Monday, April 30, 2007

Stuff I Wrote A Long Time Ago: Let's Do The Time Warp Again!

Note: The following is a LiveJournal post from a little over two years ago. It fit so beautifully with the Bits and Pieces post that I had to re-post it, here. I hope you enjoy.

I’m risking the Lazy B’s displeasure to say here on LiveJournal that I was in my local Starbucks this morning (well, the local one that I hit on my way to work, not the local one two blocks from my front door that I go to for wi-fi)--anyway, I was in Starbucks, and it took me a second in my non-caffeinated state to recognize the music. Then I did. It was Nirvana’s “Polly”.

I almost ran screaming out of the store. Yes, Starbucks is also a Seattle institution, and yes, they make a point of playing unusual music...but to have Nirvana, the seminal grunge band against all that was institutional and accepted, a band that was the definition of anti-establishment in my formative years—I almost hurled from the time warp. For a moment there were two of me in that Starbucks: a seventh grader getting her first cup of coffee with her daddy’s money in Proctor right after that Proctor Starbucks opened, thinking about Stefan Krick and the warmth of pot and cologne drifting off him when he hugged her, Nirvana blasting in her head--not headphones, because they weren’t as popular then and not allowed at school, but Kurt Cobain singing straight to her in her head, because he was the only one that understood her--before coffee was cool and before Starbucks was ubiquitously establishment. Twelve years ago. And this old girl in her sleek black pants and brilliant white-and-black shirt and black shell and black peacoat, standing tall in black work-appropriate heels, long hair pulled back in a sleek ponytail. Her massive black Jeep stood outside waiting for her, her German Shepherd kept the house warm while she was gone, she had a company credit card and business cards with her name on them, and that afternoon she would walk on the beach in the sunshine.

What would the seventh-grader say to me? What would I say to her? We looked at each other across an expanse of lifetimes in the multiverse, each choice I had made on the way looming up out of the abyss between us, parallel universes created from multiple choice:

Your parents have just grounded you for the umpteenth time. Once again you are plunged into a social black hole. You’ve already lost two relationships because you couldn’t leave the house to see them. Now your friend has attempted suicide and you’re staring blankly at the ground from your parents’ roof. Do you:

a) Throw yourself over the edge?
b) Cry and think about how much the world hates you?
c) Enjoy the view?
d) Close your eyes, feeling the Grim Reaper ready to take you as you teeter on the edge, then climb sadly back down?

You’ve just gotten two 1.8 GPAs in a row. Congratulations, you’re on Dean’s Vacation! You get the letter while you’re interning in D.C. You know you won’t be able to stay with your boyfriend while you’re apart a year, not to mention the shame of academic suspension and all your friends being done a year before you. Do you:

a) Accept the suspension as a sign from God and take a year off?
b) Not return to school after you do that, losing your boyfriend, your sorority, and your degree?
c) Stay in D.C., becoming a high-class call girl?
d) Accept your parents’ offer to help fight the suspension?

If I had picked mainly a’s, b’s, or c’s, would I be where I am now? But how the hell did I get here? This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful wife!

EDIT: Through a chain of funny coincidences, Stefan (who turned out to be a somewhat talented artist but with more talent for getting high) now WORKS for that damn Proctor Starbucks. And just last week he ran into the back of a car that contained, among other people, the little sister of aforementioned very depressed friend. Who is now completely fine and a pillar of society. And Little Sister wasn't hurt.

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