopped in a dollar store and picked up some more sunscreen and a straw hat, because much as I love sunburn and tanning… Sweet Jesus, team. The sky is endless, and the city is low; there is very little between the sun and your face.
This hostel is worlds apart from the one I visited in New Orleans. It, too, is an old-school mansion, but has not been at the mercy of 60 years of hippies and hipsters. It’s gorgeous, all old wood and grand winding staircases; my room - which I share with one other girl, instead of seven - has a fridge and a TV. I bought some Lone Star and watched Jeepers Creepers, and you know what? It was awesome.
Most of my time here has been spent in the pool or walking. There aren’t a lot of people around, not outdoors, because of the heat. But every man who drives past stares at me; I don’t think freckled blonde girls are common around here. It’s unnerving. Still, I’m grateful for the down time. I’ll be couch-surfing or staying with friends from here on out, so this is my last chance to be quiet and sunbathe and read a bargain book with no plans to go party or explore.