I stood in line at the crowded holiday post office. I had three manila envelopes in my arms, all stuffed with application material: letters, transcripts, portfolio, etc.
The woman in front of me had four boxes wedged against her body - a bright red sweater bunched awkwardly around her waist exposing two inches of flesh. I couldn't stop staring.
She must have felt this because suddenly she turned around, caught sight of my envelopes, asked, "You mailing Christmas stuff too?"
I shook my head, explained I was trying to meet application deadlines.
She craned her neck in order to read one of the school names. "Oh," she said with a scoff, "you do not want to go there."
Obviously I do if I'm currently holding an application in my hand. But instead I just asked, why.
"The weather is miserable, you'd hate it."
Have we met?
This prompted the woman behind me to pipe in, "My nephew goes there and loves it!"
These women started discussing the school and I found myself no longer included in the conversation.
I've had countless people ask me where I'm applying then promptly inform me where I should or should not attend. They always have "solid evidence" to back up their statements - ie:
Their governor is an idiot.
I went there for vacation and they have the worst food imaginable.
Good luck finding a decent husband.
Complete strangers informing me what I will like.
These two women, strangers, felt the need to look at me and explain what is best for me.
I feel sorry for whoever is on the receiving end of their gift boxes and Christmas cards. I can only imagine what's written inside - "You are just going to love this!"