"What do you want to do?" my mom is always asking me, as she tries to help me pick a direction for college. In truth, I want to be a food critic. It would be the most awesome job in the world! I love food. And, I mean, forget NaNoWriMo -- accurately and concisely describing something as allusive as texture and flavor with precision, there is a delicious challenge.
But, I mean, no, that's stupid. I lack the skill set to be a food critic, I don't have the aggressive quality necessary to have a career in journalism, and I'd never be able to master the culinary knowledge to be a good food critic. Further, it's not a very fulfilling job. I'd be severely depressed if I ate food and wrote what I thought about it for a living, just thinking about all the people who don't have food to eat at all, just thinking about the frivolous nature of this work. I don't really want to be a food critic.
Still, I read articles about Gail Simmons and think, "I want to be her." Or Katie White. Or Hayley Williams. Or Sasha Cohen. Okay, whatever!
When I was younger, I wanted to be a detective. That's what I told the doctor at each yearly check up when he inquired as to my professional goals. I wrote and cracked codes, I had a spy kit, I was obsessed with logic puzzles, I read tons of Nancy Drew and Cam Jensen and Encyclopedia Brown novels. I had a passion in life! I still have a vague adoration for aviators and fedoras and trench coats, but as a mostly oblivious person who is awful under pressure ["we're cracking, can't we give ourselves one more chance"] and who cries at crime shows, I'm pretty sure I can't be a detective when I grow up. I don't really want to be a detective. I don't really want to be a food critic.
But the idea is intoxicating, right? I've bought into the land of opportunity propaganda, that my career can extend as far as my ambition, that I can do whatever I want to do if I have the passion to make it happen. Fantastic. And then I wonder, food critic is the highest thing I aspire to? I need to re-prioritize. I need a reality check.
But, I want to suspend reality for a little while. I want to be a food critic.