There are certain phases in life when you should make note to avoid adult social gatherings. Little did I know that one of these phases would amount to my entire senior year.

Reason to avoid them? Because the same question is asked millions of times, often multiple times by the same person, and by the end of the event you have to restrain yourself from slapping the next person that asks:

a) So what are you thinking about for next year?

b) Oh my, you’re a senior! What colleges are you looking into?

c) Do you have a top choice?

Or my personal favorite:

d) What do you plan on doing with your future?

Don’t get me wrong, the question-posers are, most of the time, far from evil. They’re relatives, friends of parents, and those people who always begin conversations with remarks about my shocking age and height. Plus, what else are they supposed to talk about? They don’t know of anything else that’s going on in my life. But really: Can’t they just begin with “How are things?” and let me take it from there?

Unfortunately they can’t, and the next time I see them they want updates, and the time after that, more specific updates. I take pity on most of them for their attempts at conversation and shell out the same answer until it’s become a rehearsed line. However, not all deserve my pity.

The worst of the question-posers are the competitive moms. You know, the ones with sturdy ponytails, decked out in cardigans and designer tennis shoes. The ones who always seem like they’re preparing for a marathon. While you’re conversing with them, you imagine them jumping up and down slightly then crouching into starting position. They scan through the moves of the race while they pretend to listen: AP, SAT’s, college counselor, AP, SAT’s… did Danny sign-up for that ACT prep course?

They’re the ones that compare you to their children, and you know this because of the anxiety that dominates their faces when they find out you made varsity tennis or are in a high level of French. They make you want to cower into embryo position and surrender, admitting their child is and always will be a superior being. When you’re cornered by one of these moms, it’s often almost impossible to escape. As you’re selecting a brie cheese at an art opening, she practically throws herself on top of the cheese plate, immediately popping a question: “Are you nervous to find out where you got in? What’s your top choice?” Don’t slap her. Don’t do it.

The worst part about this mom is that you can’t slide around the situation with a joke like, “Oh, you know, I’ll just be here supporting myself with my crack dealings.” Competitive specimens like her have no sense of humor. In this scenario, you need to play up the bashful, vague side: “Well, there are so many great schools out there, I’ll be happy wherever I go.” She asks, “But where specifically did you apply? Are you looking at any in California?” At this point you have no choice but to cave in, and the excitement in her eyes is apparent as she awaits a victorious conversation with her child.

“I don’t know where I want to go, lady,” I’d like to say. “Now excuse me while I enjoy my brie.” But in most of these cases I just list my schools.

Within the next few weeks, all seniors will discover what schools have accepted them, and will decide where they want to go. Please talk about the weather instead.


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