The 40-year-old Freshman – Amory Goes Back to School – Day 3
Wherein Amory Shops for School Supplies
On Saturday, I had to go shopping for school supplies. I won't lie, I hated every minute of it.
The list my art appreciation teacher provided listed several items. Unfortunately for me, everything after "11x17 Sketchbook" might as well have been written in Chinese. And been stereo instructions. Translated from the original Latin.
What I'm getting at here is that I was confused.
I'm not an art major. Basically I looked at the piece of paper that was handed to me when I asked what I needed to finish my degree and upon finding out I needed a Fine Art class, I looked through the schedule to find a class that wouldn't require drawing or painting or working with clay or wearing any type of beret... I thought I'd found it with Art Appreciation.
When I initially saw the list, a mild concern set in. Why did I need a sketchbook and art supplies for a class that, at least in my mind, had me appreciating art, not creating it?
But trooper that I am, I decided to go to the art supply store and pick up what was on my syllabus as "required materials".
Apparently, unbeknownst to me but most likely knowst to people who have taken an art class, there are different types of pencils. I needed 2 pencils of the 2B variety.
In the art store, I come across a plethora of pencils. 2H, 4B, 6B, HB, H, #2, but no 2B.
I skip down the list and go find my sketch book. Easy, right? WRONG!
There is a shortage of 11x17 sketchbooks in Victoria. I'm not making this up. I track down someone who works in the art store and ask about this dire shortage of paper supplies and 2B pencils.
On the plus side, stopping to ask the store clerk about the issue worked in my favor. She went in back and pulled out the "last" of the stock and told me not to tell anyone she was doing this for me. I mentally called BS at the moment that she said it so I'm now telling you all about it.
First off, the pencils are four freakin' bucks for two lousy pencils. I pondered taking one to the jeweler to see if it was made out of some precious metal but no, it's just a pencil. A fancy two dollar pencil.
The sketchbook is a soft cover book and it's ten bucks. I ask the clerk if the pages were handmade by blind virgins. She stares at me with a blank look. I ask if she wants me to call 911 and report her sense of humor missing...
20 dollars and one humorless cashier later, I'm no wiser about what's so special about the pencils or the sketchbook.
Saturday evening I return home and unpack my art supplies. I try to shrug off my disappointment that there were no hot girls who came and asked me to draw them wearing only a fancy necklace and load my supplies into my backpack.
I set my backpack down after the transfer. I'm clarifying this point. I set it down. I don't drop it, throw it, jump on it, or otherwise attempt to mangle it. There are four distinct popping sounds as I set it down.
I cringe and open my bag and find the pencils, each where I had put them but now instead of two unused pencils, I have six distinctly unusable fragments. There may have been some cursing at this point.
I then notice the second problem. The soft cover sketchbook is curling due to its size. I have 15-16 weeks of class to go and just by this small amount of disfigurement, I can tell there is no way this soft covered sketch paper will last more than a week or two.
The erasers, at least, are in one piece.
I return to the art store on Monday having discovered the distinct lack of an open store on Sunday and make my way back to the back hoping that the "last" of the sketchbooks and pencils have made their way to the sales floor.
I find more supplies, this time investing in a $20 hard cover sketchbook and a $15 leather bound carrying case for future pencils. I find out, however, that my future pencils must come in a much larger "variety" pack as they are sold out of individual 2B pencils... the "variety" pack is also $15 instead of $4.
I've now spent $80 on $60 worth of usable supplies.
This was my school shopping adventure. To those of you with kids who have to do this thing on a yearly basis, I salute you.
The class itself is uneventful. I take notes in the sketch book as I am told and draw this awesome picture of my hand (also as directed):
I felt the decision on the teacher's part to not allow me to turn it into a turkey somehow diminished my creative process...
There is still the distinct buffer of empty desks around my lonely back-of-the-classroom perch even though I was considerably less scary looking this week. I let it go without comment.
I'm certain there will be more to come.