My parents own a hunting business, so we have a lodge that’s about a quarter mile down the road from my house. My parents have a hard time keeping up our house and the lodge. The lodge gives us money, so it always has first dibs. This means my house never has ketchup, and there are always strangers in the only area with WIFI.

I have a lot of trouble interacting with the hunters. Not only because I have a hard time talking to everyone in every situation, always, but also because my parents get most of their conversation topics from the lives of their kids. Lucky me went off “to the big city,” so my parents brag about this to seem worldly.  Neither of my parents can seem to remember which school I go to, so they always just say, “She goes to New York,” leaving their hunters to assume I go to NYU.

I often find myself pouring a bowl of cereal, only to realize that yesterday’s milk has vanished. When I ask my mom where it went her response is always the same, “We’ve got some down at the lodge!”

I weigh the need for sanity and cereal heavily. Sometimes my stomach chooses food.

Entering the lodge I always make a grand entrance, no matter how hard I try to be invisible. My dad shouts, “There’s my New York girl!” and just like that I’m twelve. The little bit of adult rationalization I’ve picked up over the years is gone. Embarrassment and anxiety fight for the right to freeze up my brain.

All of the middle-aged men in camo feel obligated to turn their attention towards my dad’s favorite topic. I smile and nod as they tell me about their niece that goes to NYU. They always have a niece at NYU. She usually has a scholarship because she plays the baritone clarinet in the New York Philharmonic. Now she’s studying string theory under Michio Kaku or someone equally great.

I try to get to the fridge, but they’ve created a barrier with their bulky bodies. All I wanted was Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

If they don’t have a niece it’s an in-law. Every hunter I’ve ever met has had an in-law in my area (by my area they mean he’s somewhere in New York—as in the state). But all of this is good. I would listen to them talk about their great-grandnieces and cousins twice removed for hours, anything to keep them from asking me what I’m doing with my life.

My only accomplishment is that I got out of Iowa. This only really bothers me when I when I think about how boring my Jeopardy introduction is going to be. I watch these grown men’s eyes gloss over while I tell them that I do not go to NYU, but to a lesser known (although just as rewarding) art school that advertises itself on the subway.

My dad gets desperate when he sees the interest on his buddies’ faces fade. He starts reaching, “Tell them what you’ve been doin! Tell them about the guy your mom said you met!”

I’m so certain that none of these burly old men care about the time I ran into Fred Armisen outside of a Bed, Bath and Beyond, so I just mumble some stuff about student films, shrink to the size of an opossum, weave my way through the thick Carhartt coats, grab the milk, squeak my farewells, annnnd I’m outta there!

Later tonight my parents will bond over just how “plain unsociable” their daughter is.

Sheena Scott is a junior Film and Video major with a focus in Screenwriting.