Another Roadside Attraction


I needed a distraction and that’s what the book was for me.  It took me almost an entire month to read this book, way too long for me.  It was my first book by Tom Robbins and it probably won’t be my last.  If you’ve never read any Tom Robbins, start with this one, it is his first novel and you won’t be disappointed.  It is beautiful and insightful, hilarious and creative.  In short, it’s about two hippies who open up a roadside zoo and hot dog stand during the 1960’s.  Also featured are a disillusioned scientist from Johns Hopkins, a pet baboon, and a former college football star who accidentally becomes a bad ass ninja monk.

I am still coming to terms with my decision to leave New York and go to Michigan for school.  It feels so reckless, leaving a well paying job, a rent controlled apartment, and all of my family.  The hardest part, obviously, is leaving Manny behind.  That is going to suck, big time.  I am afraid he feels like I’m abandoning him, that I’m choosing my career over him, that my education is more important that our relationship.  But actually he has been not like that at all, he’s been totally supportive and encouraging and understanding.  He wants the best for me.  But we are really sad and I start tearing up every time I think about it.   I am afraid of being in a new place without him.  Stuff is just so much easier to deal with when he’s around.  It’s going to be really hard.   I keep thinking, what if I get swine flu while I’m in Michigan, who will take care of me?   All I know is I’m definitely getting the flu vaccine next year.

Every decision that I make, I make it with him in mind.  I hope that going away to a more prestigious school will increase my chances of getting an awesome job that I love here in the city.   I would be happy with my career, which would make me a more pleasant person to be around than I am now.  I would make more money, which will help us get a nice place together.  But I just want to do this first, I want to take this chance and go to school,  for myself and for us.

It was my 25th birthday yesterday, on the 14th.  Last week I found my old diary that I kept from around 5th through 9th grades.  What a strange period of my life that was.   I realized I wasn’t a kid anymore and I was just beginning to know myself as an independent person, as an adult.  And it was painfully obvious that I did not fit in, not at school and not at home.  I wanted acceptance from my peers so badly but I also did want to hide or change or who I was.  When I graduated from high school I went away to this crazy cool hippie college in western Massachusetts.  My family teased me endlessly.  They said I was going to major in ultimate frisbee and live in clothing optional dorms.  They said I would never find a real job and that when I graduated I would end up working in a Starbucks.  How wrong they were and I love that they are all eating their words now.  But the best part of going to that crazy hippie college was not the satisfaction of proving everyone wrong.  The best part of going to that college was finding Manny, who was just as much of a misfit as I was.  And in him I found the acceptance I was looking for, but also learned to love and accept myself; with all my flaws, weirdness, and dorky-ness included.  Happy 25th Birthday to me!

4 Responses to “Another Roadside Attraction”

  1. Leslie Says:

    Happy birthday!

    For what it’s worth, I really admire your decision to leave behind everything you know and start new. I have done this once before, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Your education is worth it – it’s something no one can ever take from you.

    And who knows, maybe Manny will end up moving out there with you. 😉

  2. Rob Lenihan Says:

    Happy birthday!

  3. ada Says:

    you forgot to mention you also found the friend who turned you onto good black tea and eating home-cooked meals. :[

  4. Peanut Says:

    And who taught me how to make delicious salads with apples, walnuts and honey mustard dressing!

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