"Get any three reporters together in a bar and within twenty minutes there will be a fist fight over the nature of journalism. Is it a profession? A trade? A calling? Or what? Kipling had it best when he described it as 'the black art.' It is history-in-a-hurry, neither high literature nor low comedy." -- from Fotheringham's Fictionary of Facts and Follies, 2001

For the first time in my life, I find myself employed.
For real. Forever.
Big words. Bigger gulp.
I have a pension plan now. And dental coverage. And a future that doesn't stop and start in fits of six to twelve months.

In high school, on the suggestion of Seventeen magazine -- and because Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary were my most cherished childhood authors -- I read Summer Sisters.

Again. And again. And again.

I bought it as a hardcover, but then bought several more copies in paperback to distribute to friends. As late as second-year university, I was still forcing it on the people I hung out with.

In part, the draw for me was this relationship between two women. The one who was honest, and the one who was not. The one who grew up, and the one who could not.

I was fascinated with their friendship, their sexual exploits, their summer jobs, their lives as they got older.

This opening description, from the book's prologue, always got me. I can barely explain it; it made me long for adulthood. I yearned for life in the big city, for a career, for high heels and grey pencil skirts with really crisp collared white shirts. I wanted a solid, cool, professional telephone voice.

The city is broiling in an early summer heat wave and for the third day in a row Victoria buys a salad from the Korean market around the corner and has lunch at her desk. Her roommate, Maia, tells her she's risking her life eating from a salad bar. If the bacteria don't get you, the preservatives will. Victoria considers this as she chomps on a carrot and scribbles notes to herself on an upcoming meeting with a client who's looking for a PR firm with an edge. Everyone wants edge these days. You tell them it's edgy, they love it.
When the phone rings she grabs it, expecting a call from the segment producer at Regis and Kathie Lee. "This is Victoria Leonard," she says, sounding solid and professional.

Now I'm coming around to the realization these entrapments do not an adult make.

Although, a well-timed, celebratory shopping trip could change my mind....

No comments: