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Monday, June 30, 2008

If Only, If Only

It's Monday. You realize that with a start as you fall out of bed onto your piles of clothes, papers, and general stuff covering the floor. It's 10:30. The alarm never went off. In all this adjustment to being awake, your eyes get used to the sun, your mind gets used to pure thought, you answer the world with a simple and eloquent message.

What the hell?

After getting up and blindly reaching for a bathrobe, putting your contacts in, and shuffling downstairs, you decide to wait, and take a shower at eleven. By this point, you're on your second batch of nearly botched up, burnt toast. It's here you remember that not only can you not cook, but that you told yourself you were going to have cheerios this morning to make up for the trip to Pizza Hut the night before.

You open the cereal cabinet. There's nothing there. You end up making toast.

So much for having a plan.

You scour the internet for a while, take a shower, do some laundry, listen to the radio, have an intimate and thought provoking discussion with that cabinet you ran lines with last summer, ignore telemarketers. All the time you move about, from room to room, hallway to hallway, with the same underlying knowledge that this is the life you've always dreaded leading. The typical, the mundane, the shuffling of feet from one aspect of a day to the other, the lazy and restful aspect of leisure. You are a typical teenager, the very definition of restless, desperate to see things, go places, utterly terrified of living a carbon copy of your parents' lives for reasons you can't quite place and probably wouldn't understand.

The clock on the wall moves a second forward. You take another step, and sigh.


This is your forth day in a row at work. To most, this seems like nothing special, but to you, whose dramatics have a habit of working against you, and who can neither tolerate or accept endless, uninteresting repetition, it is a recurring nightmare. You've been working at the Hardware Store down the road for nearly four months now, ringing things up, checking it out, returning, stocking, asking people if they have Ace Cards, cleaning counters and calling for propane. It's a right of passage, you are aware, every functioning adult you've ever met has spoken of the part time jobs of their youth, the similar feelings they had then, and understand now. You'd like to believe them, of course, you'd like to think the endless stream of people who come to your register might actually relate to you in some inexplicable way, but as you are a teenager, very Hamlet-esque angst is rampant. Who could possibly understand you, the sulking cashier with nothing to immediately look forward to apart from the chance to do returns on your next shift? Who could ever really comprehend the immensity of it all, your problems and your fears? Who could ever understand?

Right. Because you're clearly that complex.

You sigh, and absentmindedly fiddle with the pencil next to your register. You're really very simple, very average, and as painful as it is to admit, naive. You're young and restless, constantly being told you have endless possibilities ahead of you, with not the faintest idea what to do with them. You know what you want, you think of it often, but you constantly belittle it. Of course you want to live in a city, you've lived in a town your whole life. You want to travel across Europe and Asia, hike Mount Vesuvius, visit Stratford, stand and gape before a pyramid, obviously, you've never traveled farther than Canada. Your farthest endeavor was Alaska, your most profound, Washington DC, it makes sense you'd be restless, it's typical you'd want more than what you have now.

You are nothing more than stock character, an interpretation of a very simple genre that anyone can, and everyone has endured.

You ask your latest customer if they have an Ace Card, and in your head, you repeat it in three different languages. Someday, you'll escape this. You may be forced to play a mime for two years, or spend half your life as a Starfish in Disney World, but someday, your red, over sized, Ace Hardware polo shirt will be nothing more than a distant, laughable memory. This is the thought that keeps you going, the thought that makes the broken alarms, burnt toast, piles of laundry, and endless stream of returns worthwhile. Though you lack a script to rehearse, lines to learn, and a character to portray, the thought that someday you will, someday you will have more, helps.

And you hold onto it harder than you've ever held anything in your life.

Your Blog has recently turned two. As you re-read your very first entry, one in which you lament about your boredom, your lack of anything to do, your forced role as babysitter to your sister, you realize things haven't really changed. Oh, you're writing's a bit different, you're a bit thinner, a bit calmer, a bit more mature, your hair's a different color and your clothes are a bit more comfortable, but overall, the events remain the same. Summer will always seem endless, always a repeat of the last year with another year of generic classes you don't care about looming in front of you. You will always sit and wonder if your problems are really problems, and will always decide that they're not, even if, sometimes, they really are. There will always be those endless days of nothing followed by those endless days of something.

And then you remember. You're a senior now. Another year older, one year left. How do you feel?

Brilliant and terrified.

Just where you should be.

Cheers for another year, all. Happy Second Anniversary.



Zudit Says said...

You have just spoken to every little bit of who I am. How I'm feeling. Mazel tov.

Except I'm jobless. But still.

I live in constant fear of being average. Or worse--> mediocre (sp?).

And I still hold my promise, when I sell a script, I'll send you the casting information.

Anonymous said...

And if "Disharmonic Bacon and Cornflakes" ever becomes a movie, I will insist on you having the role of Harper. Without a doubt. But kudos. This was an excellent work of writing, I must say.