When I was 18, in the summer before I started university, I worked as a dishwasher. I credit that job with being the reason I went to university.
I have been thinking of a particular memory all day. From the time I got up at 5:30 am, on to a plane, to when Ms. Fab picked me up, through fighting with the keys in my dorm room door. All day, I keep thinking back to that restaurant, to the table by the window, that summer afternoon in 1997.
I remember a man and a woman – likely husband and wife. She was older than I, say maybe mid 50’s. Her husband was writing a cheque for her to grad school. It must have been about August.
He was teasing her a bit, about her grad school tuition. Not in a mean or unkind way, in the way you tease someone you love. He was joking about the cost, about the time she was away from home. I guess we could say some things about how he was writing the cheque, or why she was doing a degree that late in life, but mostly I remember that he was clearly very proud of her.
I joked with Mr. Spit on Friday night, that I was going to get a t-shirt that said “my wife and my money go to Royal Roads”. That’s not true – not really. It’s my money and work’s money, but in the end, it’s all the same pot – my money is coming out of our retirement savings and it’s me who won’t do the cooking.
I’ve spent all summer with my nose in an accounting textbook, and it’s about to get worse. On Sunday a bunch of classmates will meet me for the first time. I am terrified. It’s the first day of school all over again, and I’ve mentioned that I am worried?
They will see me. For good or ill, whether they like me or not, they will see me. They will not see Ms. Fab, who picked me up at the airport, ran me around town and told me over and over that I will rock this. They do not see Jason – who drove me to the airport for 6 am. They do not see the friend who sent me away with gummy coke bottles, in case I got hungry and lonely.
They will not see Mr. Spit, even though his money and his wife are getting an MBA. And he is incredibly proud.