Pretend you are a stylish, cute little gal who lives vicariously through but doesn't completely understand your husband's life in academia. For fun, also pretend that you're wearing a lovely green dip-dye scarf from GAP, skinny jeans, a cute little brown fitted blazer and adorable Rampage flats with gold buckle accents. And hot pink nail polish. In other words, pretend you're me:
I decided to accompany my husband to the University of Louisville's Campus last Friday, as he was scheduled to give a conference presentation in the afternoon. I figured I'd head over with him early in the a.m., and enjoy some time exploring and playing on and around the campus while he did his scholarly thing. Ya know... forgo the academic peoples and their ideas, avoid making a compete arse of myself by attempting to speak at their level, and carry on about my day, Steph-style.
* * * *
We were waiting for the shuttle bus that would transport us from our hotel to campus. A nice lady approached us in the hotel lobby and, in broken English, asked us if we are "going to conference." My husband and I let her know that we are, indeed, headed to the conference; he immediately jumped into academic/competitive/"ehhh, so what's YOUR story" mode, and began asking her questions about where she was from, what school she was representing, her fields of interest, etc. And no, I didn't just stand there, quiet as a mouse. I definitely should have.
The Serbian gal turns to me and asks, "And you? School? what is you school?"
I had four choices:
1: Explain that I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marshall University's School of Liberal Arts in 2006 and currently work in addiction/mental health field, but currently, I am not enrolled as a graduate student (which is the truth, therefore obviously the best answer.)
2: Brain-dead-ing-ly reply in my twangy hick-girly accent that, "I AIN'T IN SKOOL NO MORE" - (which, sadly, is the first answer that came to my mind),
3: Pretend I'm mute, nod my head, and let my husband take care of all the questions, or
I chose #4. I lied. In fact, I lied so much, I'm not so sure what the truth really even is five whole days later.
"Aeeeuuhh... the Ohio University", I said. Now, if you're from Ohio, or a student of either Ohio State or Ohio University, you will understand that there is a RULE: the schools are clearly named "THE Ohio State University", and "Ohio University". Never, ever, a combination of the two. In my case, I've committed a crime as far as the college student population of Ohio is concerned. Anyway, my new Serbian friend continues:
"Ooooh and you study? What is it do you study?"
Since I'm a total social media hooker, and the only field I would ever consider studying in my husband's scholarly world is Digital Media, I stammered around and finally choked out this intelligent-sounding answer:
"new media - YA know, blogging, social networking stuff, a little bit'a... rhetoric".
A little bit'a Wha???
Yes, a "little bit of" rhetoric. Not a whole lot, just a little bit. Because I hate effing rhetoric. BAHAHAHA. At this point my husband has turned his entire body completely away and is looking off into the distance, hoping and praying that the shuttle bus comes, like, YESTERDAY, or that he could be invisible. OR... throw himself in front of the bus before it stops to pick us up. Next question:
"Are you Ph.D too?"
I shake my head no... "naw, naw, not Ph.D". Well, what then?
She looked at me quizzically. I swear, my blogging friends, I was not toying with her mind on purpose.
"Masters Degree" I squeaked. Hubby decides to jump back in on the conversation and rescue me. Or. So. He. Thought!
They carry on about writing a thesis vs. taking a cumulative exam to complete Masters Degree requirements. I'm sweating, but thankful that the attention has been turned away from me.
"Do you write thesis? or take test?"
You're kidding me... "TEST. Ohhh nooo... i could never write a thesis.... after watching my husband go through this whole dissertation process. Yep, test. Taking the test."
She continues on, talking about how she hated taking the GRE test to get into graduate school, and how she cannot imagine taking yet another monster test, because she hates tests. Tests. Tests. Tests.
The bus is coming. Hot damn! Finally, I decide I should tell the truth.
"I'm studying for the GRE now!"
Whoopsie. Why would I be doing that, when i'm already enrolled in a Master's Degree program, studying new media and "a lil' bit'a rhetoric"?
Did my sweet Siberian friend have any clue that I tangled myself up in a whirlwind of lies? I think she was as confused as I was.
One little lie. Leads to another one.. leads to the next one... and continues on.
I've decided, from now on, I'm telling the TRUTH. I never could have - or would have - tried to pull that one over anyone else. I think there was a sick part of me that wanted to try to impress the poor girl for whatever reason - but my point is this:
Be comfortable with who you are, and don't ever try to be anything or anyone else. And for goodness sakes, if you're going to lie, please do a better job than I did!
Off I go... to study a Little bit'a Rhetoric!