Student government elections are upon us on my campus, so for the last week this warm, early spring several of the student candidates and their friends have been electioneering on the main plaza outside of the student center. In walking to and fro for cups of coffee, various meetings, and trips to the library, I have been stopped by a student who’s asked me if I “plan on voting in the election this year,” not once but twice. When I finally understood they were talking about a Baa Ram U. student election and not local or national politics, I said in complete disbelief, “No, I’m a professor.”
We have a large number of returning students, but most of them are in their mid- to late 20s or early 30s. Nevertheless, back when I was 28, I would have been put out by being mistaken for a student. Now at 43, I’m rather flattered (in addition to being stunned. I wanted to say to the students, “don’t I look like your mother? Perhaps you’ve mistaken my wrinkled forehead for some strange facial tattoo?”) And I swear I’ve been wearing grown-up clothes and shoes all week long, too: shoes with heels, skirts, and even real jewelry. I’m not walking around in my Hello Kitty gear, or wearing my “I made out with Jordan Catalano” tee-shirt (which is something that sometimes happens, I will admit.)
These are the shoes I’m wearing today. I think I’m going to wear them all summer long, even when I’m just reading or writing on my back porch. They make me feel so large and in-charge, and because I’m going to crank out a draft of my book this summer I’ll need all of the help I can get, even if the only place I’m going most days is over to the refrigerator for more iced tea.