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The Farm

by Heather M. Egland

Author's note: This was an assignment for a PR class I was taking in 1994. I had to severely override the impulse to change it, rewrite it somehow; but I really didn't have anything to say then, and I guess I really don't have anything to say now. Maybe the reader should just skip this one.

I refuse to start at the beginning simply because it's an irrelevant place to start. Much of my life in the last five minutes is probably just as interesting, if not more so, as my origin.

I sit at my dining room table in the central room of my three-flat apartment trying to let 500 words be my life story as the music in the background keeps breaking my concentration. My roommate and I searched for this apartment for two months, aimlessly driving around the neighborhood trying to crash the party of gentrification that is Wicker Park. Every Sunday we took turns driving the fifty miles from our hometown of Yorkville, Illinois, where we both grew up. I've lived here for four months now and I'm finally getting used to the fact that I don't have to go back to my parents' house.

I still work in the suburbs as a customer service representative for MetLife Insurance in Aurora. People I don't know call me up for eight hours each day to yell at me for things I didn't do. It's what mere mortals call stress. So, Monday through Friday, I make an hour-and-a-half commute for what should be a forty-minute trip straight to hell.

I have been working at MetLife for the last eighteen months. I started the job when I moved back into my parents' house in Yorkville after a brief two-and-a-half year flirtation with traditional college life at the University of Illinois in Champaign. I was an architecture major who discovered I had neither the drive nor the desire to develop whatever talent lay beneath my desire to socialize and spend unscrupulous amounts of money. Suffice it to say, it should be a crime to offer more than one credit card to a college student.

It hadn't been easy going back to the small town of 4,000. It was not in my master plan to endure the rules of my parents after being "on my own." Besides, I felt like the little place no longer held anything for me to cherish. Yorkville consisted of one high school (oddly enough called Yorkville High School), a Lion's club, a VFW, various fast food stores, and four car washes. I had graduated nineteenth among a class of 180. I was a cheerleader for the mediocre Little Seven Conference sporting event; I participated in choir, school plays, and various hometown parades. I had obviously well exceeded my allotted fifteen minutes of fame.

So there I was, alternating Sundays with my roommate in search of anonymity in the city of Chicago. Which is why I come home from work every night fully intending to do absolutely nothing and somehow ending up in any given local establishment trying to comprehend my reasons for being there until the wee hours of the morning. Life in the city is not without its perks: I've compiled extensive research on how little sleep a person can get in one night, coupled with the ratio of red to white in one's eyeballs.

Tonight I've succeeded in staying home to write 500 words about my twenty-two years of life on this planet. I apologize for avoiding mentioning anything truly consequential, but I have maintained true to form in satisfying a requirement while avoiding the true essence of the subject matter.

Ask me in twenty years for an autobiography. Maybe you'll have better luck next time.