Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Look Back

Before getting to the New Year's resolutions--most of which occurred to me only after I arrived back in western New York for my Christmas vacation--I felt it was appropriate to take a look back at the last year and how exactly I got from one place to the next. So here it is, a look back at 2007, in the style of DJJ, who did it first this time:


Days before the break of 2007 Jess reads that certain Latin cultures believe that wearing red underwear on New Year's Eve helps you secure luck in love in the coming year. Jess wears red underwear to the New Year's Eve party.

Jess gets drunk a lot with her cousins.

Jess considers joining

Jess's brother decides to inform her his favorite spot for masturbation is on their mother's couch.


Jess goes on a double date with a boy her uncle swears she will just love. The boy, while nice, wears glasses that hang from his neck on that type of string-and-clip-combo favored by old ladies and librarians. After hearing about this date, Diana says, "You need a little wild. He doesn't sound wild."

Jess realizes the only man she is truly ready to be in a relationship with is the Buffalo Sabres' goalie Ryan Miller, even if it means they will breed children with freakishly long heads and vaguely crazy eyes.

Jess's date to the Valentine's Day dinner party she throws is a miniature bust of Abe Lincoln.

Jess faces the possibility that she will never, ever, ever get over the Wily Republican.


Jess gets a really badass haircut. She now has bangs. The World's Best Bangs.

Jess goes on Spring Break. Vacation spot of choice? Minnesota. While enjoying the frigid flatness of the Midwest, Jess makes out with a long-haired boy who tells her he is going to write poetry about her. To her knowledge, that poetry was never written.

Jess stalks Ryan Miller. She sits behind him at the taping of a local sports show. She prays he will look at her and instantly fall in love.

Ryan Miller does not notice Jess.


Jess realizes she is in love with at least fifteen of her students at the giant state university where she is teaching. They have followed her from English 101 to English 201, and they love her right back. She considers proposing they all move into her father's basement so she can go downstairs and hang out with them whenever she wants.

Jess's grandfather suffers a stroke. She drives from the small country hospital where he was initially admitted to the city hospital that specializes in stroke patient care. She sits up all night with her family and her grandfather. She doesn't feel much of anything, which seems inappropriate for the situation. She realizes she doesn't like herself very much for that.

The Sabres enter the playoffs. There is much rejoicing and foot-stomping and screaming of the phrase, I want to have your babies, Ryan Miller!

Jess's brother gives her helpful hints about what Canadian strip club to go to for Becky's bachelorette party.

Jess realizes that in a month's time, she is going to need to have a summer job. She starts to cry. She cries a lot.


Jess starts having nightmares about waitressing. She knows what's coming. She spends too many minutes feeling sorry for herself. I have a master's degree! she thinks. I should NOT have to go back to waitressing! Then she hates herself for being so snobby.

Jess bakes and assembles a giant penis-shaped cake. She carts it to a suite overlooking the cataract in Niagara Falls. She gets drunk and celebrates the fact that Becky is the first Pink Torpedo to be headed down the aisle.

Jess says goodbye to the best bunch of students she's had in a long, long time. She bakes them dozens and dozens and dozens of cookies and cries as she drives out of the parking lot.

Jess also says goodbye to the students she's been teaching as a side-gig at the big community college in town. She has never been happier to be rid of a group of students. The class had started with 25 students, had been whittled down to eight who occasionally attended, and only four of those passed.

Jess fills out an application at a tiny 50's diner in her hometown. A waiter brings her an application and hangs around the counter while she fills in her school and employment history. He keeps asking if she wants anything--food, a pop, a glass of water, anything--but she declines.

Jess sits in the cramped and dirty office of the tiny 50's diner in her hometown and gets hired as a waitress.


On her first day of work, Jess is trained in by the same waiter who handed her the application. He is the only waiter at the restaurant. He is bald. He has a long beard. He looks sort of like a man Hollywood producers would cast in a prison-break movie. He would be the vaguely Mexican inmate with murder in his eyes.

On that first day a woman at the restaurant says to Jess, "Are you single?" Jess says she is. The woman asks the vaguely Mexican prison inmate waiter if he is single. He says he is. "Well," the woman says, "you two would be really great together."

The next night Jess is talked into going to Canada to drink with some people from work. The vaguely Mexican prison inmate waiter corners her near a bar bathroom and kisses her. "Is this alright?" he asks. She thinks, Oh, why not? and says yes.

Jess gets an interview at a small college in Maine.

Jess realizes everyone she works with is either a sex addict, a drug addict, or just really, really weird. Jess also realizes she really, really likes these strange people.

Becky walks down the aisle. Jess declares it the best wedding and reception she's ever been to. She gets so drunk she walks back to the hotel shoving leftover wedding cake into her mouth while her best girls from high school trade shoes and giggle, giggle, giggle.


Jess makes out with that boy from work all the time. He leaves flowers on her car almost every day. After a particularly bad day at the restaurant--a day where Jess considers quitting because it was just that horrible--the boy later shows up at the bar with two surprises: more flowers and a clean-shaven face. He has a butt chin. Jess thinks it's the cutest chin she's ever seen.

When one of the cooks asks Jess and the boy from work if they are dating, the boy looks at Jess expectantly and Jess--who, up until that moment had been saying, Let's just keep things loose, okay?--says, "Yes." Plain and simple.

Jess gets a second interview with a small college in Maine. She drives ten hours, does the interview, tools around Portland and thinks, Yes, please.

Jess is offered the job in Maine. When she tells the boy from work this, it looks like his heart is actually going to fall out of his chest. She panics about what is going to happen next.

Jess tries to hook her brother up with one of her waitress friends. This waitress has a box full of sex toys and the tendency to show her breasts to anyone with eyes. Jess figures they will be great together. They see each other a few times, but a relationships never gets off the ground.

Jess drives to West Virginia and to attend the wedding of one of her best boys from grad school. For two whole days she is just a drunk girl in a cute dress. It is a nice vacation.


Jess drives to Maine with her mother. They apartment-hunt. Due to an unfortunate mix-up in scheduling, they have no hotel room, and the entire state of Maine is flashing NO VACANCY. Jess and her mother sleep in a car for the first time in their lives.

Jess quits her waitressing job.

Jess loads her car with her most important possessions, including that boy from work, and drives to Maine. She and the boy spend a stressful week shopping for furniture and trying to get her apartment ready before school starts.

Jess eats her first whole lobster. She eats it on the coast, right above wave-washed rocks, right under the body of a lighthouse. She is in love.


School starts. Jess teaches five classes, all different, all with new textbooks.

Jess turns twenty-six.

Jess drinks a lot of Vernors-and-Absolut Peach. She sits in her new furniture and looks out her window, missing, missing, missing things.

Jess is amused by her students--especially the automotive-types, who are sly, witty boys she is fairly certain she would have been friends with if she'd been enrolled in her own class.


Jess's body falls apart. She cannot move her neck. She goes to get a massage and is told she is clogged with toxins. Her massage makes her feel worse.

Jess thinks there's a possibility she might have meningitis.

Jess does not have meningitis.

One of Jess's classes--a half-semester affair--is over, and she can finally breathe easier.

That boy from work arrives for a week. He makes her dinner, takes her apple-picking. He hangs onto her tightly in the middle of the night. He says he loves her. She says she loves him back.


Jess can't believe her luck. It's been a lot of work, but her first semester has gone pretty well, and she sort of loves everything and everyone involved.

A particularly bad case of plagiarism challenges those thoughts, but Jess gets over it. Fast.


Jess drives home for Christmas break. She sings carols all the way home. She sings them very, very loudly. She looks forward to her first Christmas not made miserable by the Wily Republican. She thinks a lot of her grandmother and how she wishes Christmas could be the way it used to be--special, magic--and she vows that she will do her best to make it so.

Jess's Christmas is pretty special, pretty magical. After all, she receives The Pop-Up Book of Sex as a gift from Diana. It is the gift that keeps of giving.

After the reservations for the Frank Sinatra-soaked New Year's celebration they were going to attend are canceled without warning from the restaurant where they were headed, Jess and her friends go downtown to ring in 2008 at a bar far from the frat boys who are puking into bushes and running down Chippewa without their pants. She counts her blessings for this and the many other beautiful accidents she stumbled her way into over the past year.


Casey Sween said...

"best wedding and reception she's ever been to"--well did that reception have a streaker? I don't think so.

Jess said...

Yours was a lovely reception, Casey. Preston's bare ass was, as always, a joy, as was all the dancing in the awesome 'Kato Ballroom. It is one of my most treasured MN moments.

Still, I have to remind you that I've attended some pretty awesome wedding receptions. (Need I remind you of the hot groomsmen who made out with me for hours on a picnic bench??? Who made out with me at YOUR reception, huh? Huh? NO ONE. NOT EVEN YOU!)