_*For most, Monday mornings usually begin a new work cycle. But for this unemployed recent college grad, Monday mornings usually signal the start of a fresh week of self-loathing. Log on each Monday for a witty (read self indulgent) and adventurous (read criminally boring) slice of life from University Chic’s Executive Editor, Stacy Hinojosa, an optimistic, job-hunting baccalaureate._
Somewhere a Sherpa is Crying
I have to admit, when I saw the flashing red and blue lights in my rear view mirror, I was hardly surprised. _”Why is he pulling us over?”_ asked my friend Virginia, sitting shotgun. _”Was it for that U-turn you pulled a few blocks ago? What, what’s going on?!”_ She was trying to read my expression. It’s the same expression I make when I’m playing Pacman on my grandmother’s Atari set and the ghosts finally catch up to me. *My car’s registration expired months ago.*
There’s no excuse for not having my story straight. I should have written it on an index card and practiced it in the mirror by now. And if I had, this would be the part of the story where I recount every word I said to talk my way out of the ticket, every sorry excuse, each alligator tear: proof that I was a quick thinker, a smooth talker, and pretty much the coolest person you know. No such luck.
_”I’m so sorry officer, but you see, I just graduated from college and I’m looking for a job and, well,…I’ve applied at lots of places, but so far nothing but rejections. Anyway, I really can’t afford to register my car right now, let alone pay a ticket for not registering it…”_ He took my license and went back to his squad car. I sat perfectly still, wondering if there was some way I could be arrested for this. My mom won’t spot me five bucks for my drycleaning, I doubt she’ll be too keen on bail.
_”I have just a few questions for you and then you’ll be on your way.”_ *Hope. I had hope. That sounded positive.* He asked me for my current phone number and the last four of my social. I recited them with an ease that can only accompany the knowledge that I was about to go unpunished for something I was actually guilty of. Yes, I was going to go free. Free to spend another week avoiding coughing up the 77 dollars necessary to renew my registration…free to spend it on designer lip gloss and early-morning rounds of golf.
_”Sign here.”_ he said, handing me a clipboard and a pen. *A yellow citation slip.* Forget the alligator tears, I had real ones. This officer had just dashed my dreams of the new E.Zeus sherpa fleece handbag. Seeing my crestfallen expression, he told me, _”You’re not a bad person. You’re not even a bad driver. You just aren’t registered.”_
Now it’s Monday morning and the memory of my run in with the law still stings. I took my car to get inspected. The result? A print out with the word *”REJECTED”* in bold 72-point font. My windshield wiper blades needed replacing. This is the third year in a row I’ve had to replace them. _”Would you like to pay the 77 dollars now?”_ the DMV worker asked me. I told her maybe in a couple days. _”Well, would you like to pay six dollars for a temporary pass?”_. I told her no, I figured no cop would ticket an unregistered, unemployed college grad with a big *REJECTED* sign.
*stacy hinojosa graduated in August from Brigham Young University with a degree in journalism and is currently pursuing a career in magazine journalism and design. She found a vintage Pacman belt in an antique shop this weekend and used part of the 77 dollars to pay for it. She still plans on ordering her sherpa fleece clutch, but only if no sherpas were harmed in making it. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.