Anticipation functions best when it’s specific, such as awaiting a precise phone call offering the dream job or a text message from the hospital stating all tests were negative.
Anticipation is among the powerful emotions, ranking right up there with self esteem, which is much too elusive; and fury, which is not.
In the late 1960s, my anticipation of the college experience was specific: choosing what to wear instead of wearing a uniform.
School uniforms at Immaculate Conception grammar and high school were only soul-crushing in the sense they were chosen by somebody who was not me. In fact, they were nice. Classic. It was the choosing clothes I anticipated, a gift hitherto denied.
The suitcases that trailed me into Mundelein Women’s College in Chicago like a small cattle herd were plump with options, most out of Sears & Roebuck catalog. Turtleneck sweaters and plaid pants for times I would say something smart; flowered tops to convey femininity; mannish blazers to contradict all that; knee boots only a city woman knew how to wear; and footie jammies only a suburbanite knew existed.
The thing that gives anticipation its short shelf life is reality.
No living female within my radius wore anything other than jeans when we attended college. Four years of denim. Years after that, too. No choice.
Jeans are nice. Classic. I wonder who chose them?