I woke up for my first day of Grad School yesterday and realized that I had no “real people” clothes. Plenty of whites, checks, white undershirts and bandanas, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t purchased a new pair of people pants in the past four years.
I’m also worried that I haven’t been properly socialized in awhile and it’s making me feel more awkward than usual. I frequently converse with the army of hot and sweaty, friendly lunatics, also known as “the cooks” – They may sound like sailors, but they are the poets of pork and aficionados of frites – but beyond the kitchen staff, banquet managers, and vendors, conversations of the liberal arts persuasion have been off my plate for quite some time.
So, I arrived to school feeling green, despite the fact that I’ve studied at a liberal arts college before, mingled with hipsters in their floppy hats and tight jeans, and think fondly of places like Portland. Something had changed inside me – I was having trouble sitting still, circular conversations annoyed me and I felt a strange aggression towards people who talked passionately about food preparation, but had never “walked the walk,” if you will.
Still, as conversations progressed and I learned more about my peers, the more I realized I was in the right place and I shouldn’t run away to the comfort of hot ovens and throwing dough. Who was I anyway? Not everyone had war stories from a kitchen perspective (although there were some fellow chefs in the room), but everyone had the same obsession and everyone had incredible, unbelievable experiences traveling and working in some sector of food from farming to non-profits – This was still the same sub-sect of the world for which I’d become so allegiant– Food People waiting for the next delicious thing to eat and hoping to make the world a better place one cookie, one foraged mushroom, one coffee bean, one hydroponically grown turnip, or one food story at a time.
Yesterday after class, I’ve bought two pairs of pants. Some practical slacks and the other – teal, skinny jeans – don’t tell the hipsters.