Friday, October 2, 2009

The Restoration

So I took it upon myself to reread some of my older blog posts this afternoon. The whole endeavor made me Paris nostalgic, longing for those days when I could walk down the streets anonymously and I could pretend that I wouldn't be graduating in a year. Paris proved useful at avoiding all anxieties vis-à-vis the future. That may be one reason it is so popular. It's a place where you can lose sight of a lot of things that you once though important. And that's neither good nor bad. That is Paris.

Either way, I can't really avoid the future any longer since it will soon be smacking in the face. College -- that wonderful four year blip -- has more or less come and gone. And so, I went to the Career Fair today, looking for a career. I didn't find one.

But after the Fair, after handing out resumes and shaking hands and having an embarassing coughing fit in front of the lady from the Peace Corps, I read an old Washington Post magazine article, "The Restoration," by Wells Tower (I wrote about him in March) from 2005. If you've read his debut book of short stories, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, you can find some links between his fiction and this essay about his father's decaying house in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (the essay is really quite good and if you want to read it and don't have access to it via LexisNexis I can email it to you).

Well, in this article, Tower, as an adult, returns home to rebuild and restore this house his father has let decay beyond imagination. And I'm not quite sure what to make of it. For Tower, this was what he had to do. To not follow the general post-grad path. He just went home and decided it was time to hack away at the wisteria and kudzu that had overrun the yard. He cleaned out the garage full of copperheads and ants and rusted firearms and grills. He used his brother's carriage-welded class-four trailer hitch (the same hitch used in the story "Retreat" for those paying close attention) to haul down a stubborn cherry tree.

And now, in a place where I'm sure Tower was several years ago, I feel a lot of pressure to make the right decision. To find the right job. But this guy didn't need a career fair. Or a resume critique week. Or round robin networking. He attacked stubborn roots with a lawn mower until vines tangled around the steel blade and the motor seized.

I'm not sure if I have a point to make here. In my search for answers, I keep coming up with more questions.

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