I Wish I Could Go Back To College (Blogisode Thirteen)

Well, hello.

My life is glamorous.  Really.  Listen to this.  I am eating pad-thai out of a to-go box in my hotel room while steaming my right sinus cavity and blogging.  You wanna know what show business looks like?  This is it.  Wait.  I’ll take a picture.

Hi-ho the glamorous life

Hi-ho the glamorous life

The whole thing about singers being neurotic about their voices?  Totally true.  Especially when performing something hard like this concert.  My right sinus has been inflamed for a couple of days, causing a drip down the back of my throat and it causes some swelling.  When things are swollen down there, I can still sing, but I get tired faster.  So….I have to be careful about talking to much and in loud places, I generally avoid phone calls and I do thrilling things like sit in my hotel room and steam while pretending to be Celine Dion (she doesn’t speak at all).  And then I blog about it.

Thank you for keeping me company.

Oh you guys….I don’t know.  Did I make a mistake with this blog expansion?  It feels like I’ve been driving around in an automatic transmission and all of the sudden I was like–HEY!  I think I’ll get a STICK SHIFT.  Never mind that I don’t really know how to drive a stick shift.  I’ll figure it out.  It’s scary.

Okay–but wait–I totally know how to drive a stick shift.

So that was a crummy analogy.

But you get the point.

But maybe the point is that I have to be patient and learn.

Here’s what’s bugging me.  The blog writing is all the same.  We still have blogisodes.  We still talk about potty training.  Oh, speaking of, do you want a good Beatrix story?  Today Rob had Beaz and I wasn’t there, right?  So I called him and he said he was doing the dishes and Beatrix wanted to “help him”.  And you know what kind of help a three-year-old is, right?  Kind of like using a cat as a seeing eye dog.  Or, as I always say, she’s a lot like living with the drunk E.T.

Beatrix and Rob while I'm away.

Beatrix and Rob while I'm away.

Anyhoo, at first Beatrix was just standing on her step stool helping, but then she decided that wasn’t good enough, so she ripped off her nightgown and underpants and got in the sink to the wash dishes.  I have a photo that goes with this story, but Beatrix in 20 years will never, ever forgive me if I post it.  But it’s awesome.  So the next time you have dinner at my house, just remember this story and maybe ask for a paper plate.

Just sayin’.  Oh, and update, my sinus is clear!

Okay, back to the point.  It is hard to take something that is mine–that I created–and have someone come in and make changes.  Ugh.  Wheatley–don’t be an old lady about it.  Just because it is a little harder to operate and there have been some glitches, old dogs can learn new tricks, right?  Which is actually a perfect segue back to our college story.  I’ve decided to do a blogisode today because I missed Monday.  That’s how we roll here at My Own Space. Besides, I’m in the mood to write more.

Ready?

No, it's really good.

It's really good in a "I think I'll go hang myself now because it's so depressing" kind of way.

I mentioned that in my FDR class Dr. Blumberg had us read The Grapes Of Wrath by John Steinbeck as a way to learn about the migration of farmers from Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl era.  Zzzzzzzzzzz.  Right. Okay, but it’s a really great book.  After reading the book, rather than having a quiz, we had to do a five page paper also citing other historical documents.  Dr. Blumberg said it was in “MLA format, which you should all know because you’ve had the entry level English classes where the format was taught.  Correct?”  All the little heads nodded yes.  This big head with reading glasses did not nod.  Instead I thought, eh, I’ll figure it out.  Cut to three weeks later, the night before the paper was due, with me sitting at the (now defunct) Cosi Coffee Shop on Broadway at 76th street, surrounded by books and printouts, Googling MLA format.  Which is really complicated.

But just then, my knight in shining armor appeared–Mr. Jacob Brent–a recent college graduate and MLA format scholar.  After catching up on all the most important things in our lives (what we’d eaten that day and who we’d talked t0), Jacob took my paper, moved things around, taught me how to format and then bing bam boom, my paper was done.  It was two pages longer than it was supposed to be, but it was done.  The strangest thing was the lack of personality in the paper.  You can imagine how hard it was for me not to write it like a blogisode, which is the way my brain works as soon as my fingers hit computer keys.  I cracked no jokes.  I was proud.

While we waited for our papers to come back, we took our midterm.  Or maybe the midterm was first.  I think I blocked it out.  The truth is, from the first day of class, when she announced the dates of the midterm and final, I was in shock.  I mean, nothing says COLLEGE like EXAMS.  Heart attack.  Panic attack.   I hadn’t taken an exam since–I don’t know–probably high school–because I dropped all my college classes way before any pesky old thing like an exam would’ve reared it’s ugly head.  So if you’re counting, that means it had been 25 years since my last exam, and it was probably Oceanography at Ursuline and I  probably failed it.  So yeah.  I was nervous.

I started studying 10 days before.  She gave us a “study sheet” that had 30 things to identify in a long and specific paragraph, and explained that she would choose eight and we would have to pick five of the eight to write about.  She also gave us 5 possible essay questions, she said she’d pick two and we had to write about one of the two.  I didn’t know how to study some things and not others, so I decided to write out everything and memorize it….which took forever.  A few days before the exam (and well into my studying) I got a letter in the mail saying I had to report to unemployment for a job hunt evaluation.  The unemployment meeting was at 9am, and my exam was a 10am, on opposite sides of town.  If I missed my unemployment meeting they would stop my benefits.  If I missed my exam I was proving to be the delinquent student I feared I’d become.

Shit, crap, damn.

Barbara Blumberg

Barbara Blumberg

I talked to Dr. Blumberg, (played in the film by Betty White because Betty White plays all the over 70 roles now that she’s hosted SNL), and she was great.  “Your unemployment benefits are brought to you by FDR, Francis Perkins and the Social Security Act of 1935 which–incidentally–is on your midterm.”  So she said she’d arrange a makeup exam if I needed it because my excuse was historically relevant.  The old Sharon Wheatley would have been thrilled with a makeup exam and probably tried to delay as long as possible, and (even more likely) would have blown off  the unemployment meeting as well.  The new and improved Sharon Wheatley decided to try to make it to everything.  Which was a really weird feeling.  Even weirder was the desire to study, made fun by Charlotte Meffe who had checked out a book about FDR from her middle school library, read it,  and quizzed me.  Can you believe her?

The morning of the unemployment/midterm I poured myself a giant cup of coffee, ran Beazer to preschool and studied my index cards all the way to unemployment on 125th street.  Somehow, I blew through unemployment (I was really pushy and bossy–shocking) and hopped the train to school–walking in late, but on time enough to do the exam.  Dr. Blumberg handed me an exam and a booklet, and I started.  I literally–and I’m not kidding–was as nervous as I am for any big performance.   Charlotte had checked out a book and helped me study.  I couldn’t bomb this thing, what would my child think of me?  Stakes were high.

To read the next blogisode in this series, go here.

What do you think of the new format?  Is everything working well?  Subscribers, are you getting your e-mails?  Please let me know!

 

 

 

About Sharon Wheatley

Mother of Charlotte and Beatrix. Sometimes an actress. Sometimes a writer. I'm glad you're here.
This entry was posted in I Wish I could Go Back To College. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to I Wish I Could Go Back To College (Blogisode Thirteen)

  1. Nick says:

    OH the Friday cliffhanger. *sigh* But I guess since you are in Florida and steaming, it shall be allowed. I have "Til the Fat Girl Sings on my brand spanking new iPhone 4S so I will have a little Wheatley over the weekend, until Monday's blogisode. So, neener, neener!

    Have an awesome show and it would be so cool if Milwaukee booked you here again!

  2. Mark Motz says:

    Damn these cliffhangers… What did you get on your paper? I'm dying out here in flyover country.

  3. Dave R says:

    The Grapes of Wrath was actually one of my favorite books we read in high school. I remember reading it back stage while we were doing The Music Man.

  4. Charma says:

    Charlotte might be my new hero…

Comments are closed.