Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Ready for a nicely looped narrative circle? Since I started working at my current job I've been going to bed at eleven o'clock or so because I have to get up at five in the morning. This situation makes me feel like I'm back in middle school--I'm once again going to bed early and getting up even earlier to jump on a big vehicle full of gossipy peers to go to a place I don't particularly love. So, to rectify the situation I've been making a really concerted effort to get out of my house in the evening and stay awake long enough to at least watch the Daily Show.

The only place to go in my town is Starbucks. I know I sound like a whiny fourteen year old kid when I say that there's only one place to go, but there truly is only one place to go after 7 pm on the three streets that make up downtown Yorktown. Anyone who's ever come to visit me knows that if you want to go out but don't want to eat chinese food (the other entertainment alternative) you'll end up sitting at Starbucks. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth; before there was a Starbucks Yorktown kids hung out either at the Texaco station or at the "track," which was then just a dirt ring.

So, I've been at Starbucks almost every night. It's not bad(ish). If I just get a cup of house blend I spend less than two dollars, and it gives me a good excuse to write, and people watch, and work on the crossword, and eavesdrop. The rest of the crowd isn't so much a coffee-drinking, book-reading, silently nosy suburban bunch, though. The rest of the population of Starbucks, on any given night, is pulled directly from the year 1995. Which (lemme just tie these loose ends up...) makes me feel like I'm in middle school.

When I say the rest of the Starbucks [Note: genius text message abbreviation I came up with for Starbucks: *$] crowd is pulled from 1995, I mean that as literally as it can be taken. The rest of the nightly crowd consists of a hive of worker bee teens wearing Jnco jeans, Airwalks (or, on dressy occasions, Doc Martens) and Operation Ivy shirts buzzing around their queen, a girl I knew and liked in my childhood. She holds court on the patio every night. I can only assume she accepts a tithe of several plastic baby barrettes, or maybe a "Best of The Offspring" mix tape in exchange for her twenty-three year old wisdom and winning charm. And maybe beer, I'm sure she'd be down to buy some of the little grungettes beer.

I've heard them talking about Kurt. First name only.

Present tense.

I don't know why grunge accepted these kids into its grubby hands back in the nineties, and I understand even less why they're so unwilling to untie the flannel from their waists and embrace any of the other counter-cultural fads that have come and gone since. The oldest of their group is my age, and we were in sixth grade when Kurt Cobain died. This was not our movement.

But still, every night, there's live-action My So-Called Life dinner theater down at the Starbucks, starring girl I once carpooled with to choir practice as Rayanne Graff. And with a revolving supporting cast that drags people off the pages of my middle school year book and deposits them in my here-and-now, I'm more than a little disoriented.

This is why Kai and I found it absolutely necessary to haul out my (multi-volume) diary from that period of time. When one can't be entirely sure that they aren't being pulled face first through some space/time anomaly back into seventh-grade, it's good to revisit one's own journal to prove one is not the person one once was.

Many, many thanks one's God.

It's only through divine intervention that people live through middle school. How else can I explain becoming the (semi) rational, (marginally) functional (almost) adult I am now when roughly ten years ago I was distraught (and MORONIC) enough to write the following poem?

Feel free to laugh because I almost peed myself when I read it over, but know that if I had to read this out loud I don't know if I could do it. I should have been shot.

Untitled, January 15, 1996.

I laughed for the first time today. [Hyperbole!]
The sound shattered the silent sorrow [Alliteration!]
Like the apple from the tree of knowledge. [Biblical allusion!]
Now I can face tomorrow. [Vomit!]

The song that I saw us dancing to [BoyzIIMen.]
Played so clear on the radio.
Instead of tears, I felt myself laugh.
I felt myself let go. [I never dated this guy.]

As I laughed, and the people stared [Invented audience!]
I let go of my grip on "love" [And "sanity."]
The love that we never shared
Then a revelation came from above [With a dove. In a glove.]

A piece of me you'll always have
Because you're the first I've felt this for.
But now that I can smile again [Watching the Simpsons doesn't count.]
I'll dwell on you no more. [Lie!]

So get down off you're pedastal [sic]
Hope you've enjoyed it well.
Don't let the door hit you in the
Ass on your way to hell. [I'm seriously crying, that's so funny.]

So pack up and go

But leave the memories [Like, uh, that one and only time we talked.]
So I can look back on them and laugh [Foreshadowing?]
At how you I tried to please.

You never got to know me.
You never even tried.
You got real close to all my friends [No hyperbole. I think he dated 3.]
And so I cried and cried. [alt: "lied and lied."]

Hope you drown in my river of tears [Restraining order!]
Hope you fall from that pedestal of yours
Here's hoping that you get locked in
When I close the "[guy's name omitted]" doors.

[Worst. Poem. Ever.]

Here is my final goodbye
To you and my hopeful "we."
It's not me who missed out on you,

[all together now]

It's you who missed out on me! [Ba-zing.]

[Girl power.]


Blogger DMo said...

If it don't rhyme, it's a crime.

2:05 PM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

Oops, some of my formatting was messed up. Fixed it.

Every single one of my poems rhymed, it seems, until I turned 14 (this is based on the small diary--with a lock!--that I've got right here). The free-form ones are SO MUCH WORSE.

2:25 PM  
Blogger katy said...

See I always thought the whole "go to be early so I can get up early" was a sign of the dreaded "old age". I'm your age and I can't stay up till 11pm and get up at 5am. It's 9pm lights out here.

It's time to get a few cats and start writing poems about being the forgotten old woman now, rather than the scorned debutante.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's really sad is that your poetry in middle school is 20 times better and more relevant than my ex boyfriend's poetry was in college. I thought your poem was cute.

Also, loved how you spelled "pedestal" correctly after getting it wrong the first time. Way to learn from mistakes, Middle School Kathy!

5:23 PM  
Anonymous stupidboy said...

That wasn't all that bad Kathy. I kinda got emotionally involved in it.

And I always enjoy a post about My So Called Life. Wish they'd bring it out on DVD. I've only got a few episodes on tape.

4:36 AM  
Anonymous brad said...

it is on dvd.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous stupidboy said...

I live in Region 2! I remember at the time people who had been to America for their holidays claimed to have seen the second series. But now I know they were lying.

5:33 AM  

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