i make a terrible meerkat

or why i’m late on my student loan payment

Oohh, it’s nice and chilly outside. Finally my wishes for Christmas-y weather are here. But I’ve come to a terrible conclusion:

I have nothing to wear when it’s cold.

I didn’t plan this too well.

Oh, well, no mind.

I am currently on hold with the student loan people. They say I may be on hold for a while. Let’s see just how long… somehow I got slipped into their automated system, even though I didn’t ask to be… now I’ve been transferred again to a queue that will eventually let me speak to a human.

Ahh, Muzak.

Now I periodically hear a voice say, “–ooperation, please hold for the next representative.” Here’s someone.. she’s asking me for my social, which I already punched in so that I could get in this queue to begin with…

Okay, so here’s what I found out: Although I sent my checks into the company nine days ago, since they haven’t posted the check yet, there’s nothing they can do but wait. I have no control. It is still marked as late, and all they can do is wait for my checks.

I hate student loans.

I took out two years of loans at a very affordable school… $10,000 total in loans. I’m going to be paying these back until the year 2005. Can you believe that? (Educated minds around the world nod their heads in unison so hard that every monitor in the world wiggles just slightly). I know that my loan probably is smaller than whatever you’re paying, so I’m not complaining… I just wish they found a more efficient way of paying these back. Especially when you’re a fine arts major. They know that you aren’t going to be in the mad cash right away… but when you’re in the school they tack on all these fees, and when you’re out you’ve got to start paying the loans back right away. I remember when I was a child being told that education was a right, and that everyone had the right to be schooled. If I go to a public school, and then I go to a state university, shouldn’t there be some sort of understanding that I am exercising my “right” to be educated and not be punished and charged for years and years and years…

I just keep thinking whenever I write a check, “Here’s another hundred dollars. Let’s see, this one probably is going towards that costuming class we had at eight in the morning where the TA used to call us ‘useless fucks.’ Well, thank God I got that experience. This is well worth my food money.”

“Oh, another hundred dollar check… let’s see, this is probably for the history class that I had to take as part of my core requirement where the teacher didn’t want to teach a core class so he made it a history class for majors and tested on things that history majors were learning in conjunction with their other core classes, putting me at a distinct disadvantage.”

“Oh, here’s two hundred dollars… I’m sure this is for the class where on the first day the teacher said, ‘The test answers are in the library, if you memorize them, you only need to come to class on the four days when we have tests. Have a great semester.’”

“Here’s another two hundred dollars. This one must be for that class where every day I had to pretend I was a ball, a stick, a veil or a chair, and I got a C because she didn’t believe that I really felt I was a stick. She could see me thinking I was a stick, not being a stick and keeping it to myself. Ah, the class where I told the teacher that they wrote a song about her class in A Chorus Line. It was called ‘Nothing.‘”

I never think that my money is going towards the good classes that I had, since my brain only wants to remember the terrible ones.

Oh, that class riled me up. I’m not kidding, we would have to walk in a circle and she’d say, “Okay, now you are looking in front of you and you see a veil. Now you pick the veil up in your fingers, and you put it on the top of your head. Now the veil falls into the hole on the top of your head and falls into your spine. Now, you are a veil. NO ONE ELSE KNOWS YOUR A VEIL. You are a veil and you are walking around as a veil, moving as a veil BUT I DON’T KNOW YOU ARE A VEIL. DON’T SHOW ME YOU’RE A VEIL, BE A VEIL. Don’t let anyone else know you are a veil. PAMELA, I CAN SEE YOU BEING A VEIL, KEEP IT A SECRET!

“Okay, now the veil has fallen out from your feet, and you see a stick in front of you. Pick up the stick. Feel the stick, feel what kind of a stick it is. Put the stick on top of your head, and now it falls in that hole into your spine. DON’T SHOW ME YOU’RE A STICK! It’s a secret. Keep walking in a circle, but notice each other. Don’t let them know you are a stick.”

So you had twenty actors walking in a circle with their backs rigid, staring at each other pretending to not notice that any of them are sticks and that they themselves were not sticks. We looked like Secret Service Men in training.

Then we had these exercises where we had to study animal movement. We each picked an animal and then you had to do a monologue as your animal. Let me tell you the secret of this exercise, in case you ever get in a class like this: only pick sexy animals. All other animals will ruin your GPA. The tiger got an A. The lion got an A. Only pick animals with similar body movement as yours. I, being the offbeat creative one, picked a meerkat. You cannot get up and down like a meerkat can. It is impossible for our spines to do that sort of movement. Well, points off for pamie, she’s not committing to the meerkat form. The bear got an A. My friend Rebecca the Squirrel did not. My friend Cliff the Alligator, did not. We could not mimic the animal form well enough, so we had points taken off. Maybe if Cliff grew scales…

So I was doing this monologue in front of the class, and I had just finished, when the teacher looked at me. “Okay, Pamela,” she said, “that was enough. Hmm… hmm-hmm-hmmmm…. are you familiar with David Mamet?”

David Mamet is one of my top five favorite playwrights. I had just finished directing scenes from Glengarry, Glen Ross in my directing class. The Alligator played Roma. When I first started playwrighting, I was teased for trying to be the female Mamet. The class gave me a bit of a smirk.

“Yes, I’m familiar with his work,” I replied.

“Hmm… hmmmmmm. hmmmMMmmmm… well, I would read more of his stuff, if I were you. You see, Mamet is a storyteller. You know people, those types of people who just always have a story for every occasion, and they are constantly like, ‘Oh, this one time?’”

“I cannot believe she is saying this to me,” I thought. I looked around. The class was wide eyed.

“Yeah, I know those people.”

“Well, you should try and study those people. Learn how they act when they’ve got a good story. Learn how to tell a story. I don’t think you’re one of those talkative, crazy, ‘I’ve-got-a-funny-story-listen-to-me-types,’–”

At this point the class was laughing at her.

“So I just think that you should find another monologue if you aren’t comfortable at being a storyteller.”


And that’s why I hate paying my student loans back. Because each time I write a check, I think, “How would a stick write this check?”

Maybe that’s why the checks haven’t cleared yet. They don’t want me to see that they are sticks with my money. They are keeping it a secret. I’m sure they’ll get an A.

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