Excerpt from the book:
Despite the dismal state of my postcollege existence, I got lucky with one thing: my apartment, the cozy space above a two-car garage in a leafy neighborhood of wide streets, joggers, and recycling bins. My landlord is a cardiac surgeon who adorns his lab coat with a sheriff's badge--he's some sort of eccentric genius, apparently--and works up the street at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The apartment I share with a grad student named Jung Lee, who spends twenty-four hours a day rotating among the various MIT libraries and/or slaving over research studies for her PhD.
I tuck my reliable little Chevy Prizm--twelve years old and still humming--into its spot between the garage and the stockade fence and, with my purse clamped under my elbow, shimmy out, my dress acquiring a lovely coat of grime as I hug the clapboard siding on my way to the mailbox.
Why do I even bother? I wonder as I sift through a stack of bills, credit card offers--yeah, right!--and a record number of scientific journals to which Jung subscribes in supplementation of her microbiology course load. Truth be told, I thought about grad school myself, but when I couldn't muster the energy to fill out the application, it seemed smarter to wait out my undergrad burnout by getting some on-the-job experience . . . if anyone would sink low enough to hire me, that is.
It's not exactly true that I'm unemployed, though. In fact, I'm stuck in a spectacular state of being known as underemployment, loosely defined as working a shit job (at a dive bar, in my case) for peanuts, while the student-loan police billy club your door down for the five hundred bucks a month you must now bleed out of your eyeballs to pay off that sparkly new degree you just HAD TO HAVE TO GET A DECENT JOB NOWADAYS!!!
I unlock the garage and plod upstairs to the second-floor landing, a four-by-four alcove with a generous window and a scraggly geranium (thanks again, Mom) that I have resurrected from the dead too many times to count.
I nudge my way inside, drop the mail in our "incoming" basket, and kick off my shoes. I'm about to shuffle into the kitchen, when . . . Eeeek!!!