– Truman Capps

A few Christmases ago, my parents got me a little Moleskin notebook—the expensive kind that pretentious people use. The idea was that I, as an aspiring pretentious writer, would need someplace to record all the lofty ideas that came to me during the day.

Today it’s mostly full of fart jokes and three years’ worth of grocery lists. (Is it okay for a man to buy this much Yoplait Light?)

I’ve been at home for the past ten days making the final arrangements for my study abroad trip to England. Currently I’m sitting in the Portland airport waiting for a flight that will take me to Los Angeles where I will interview for summer internships for a few days. Then I will begin my study abroad trip across the massive, iceberg-laden pond to England.

These past few weeks have been largely occupied with extracting myself from my social life here in the United States. In Eugene, my old roommates and my friends from the Oregon Marching Band threw me a funeral-themed party shortly before I left. I am now ‘dead to them’ because I’ll be gone for the rest of the school year. They’ve even christened my subletter ‘New Truman,’ despite the fact that she’s a girl. I’m hoping that they give me my name back when I return home because ‘Old Truman’ sounds like either a Wild West prospector or a guileful catfish in a southern lake that nobody has ever been able to catch.

Eugene is never more awesome then it is when you decide to leave. While I’m gone, Conan O’Brien, my idol and haircut buddy, will be kicking off his stage tour of the United States in Eugene; my favorite professor will be teaching Feature Writing II; and there are rumors that cheerleaders may show up to one of my friends’ upcoming parties. Yes, cheerleaders. I’ve been trying to meet a cheerleader at a party for three years, and as soon as the opportunity arises I have to go to freaking London. God damn it, broadening your cultural horizons sucks.

I’ve heard the study abroad experience described as both the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. If that’s the case, the lows are going to be even lower thanks to the knowledge that my friends back home are doing all the things that I want to do. At this point, it’s easy to forget that going to London is right up there with owning a spaceship on the list of things I’ve always wanted to do.

To that end, last night I wrote three pieces of advice for myself in my Moleskin notebook in a rare fit of confidence—things I want to remember during the lows:




For whatever reason, when I see something written down on paper, I automatically put more stock in it (which is why I will never read a book by Glenn Beck). Because I want to be a writer, maybe I’ve got a misguided respect for the written word. Whatever the reason, since writing down my list I’ve felt more upbeat about this trip. Sure, my friends will be partying with cheerleaders, but maybe I’ll wind up sitting next to Zooey Deschanel on the plane.

UPDATE: Well, no luck on the Zooey Deschanel thing, but the seat next to me is empty instead. While Zooey Deschanel is usually preferable to no Zooey Deschanel, I loves me the armrests.

Truman Capps does this sort of crap twice a week on his blog, Hair Guy, where you can find additional travel posts from his time in London and LA.

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