Friday
Sep082006

« Back To School...Again »

This week, I started very tentatively back to my beloved Harvard-on-the-hill, Mesa College. I don't mean to sound I am tentative about learning; I love to learn stuff and the longer I attend school, I actually watch my GPA rise. So, I don't mind that much. What I do mind is that I have never been financially able to just power through a few full semesters of classes and have a way to pay for life. So it has just been an on and off thing for the last three years, and that was after a ten year period when I didn't do anything at Mesa (though I did do a year at Art Institute). Of the last six semesters at Mesa, I've attended for three. But I've aced all my classes.

This year I was tentative because at the same time as my unemployed state sort of has to run out, I have these classes I signed up for during the day. After my three semesters of night courses, and running out of required classes that meet at night, I decided to risk day classes that would cut into my work schedule—sort of a joke considering I don't have one, but respectful of the logical scenario of being expected to work during the day. The leading job lead that I had was an Americorps literacy program. After about a month and a half on the line, two resume submissions, a few nagging emails, and actually applying with two good refs, they told me I was still not qualfied for this position. It was suggested that maybe I spend some time volunteering in that field so that I could get this gig as a volunteer! Oh, well fuck me. So, the logic, pared down to its core, without pretense is this: spend some time working for free so they can see if I am qualified to work full time for too little. Kelli and our roommate Suzanne both did Americorps gigs and to hear them tell it, it was a great formative experience for them. But now it seems that Americorps is just a headhunter to find people who will work for less than a "real" wage. I've been told that Americorps is not supposed to just stock non-profits with lower paid versions of people who would otherwise do those gigs, but is supposed to hire people who need that foot-in-the-door first experience. Whatever.

This semester, I am taking two classes which conveniently solve my need for two humanities classes, as well as giving me a good enhancement to stuff I am already showing an interest in. I have back-to-back classes on Old and New Testament, and alternating days from those has my beginning voice class. I believe that is a last gasp at trying to find and develop a musical voice, not just in terms of what comes out of my mouth, but my overall musical output. My reasoning behind that is to see if I can play up my songwriterly side instead of blind musical wanking that so far has given my five years of musical scraps that have not begun to touch the stuff I did when I was just hacking around in the studio with no chops.

At least taking the two Biblical classes gives me a chance to save on book purchases. So far, I was able to not have to buy two of the books that are required reading because Kelli already owned one from her studies last year. I owned the other. And maybe Jerry at church will own one or two others. Still, the couple that I do know no one else will have are expensive as fuck for what they appear as.

I started a new transporation method to Mesa this time around. The first two years back in '91-'93 were all on bike. But that was when I could trace a flat route that was not a lot longer than the real hilly route that was the shortest. Now, all I have is hills and more hills—various combinations of Balboa and Genesee are just harsh on bike, and more so for fat old me who hasn't biked those hills much at all even in the days before cars, and especially now when I am about 13 years out since riding regularly, even if just around Clairemont and Kearny Mesa. So this week, I've taken the truck with the bike in back and parked about a half mile out, but as close to the school as I can be, and rode in. For now, that short ride, with half of it being hilly and loaded with traffic, is just fine for me. I arrive having broken a sweat (either in the midday sun or the morning marine layer burnoff) and feeling it in my legs. However, it's nice on the bike when considering the horrible rat race action that is the task of parking at the Mesa lot—especially during the day. So, even as my legs were sore from the first few experiences of riding these hills since 1993, I was still whizzing by all the others in cars and in relative comfort. Being on a bike and looking for a place to lock up brought to mind that there were hardly any bikes visible from wherever I was going. It was sort of lonely in that regard. Very few bikes. One morning I had Suzanne take me and the bike to the bottom of the hill on Genesee and I pedaled the short way to class, then rode all the way home in the midday sun. With the exception of muscles that need to be worked and a totally uncomfortable ride on the seat I use, it was actually nice to be biking. I stopped for lunch at Cotixan like I usually do when presented the opportunity, and put in an application at Henry's market (where I am sure they too will disqualify me). I think I could take a shorter route, but that might mean confronting the dreaded Balboa Avenue between Genesee and Clairemont drive! That is a wicked hill to climb and I don't think I've ever done that one, believe it or not.

So now that I decided to keep my classes, got the books, and so forth, I guess I just need to figure out how to pay for living. I had a chance to get student loans but that was preposterous to me. Go into debt on a semester of fuggin' junior college? Thanks, but I am trying to pay my way out of worthless schooling from 2001-2 and still have 40% to go on that. To hell with running up a debt for Mesa.

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