I was lounging at home one afternoon when my cell phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number on the screen.
I hesitantly picked it up. “Hello?”
“Is this Peter?” It was a woman’s voice.
“Who’s this?” I asked.
“Peter, it’s Angela! You know, from Journalism school?”
I didn’t say anything.
“Do you remember me?” she asked. “We were both in Ad Club, as well as Media Ethics? We graduated together?”
“Oh!” I said, slapping my forehead. “Angela! Wow, yes! I remember now. It’s been a while.”
“I hope you don’t mind me calling,” she said. “I’ve been reaching out to former Ad Club members to gauge their interest in an upcoming volunteer opportunity.”
I grimaced. “OK.”
“The Journalism school is sponsoring a neighborhood cleanup next Saturday for at-need homeowners. It’s open to alumni and current students. Basically, we’re all going to get together to mow lawns, pull weeds, cut flowers — basically, clean up yards for people who can’t afford it or who are physically unable to do it on their own.”
“Oh,” I said.
“We figured it’d be a nice way for everyone to hang out,” Angela said. “A lot of us haven’t seen each other since graduation, and I’m sure we’ve all been super-busy starting our careers. Plus, the weather’s supposed to be warm. It’ll be a nice way for white-collar professionals like us to get out of the office and do some manual labor for a change. Maybe we’ll even get a tan!”
“Yeah,” I said, mumbling. I imagine I sounded less than enthusiastic.
“So,” Angela said, her voice tinged with excitement, “are you interested? Do you want to come?”
“Not particularly,” I said — probably a little too abruptly.
“Oh, Peter.” I could hear the disappointment in her voice. “Why not? It’ll be like a mini-reunion! Don’t you want to see everyone again?”
I sighed, leaning back in my seat. “Angela, maybe I should tell you what I’ve been doing for a living since graduation.”