I was given the ultimatum today that I will have a full-time job this summer; if I don't find one of my own, my father will forcibly enroll me in dishwashing in a lower pit of hell somewhere.
I don't agree with infinite parental responsibility, but it's obviously to my advantage; besides that, I don't feel I've been prepared for adult life in the least. "OK, go get a job now"--then I fuck up royally and everyone points and laughs and I'm exiled from the planet, or at least the lower 48. I have no honor.
The two actual jobs I've had have just been series of screw-ups, poor decisions, and paranoia. I'm still not sure what my employer's reaction to my quitting the Visual Basic summer job I had was, or what my current employer on the research project, Dr Novobilski, who broke his wrist last weekend and was out all week, thinks of my latest fuck-up and inability to do the paltry task I was given. The Visual Basic guy was the kind of sleazy manager type Dr Nemecek badmouths in 450--but that means he's also the kind of guy with connections, who'll get me blacklisted if he can and found it some grave inconvenience or challenge to his honor.
Some of it's paranoia, but some of it is Chattanooga not being Silicon Anything. (I had to drive farther to that Visual Basic job than my 20-30 minute commute to campus, which is part of the reason I wanted to stop after school began again.) Part of me wants to find an acceptable job somewhere I can move away to, starting this summer, so I can drop out of university and say it's my parents' fault--that'll show them--but I have those fantasies all the time and expect it's not uncommon. I was already considering dropping out, since I've taken every computer science course they offer except three, and I don't want to learn anything the other courses will teach me. I'm not sure my dad cares if I graduate. My brother didn't go to college and now he has a wife, child, and non-trivial job and is an upstanding Protestant though they had a civil service and none of us go to church much, and isn't that the point of life?
When my dad called me in, said we had to have "a serious sit-down talk," I hesitated. I didn't think I thought it a big deal, whatever it was--but my mom said, "Don't worry, you're not in trouble." I did think it was a big deal, of course; we never talk, we just say things. The "you're not in trouble" consciously reminded me of the two paradigmatic examples of my getting in trouble as a child: when I was very little, I would walk into the street, and they'd have to extract me--physically go and carry me out of the street--and punish me; and once, when (I think) one of them was speaking to me in the garage, I interrupted to excuse myself, and ran to the end of the driveway so I could shoot a passing car with a water gun. I was punished for wanting to see and explore my world, so now I'm frightened to leave.
Since late childhood, I've 100% avoided speaking to my parents about anything important: my future, philosophy, sex, politics. Just smile and nod, which is what I did in our little "serious talk," only without the smiling. They don't care or know the difference--it's all yes, sir and/or ma'am; I defend my freedom to do whatever it is I do by keeping it "whatever it is I do" to them.
I forget who, but somebody from school asked yesterday what I was going to do "when I grow up," and I still don't know. I always say that when I don't know what the options are, because creativity is dangerous and gets you ostracized.