Saturday, July 24, 2010
I made you a mix.
Here's a mix I made (track list text file included).
Imagine the year is 1999. I am 17. In reality in 1999, I was actually 20, but this is a slightly fictional situation I'm trying to get you to construct here, and most people reading this probably don't know that I was 20 in 1999. I mean, I actually had to do math to figure that out just now. So if you do know how old I really was in '99 then you are probably a stalker and are just really enjoying every word I'm typing anyway, and realism is the least of your concerns. The first of your concerns probably being: murder me and wear my skin.
You are 16. I do realize that someone reading this could be under 16, or have been born after '99, so any memory of that year is wrapped in false 'older sibling nostalgia', or the belief that DAWSON'S CREEK and THE REAL WORLD were fair representations of reality. That's probably not totally off-base, as much as it may seem to people that actually lived through that time period. I remember when REALITY BITES came out in the mid-90s and I thought 'This movie is like a bad, cartoonish, offensive, Hollywood stereotype of 20-something Gen-x-ers.' I just saw it again a few months ago and thought 'that's pretty much how people were in the 90s.' I'm saying, mass culture usually dictates broader memories, or at least the settings your memories take place in.
Maybe you have no concept of the year 1999 at all, it's just a Prince song to you. Or maybe you were in your 50s in the late-90s and now you're almost 70 years old and due to senility, barely remember middle age, or most of your life, but are on a virtual quest to retrieve your memories through reading blogs written by younger people every day. 'That's how it could've been, that's probably how it was' you mutter to yourself as you sip your tea and gaze at the laptop your kids got you so that they could email you and not have to feel bad because they don't visit.
It doesn't matter in the context of this blog post. It's 1999. I'm 17. You're 16. I am a skinny, intellectual, though still manly, high school-graduate. You are a smart, beautiful 11th grader. You live in a college town on the east coast of the US, in a place very much like New Jersey. Your parents are immigrants from Australia. They both have some native blood which may or may not effect your political blog entries later in life, and may or may not give you magical powers currently.
You get bored of your suburban existence and yearn for something more. You're not sure what. You're also not sure if you just do this because you read and heard and have seen characters doing so in books, songs and movies.
What is nice about where you live though, is that it's a college town so there is easily accessible art, and indie movies and music, and cool books. And hot dudes.
You live directly across the street from the university so every summer since you were 11, you sit out on your porch and watch the college guys go to school for 'freshman orientation' until the end of August when they start to move in. You watch them and rate them against your top 3 fictional crushes, Ian Malcolm, Thurston Moore, and Arthur Rimbaud. Mostly they don't match up, even when you create detailed back stories for them. Sometimes, since you've gotten older, you even run into guys that you've watched at parties later on and they not only don't match up, they are pretty disappointing.
July 1999: you sit on the steps in front of your house watching young men pull up to the school, sipping coffee. You usually don't drink coffee, but your mom left some in the machine when she went to work, and 'sitting on your steps drinking coffee' seemed like a comforting idea for some reason.
I pull up to your curb in my 1988 Honda hatchback. I get out of the car. I'm wearing a Smiths t-shirt, cuffed jeans and a headband, though headbands were not in style in the late 90s. It's my attempt to stand out and 'be cool'. In high school, I wore a fedora until I realized it made me look like Ducky from PRETTY IN PINK. The headband, while still sort of 'ironic' and weird, wasn't Jon Cryer-full-commitment-weird like the fedora was. Besides, I'm a college dude now.
You watch me unload a few boxes from my trunk. You think I'm sort of cute. You like my t-shirt. You then almost immediately forget about me as I walk away towards the school.
Later that night, while asleep, you dream. In the dream you're in the desert and you find a small hole in the ground. Though nervous, you decide to climb down into it. 'This is like ALICE IN WONDERLAND', you think. After crawling through a tunnel for a few minutes you come upon a opening into a large cavern. There are hundreds of you there. Though it is off-putting to see a few hundred clones of yourself standing in a cave under the ground, you actually feel fine, or possibly really good. No one is speaking, the clones are smiling to each other and you. A clone standing near the front of the group holds her finger up into the air and her fingernail lights up like E.T.'s. She moves her hand around in a repeating, fluid, and beautiful motion. You are somewhat hypnotized. The lines of light her finger is making are only in the air for a microsecond. Is she trying to tell you something? Spell something out? It sort of looks like a drawing of a face. Whose face? Is it the guy you saw going to school earlier in the day? Is it me?
You wake up. You attempt to dismiss the cave of clones as just another weird dream in a long line, but you can't help but think that it means something more. Maybe your Aboriginal blood still connects you to the Dreamtime. Maybe those 'clones' were actually your ancestors or you from parallel dimensions, or the atoms that make up your body attempting to tell you something.
You get dressed and go back out on the steps. You start to forget about the dream, and begin your usual interior monologue that wonders if there's something more to life than what's available to a 16 year old suburban girl. Suddenly the hatchback pulls up again.
I get out of the car and approach in what can only be described as an 'awkward skip'. Without speaking, I hand you a CD.
It's a mix CD. I made it for you a few hours ago. I saw you yesterday and thought you were pretty, but then I had a dream about you last night and couldn't get you out of my head. I started to feel almost obsessed.
You, of course, don't know all this. For now, you just have a CD in your hand and a guy wearing a headband standing in front of you looking uncomfortable.
- That night: You listen to the CD.
- 1 night later: I stop by your house and ask you if you liked it.
- 2 nights later: We have our first date.
- 90 nights later: I profess my love to you outside of a Superchunk show.
- 200 nights later: I start to seem distant. Maybe you're too young for me? You tell me about the dream you had before we first met. I play it off like it doesn't matter, but it makes me feel weird. I never tell you about my dream about you.
- 220 nights later: You break up with me in a Barnes and Noble parking lot. I take my headband off and throw it dramatically on the ground. A single tear rolls down my cheek. 'Songs and dreams and love all come from the same place', I mutter, and then run away sobbing.