Great news: the fog has lifted. I have come to a conclusion about which course my life should take--and that is that of a trophy wife. Upon deep reflection of a list of my likes and dislikes, it's the only possible career choice that makes any sense. Either that, or gas station attendant. I don't know that I'm particularly qualified to be a gas station attendant, but I'm immensely proud of the not once but twice that I have successfully put gas in my car. It was terrifically gratifying. Before anyone starts shaking their heads in disbelief, let me tell you people something: it's the little victories. The first time I went to buy gas, I was buried underneath an onslaught of meaningless options and neon colors that not even my very capable mother could help me interpret. It was also very awkward, because I didn't realize that by pushing the call for help button, I was starting a speaker that I was supposed to talk into. I, of course, assumed that someone would be coming to help me, but instead a disembodied and very static-y voice kept saying, "Hello?!" "Excuse me?" while I looked around in total confusion and said various swear words. Which I think she could hear. Anyway, very awkward, especially when I finally figured out where the voice was coming from, and so when I pushed the button again and an annoyed "Yeesss?" came out, I started shouting, "Can you hear me? Can you hear me?", she started getting really testy and said "Stop yelling and pushing the damn button, I can hear you". So then we had to hash out what octane levels in gas are, and I think if we were face to face she might have hit me. What is equally mortifying about this story is that I didn't even successfully get gas--I did everything I thought I was supposed to, and went through the motions of putting the gas thing in the hole and closed the cap till I heard the click, but I still drove off with the same quarter tank I started with. At that point I was so frustrated I just kept driving and hoped that I could fuel the Grocery Getter with my wounded pride and the dream of better luck tomorrow.

Which ended up being better luck three days later, when I gathered all my wits about me and went to a nearby Shell. It went so well that I was literally whistling as I worked, and I was suddenly filled with a sense of accomplishment I haven't felt since I beat out my arch-nemesis at most books read in the sixth grade. I still have the plaque. That's when I decided that I could be the crusader of compassion for challenged gas station go-ers everywhere, serving with grace and humility and making the world a better place, one tank at a time. My second time successfully getting gas was less inspiring, but I think that had more to do with the toothless middle aged man with an RV relentlessly hitting on me the whole time I filled up. He asked me if he could pump my gas for me, and I responded with a no thank you, I'M EMPOWERED, and he made a comment about us 'Yankee women'. Needless to say I bid him a rapid adieu.

I'm being slightly facetious about being a gas station attendent. There are some drawbacks. First, I could only work in Delaware and Oregon. Which is probably fine, but someday I might need options. Second, I hate the smell of gasoline. Absolutely hate it. Once I went to Oil Can Henry and thought I was dying because I was suddenly struck with nausea and a horrific head ache. I have since learned that Oil Can Henry doesn't have any gas there, so it couldn't have been the smell, but still. If the fear of gas can elicit that kind of response in me, imagine what the actual odor could do. Also I would feel a little bit like maybe I wasn't living up to my potential if I pumped gas 9-5. Perhaps I could offer more to the world?

It appears that I may not be able to--in my preliminary job post perusing, I routinely come up with nothing. This confuses me. I will have a four year degree from a fine institution of higher education. I'm charming. I'm good-looking. I'm relatively normal. I can wield a pen better than most. Who wouldn't want me? Well, accounting firms and engineers, apparently. Also a lot of businesses feel that a business degree is key to success at their corporations. To them I say, BILL GATES.

He's not a very good example because he wasn't an English major, but he did drop out of college. I'm just saying that might have been the move. I guess I still have time? Actually if I had one guess, I'd guess it wouldn't go over well with ye olde parentals. Too close to the finish line to give up and start Microsoft now!

So we are back to square one, with a list of things I like. Upon further reflection though, I might have to back up even farther from the likes list, because it wasn't that helpful. Here's a sample. Likes: The feeling after an ice cream head-ache goes away. Puppy faces. Wearing shoes that don't hurt my feet. When Hit the Road Jack comes on at the grocery store and I pass by three women mouthing the words to the song. Drinking coffee on the couch in the morning. Writing about myself. Remembering to clip my fingernails before they get so long I have to compulsively rip them off. Sunny days that aren't too hot. Going on vacation. Feeling like my day has been PRODUCTIVE. Making food other people are jealous of. Being wrapped in a blanket and not being too hot.

See? Not that helpful. Somehow I feel like making the-feeling-after-an-ice-cream-head-ache-goes-away into a job is going to be an uphill battle. I could theoretically make writing into a profession, but it is such a difficult field to get into and one that has no security. And I need a regular paycheck. Knowing that about myself is helpful though, and that's why I think I need to back up. Do I even want to start a career? Am I ok with getting by on the bare minimum for a few years and delaying the start of a REAL JOB? Should I be concerned with a life-plan timeline? What other options are there other than working? Do I think my family would get behind me teaching English abroad for a year? Where do I want to live?* Is it acceptable to live with my parents for the rest of my life? Or do I want to live with my Aunt Heather? Can I get a credit card, and if the answer is yes, how soon?

All very pertinent questions. Easily answered if I could just get a ring by spring. This is why being a trophy wife is becoming an increasingly attractive option. I don't really believe in trophy wives, we womenfolk got out of that cult of feminism a long time ago. Or so they say. No, in reality, there are basic questions to be answered. And then we will get down to the nitty gritty of passion and where mine lies.

xoxo, Lauren

*The answer is probably Portland. One, safety net. Two, I promised. Three, apparently I dislike being too hot--see likes list. That won't be an issue in my dear Northwest.