"I look forward to hearing your story tomorrow, Walter." Those were the words of the Vice Dean of Minority Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania. I was referred to her by a woman who was a classmate of mine who has worked for the university ever since she graduated.
I did not think I was going to talk to Penn before some time next year but I am compelled to continue clearing away the debris that is in my way. For years I would sit in my room --and I mean for years(year after year) and get depressed thinking about the mess I would have to unsnarl. I did not think I would see myself clear for at least 2 decades./ So what did I do. I escaped more and more. More cocaine. More depression. More cocaine. I was so worried that the response would be so bad that I would procrastinate.
Yes. Procrastination. It was the very first word my father made me look up in the dictionary when I asked him what it meant. I was six years old. We were playing chess. I remembered all of this while reading the book by Stephen Carter. Chess was one of the things that I had in common with the characters.
So now I do not procrastinate. I just plow on and move forward. I have built up an internal mechanism on how not to worry about myself sick until I speak to the woman. I have become accustomed to this feeling of freedom and I want more of it.
So I will relax and talk to the dean tomorrow and she will tell me what my academic options are at Penn, if any.
"Ms. Delaney, do you remember me? This is Walter Melton." We both laughed. She is the collection manager at Penn. She has known me for over 30 years and is the person I need to speak to to get my transripts. I never thought I would speak to anyone in that department for at least a year and never thought I could get my transcripts for at least 5 years. Of course, I thought this AFTER I stopped getting high. In fact the whole time down here on Skid Row, I thought it was impossible to ever get my transcripts and go to school. Of course those very thoughts are what drove me to make wrong decisions and bury myself in a room with a crack pipe and cocaine.
I told her everything. Cocaine and all. Did not surprise her about the cocaine because I had a reputation as a voracious party person on the campus. In fact her office is next door to La Terrasse, the restaurant/bar that I have talked about which was my office. Ms. Delaney would see me sitting at the bar holding court for years, after she got off work. In fact I took her and other members of the collection department to lunch one day when I made my first leasing commission.
It was great talking to her and as she said, her faith in me was not in vain. So tomorrow, I will speak to her. If I can not finish with a Penn degree, I am already planning to be able to finish someplace else. I am indeed surprised.
Someone said to me that I could accomplish alot in a year. He is proving himself to be very much correct in that statement. I am looking for jobs on university campuses around the state. I love college environments. That is why I was in no rush to leave the Penn environment.
However, when I was training for the triathlon at USC, I found myself in the law library studying constitutional law. My socializing was now at the swimming pool and library instead of bars and apartments around campus partying. Yes people do change.
I hope to socialize one day having coffee while discussing an essay assignment with a fellow student or with a professor. Dont tell any one though, none of my friends would ever believe it. They may even faint if told. It might be too much for them.
Must go to work and study. yes. I am outlining the book on how to write a novel. No need in procrastinating. My as well start studying now. Thanks Steve Carter and every one else
tomorrow I will write on "anger on skid row"