When I was in college, I took this Buddhism class. I took it for two reasons: 1) It fit some random Gen Ed requirement and 2) The professor was totally smoking hot. I had had the same professor for my freshman seminar the year before, so was well aware of the hotness I was signing myself up for. (What a wonderful "WELCOME TO COLLEGE, SWEETHEART!" that was!) It sure didn't hurt that the guy liked a lot of the same bands that I liked and would play them in the morning as we all shuffled to our seats in this attic classroom of a 300 year old building. There was a lot of Morrissey, if I remember correctly, which totally gets one in the mood for an angsty, heady fantasy session wherein you write a lot of "MRS. MORGAN HOTPROFESSOR" all over your notebooks while you're supposed to be writing notes about a lack of attachment to earthly relationships. IRONY--I HAZ IT.
A big midterm for the class just happened to take place on the same day as this huge ice storm, one of the only ones we had while I was in school. I really wanted to be out of school that day. For one thing, I was somewhat unprepared and didn't want the professor to think that I was stupid and somehow undeserving of all the postcoital chocolate milkshakes I imagined him making for both of us after a particularly trying night of discussing nirvana. For the other thing, my car was completely encased in ice. It was really eerie looking, as a matter of fact, and I haven't seen anything like it before or since. After struggling mightily just to get the damn door open, I finally resorted to using a case knife and a Norton Critical Anthology as a kind of crude chisel to get the damn thing out and driveable. I finally got it out, managed to buy a bluebook and made it to the exam in time.
The professor was late that morning, and there was no Morrissey. We were all thinking about leaving, thinking he had called the whole thing off because of inclement weather, when he appeared, looking a tad roughed up and really hot in a "Where's my sexy nurse outfit???" kinda way. He told us that he had slipped on the ice of his walk that morning. He seemed kind of despondent about it; it was clearly more than "I just really bruised my ass." As he handed out the exams, he said in a sad tone that he noticed that when he fell, he did not bounce back up. "I used to bounce," he said.
(Being the kind of person who kind of cares about these things, I must add here that I got a B+ on that midterm, with the professor writing that I had very strong thoughts and ideas and writing and blah blah blah, but he only gave A's to people who showed "graduate level thinking." Which is kind of douchey, Mr. HotProfessor. I was 19. The only thing graduate level about me at 19 was my ability to construct detailed romantic and sexual fantasy.)
So, of course, this is where my mind went this morning. I don't bounce anymore either. I am no longer college age, although I get mistaken for it a lot, due to good aging genes (for real--you should see my 86 year old grandmother--I am a lucky duck) and an abject refusal not to wear beaten up boots with every ensemble. I am close to 30. And as I sat on my porch, thinking about how ungraceful the whole thing was, I realized that maybe, just maybe, it isn't such a bad place to be.
There is a weird feeling, though, when reaching a point where someone you know who once seemed so senior has been before. I googled the professor, and he is not as hot as he once was. (But who am I kidding? I'd still hit it.) If the college rumor mill is to be believed, he didn't get tenure because he got caught trying to reach nirvana with a student. He is now teaching somewhere else. I have this nearly overwhelming urge to email him and say something dumb like "Hey, remember that time you fell and how old you felt? I GET IT NOW. Where's my A in life?"