Day after graduation: Weep. Buckets.
May 25-June 5: Sit on the couch watching all the taped episodes of “Lost” I missed over the school year. Try to understand how J.J. Abrams’ brain works. Fail. Ignore my parents’ repeated pleas to go find a job.
June 6: Try to start my 1989 Saab. The engine dies. Return to couch.
June 7: Engine resurrected. Drive to mall to apply for job at Waldenbooks. Waldenbooks has been replaced by a Baby Gap. Drive home and return to couch.
June 8: Drive to Barnes and Noble to apply for job. Interview is with the kid in my math class who used to cheat off of me. Walk over to Blockbuster and purchase the complete series of “Freaks and Geeks” and “Sports Night.” Drive home, turn couch cushions over and watch Felicity Huffman before she sold out.
June 12: Write a short story about a pair of geeky Jewish high school kids who start their own sports network. Their nemesis is modeled after Dennis Miller.
June 13: Reread short story. Delete it from my computer’s memory and my own.
June 20: I think my parents’ anniversary was June 6. Dammit.
June 21: Receive a call from a friend from high school. What am I up to now that I’ve graduated from Yale? Embarrassed silence on my end of the phone.
June 22: Go to grocery store to pick up Nutri-Grain whole wheat waffles because my punk sisters ate them all. The grocery store has run out of them. Sob in the frozen foods aisle.
June 30: After watching “Newsies” for the 188th consecutive time, the tape explodes. Go to Radio Shack to buy new VCR. Realize I have no money and use grandparents’ emergency credit card.
July 2: My mother’s birthday. She receives a new VCR. Asks what happened to the old one. I tell her our 14-year-old miniature poodle Brewster broke it.
July 3: Plain white square tiles on the bathroom floor kind of look like tiger faces.
July 4: While taking mail out of mailbox, note that my skin is the color of the envelopes. None of the mail is for me. It never is. Fireworks startle me. I scream. No one hears me.
July 5: The phone rings. It’s a friend from Yale. She dialed my number by accident. We make small talk for a few minutes, and then she gets off the phone because her boss, the judge, is calling for her. Bitch.
July 10: Go to the grocery store to pick up Jello fat-free chocolate pudding because my punk sisters ate it all. Flip through a “TV Guide,” fascinated by the cover story on Paula Abdul’s new prison reality TV show. The check-out girl is my high school nemesis. She’s dyed her hair platinum blonde and has yet to drop the weight from her unwed pregnancy. I chuckle demonically at her pitiful state while sitting in my Saab licking the pudding off my fingers.
July 15: Grandma calls to ask about the credit card bill. The answering machine picks up, and I accidentally delete the message before I can hear it.
July 20: My sisters perform a hostile takeover of the television. Reruns of “Dawson’s Creek” abound. I join the local gym and go at hours when no one else is there, so I can watch whatever the hell I want.
July 29: My grandmother’s birthday was July 26. Dammit. I remember my uncle’s birthday in advance.
August 2: My uncle calls to thank me for his birthday card and the coupon for Jello fat free chocolate pudding. I say a gracious “you’re welcome” and hang up. Crap. So that’s where that coupon went.
August 9: Go to the beach. Fall asleep.
August 12: My sisters both have boyfriends. I rekindle an old romance with my most faithful lover: the couch.
August 15: Write a poem about couches. It’s one of my better works because it’s about something real.
August 16: Find a frozen waffle behind one of the couch pillows. I sniff it. Then I taste it. Then I eat it.
August 17-25: Yale-New Haven Hospital.
August 29: Forgot to buy plane ticket to go to grad school. Forgot to pack for grad school. Forgot to get loans to pay for grad school. Forgot if I actually picked a grad school.
August 30: Go to Blockbuster. Attempt to purchase more DVD boxed sets. My grandparents’ credit card is rejected and then cut in front of me by the guy in high school who held the record for the 100m butterfly until last year. Bawl on the cardboard cutout shoulders of Schwarzenegger.
August 31: Steal all the pennies in the living room piggy bank and Coinstar them. Take the $38.43 and drive to Philadelphia. Break into my old roommate’s apartment and beg her to let me live on her couch.
September 1: Couch reminds me of one at home. Blubber into the upholstery.
September 2: Drive home. Locks have been changed. Not really sure what to do with that. Sleep on neighbor’s deck.
September 3: Wake up to the gentle caresses of the big pink tongue of Murray, my neighbors’ Labrador retriever. Realize yesterday was my 22nd birthday. Dammit. Drive to Blockbuster and tell the manager that his swimming star employee is a Bush fan and a neo-Nazi. Apply for neo-Nazi’s former job.
September 4: Start job at Blockbuster.
September 5: Skip work and go to library to write story of my summer. Print out story and send it to nationally renowned literary magazine.
September 6: Lose job at Blockbuster. Move into parents’ garage. Listen to Murray howl all night, mourning my absence.
September 22: First day of autumn — officially starving. Go check mail. Am now whiter than the envelopes. One envelope is for me. It’s from the nationally renowned literary magazine. It has a check in it. I slip the check under my parents’ front door and knock. Later that night, the door is unlocked, and I am allowed back in. I gorge on pudding and waffles and return to couch.
I live happily ever after.
Katherine Stevens has seen the future: a wasteland ruled by Ahnold.