Saturday, September 4, 2010

Summer Vegetable Torte

As I sat on the subway on my way to work the other day, there was a group of 'kids' (I feel weird saying that) talking and laughing awkwardly. I eavesdropped enough to pick up on the fact that they were college freshman who were in that fittingly awkward getting-to-know you phase of orientation. I laughed to myself as I watched and listened to them, clearly uncomfortable, one-upping each other with stories of badass high school parties, crazy nightclubs, and that time that they got caught by their parents. Part of me wanted to tell them that rather than being so uncomfortable, they might as well loosen up now, because they would eventually anyhow, and why waste time being anxious? My more cynical side wondered who would still be friends after four years, who would be eaten alive by New York City, and who had already decided that these were not the people that they wanted to be friends with. And then, just for fun, I wondered which girl was the sluttiest, which guy might be ashamed of going to college a virgin, who was lying about their past and if anyone was standing there with a smile, but secretly wanting to cry. Come to think of it, it's no wonder freshmen drink so much.
eggplant layered vegetable torte
Four years ago, I would have been the girl who smiled, told her stories and stood there wanting to cry. Not because I was unhappy, but because I was scared. Shitless. Understandably so, I found myself in Canada, far from home, surrounded by unfamiliar faces who kept saying weird things like "eh." Well the long and short of it is that sooner rather than later I, too, was saying "eh." It was lovely and remained lovely, including the very unlovely moments that I complained about to no end. Seeing these freshmen on the train was the first time I really realized that I am done with school. It's actually kind of cool that back to school commercials are no longer giving me an awful sinking feeling in my stomach. I am also not busy calculating how many combined essay pages I am going to have to write this semester. And even more unusual, my job isn't just something to fill my summer days, but reality. It's bizarre, new and different, but rather than standing there wanting to cry, I feel refreshed, invigorated and excited. I guess on some days I also kind of wish that I were hearing a few more "ehs" around; alas, I suppose I will have to make the trek the Canada here and there. Problem solved.
summer vegetable torte
This torte has nothing to do with any of this, except for the fact that it tastes like August. August, that once bittersweet month indicating the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year, the only type of year that exists when you're a student. Turns out that the flavors of August are just luscious. It's too bad that I have so often tainted them with negative thoughts of back-to-school, because they should be appreciated for their fleeting goodness.