Golden Moments

8 Oct

Out of nowhere I thought of my college world history professor today. She had a reputation for being really tough. I ended up in her class freshman year purely for scheduling reasons—I worked everything around the times my preferred theatre courses were offered.

I always went to class because I like history, especially ancient history, which the course focused on. On the first test I studied hard and got a C.  It was like a bucket of ice water on a chick who got straight A’s in high school without much difficulty.  The next test I studied harder and got a C again. I remember being thankful we had so many papers, so my grade had a chance of averaging out over time.

I ended up with a middle B—the first, but it wouldn’t be the last—at the end of the semester. Never in my life had I been prouder of a grade. My professor led me into her office after the last class and asked me to consider becoming a history major. She offered to be my faculty adviser—this, the most notoriously tough history professor at a school full of tough professors.

One of the greatest feelings in the human experience is being sought. Recruited, cherry-picked, pursued. You know this is you’ve ever been offered a role without having to audition for it, or been courted away from your current job by a better offer, or even started a bidding war at a dating auction (what, that hasn’t happened to you? Yeah, me neither). It’s truly a higher plane of validation.

The odd thing is that it’s often only in hindsight that one is able to fully appreciate it. In the moment, it can be awkward or even obscured entirely by extraneous details. (You’re not sure you have time for the show, you’ll have to figure out how to gracefully leave your current job, you don’t really want to go on a date with either of those bozos).

This was one of the only times in my life that I’ve been sought (even when first dating my husband, I did a good bit of the seeking).  I was utterly incapable of savoring the moment then. I mumbled something about my dream of being an actor. “Just think about it,” she said.

I never saw her again; she died suddenly in a car crash not long after. It’s the strangest thing, I can picture her face so clearly, but I can’t for the life of me remember her name.

Golden moments, people.

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