When I was in high school, I took a private course to prepare for the S.A.T.’s because that’s what all my friends were doing. And, if you think about it, what does it say about university entrance exams if they require extra preparation that only some families can afford?
But lest you think this is a high and mighty commentary about class and education, don’t you worry your pretty little head: It’s all about my love life.
Because the only thing I really remember from these sessions was one very big crush I had on one of my instructors, a Northwestern University upper-classman with a mass of unruly, dark curly hair, a lanky frame and a constant pair of cowboy boots. He even had a fabulous name that could have been very Jewy or just ethnicy, depending on his ancestry, of which I never knew for sure. But what made him especially romantic in my 17-year-old eyes, besides being a college man, was that he was a musician. And a poet. And a playwright! He even shared with us a very deep and highly symbolic story that clearly attested to his artistic heights, which was not how the police who banged on his motel room door in the middle of the night felt to talk to him about his attempt (unsuccessful) to drop his play off outside Sam Shepard’s home. My favorite part was that he was wet, naked and drunk on cheap beer when the cops came-a-calling. How romantic is that?
You’re probably wondering why I even remember this anecdote about a guy who only factored briefly into my life a good twenty years ago? A guy who was not even a social friend or a boyfriend for that matter. A guy who I’m pretty sure had a girlfriend, which did not prevent me from feeling, in my heart of hearts, that he was holding out a flicker of hope for me. Me, who when he came to my house for a personal tutorial (I don’t remember why, only that I barely breathed the whole time) relied upon the time tested Abigail Pickus flirting technique: total silence, no eye contact and a hint of moral superiority. Oh, and the quoting of dead poets, including and not excluding William Wordsworth, as in: "The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers…"
Where was I? Oh, only that Wordsworth used an S.A.T. word: Boon. Even better, he accentuated the boon with the word, "sordid." Which is another way of saying, I was hopeless as a teenage girl. And sadly, just as hopeless now, pushing 40 in Jerusalem, dateless, and scouring the internet for glimpses of crushes gone by.
And the funny thing about the internet is you can pretty much find whatever it is you’re looking for. But even after I found his website, listing all of the information that would clearly identify him as my former S.A.T. teacher, it took me a full minute to comprehend that the photo of the man in the baseball cap (over a conspicuously absent head of hair) was the same guy who took my breath away so many years ago. And yet, I was happy to find out that he’s still a poet. And an artist. And a musician. And a father. I even watched one of his videos on Youtube and you know what? He wasn’t half bad.
A very cute cutie.
Some things even time can’t change.