Monday, April 27, 2015

Older. No. Wiser.

This is me, being 26.*

This year I worked on not being grossed out by selfies.
Minimal achievement gains there. 

If we're going to get all technical about it, this is actually me being 25 for about six more minutes. Considering I was driving towards a sub gig in Bellevue there is no picture of me becoming 26. I am firmly against the car selfie, because I have a brain and a healthy respect for large machinery.

That being said, here's a blurry picture of my birthday sunrise from the I-90 bridge (hey! I said car selfie). I wish cameras could capture every single ray of light tinging cloud outlines. I've become obsessed with this interplay lately. Clouds, light, there's a beauty there that's strangely hypnotic.

Blurriness and tilt due to me not looking whilst taking the picture.
You know, that whole not wanting to die on my birthday thing.

This year was a weird one. I didn't want this birthday to happen. Not because I'm aging, because honestly 26 is still way too young and roughly 57 years younger than my actual soul's age. I think it's because it shouldn't have been a year yet. Last year doesn't seem that long ago. Here I am, one full year later, and things should be drastically different.

If you're looking at facts and figures, they are. I am writing this from a two bedroom apartment in Seattle, overlooking a stellar, sunny view of Green Lake and the Olympics. I am no longer in Boston. I am no longer taking classes. I am no longer working three jobs in addition to full-time school. I work out, have mostly kicked my Diet Coke dependence, don't take guff from anybody, and my writing has been published by people that are not me.

But I'm also floating, with temporary work that just makes the lack of steady employment sting even more. It's the first time in my marriage I haven't significantly contributed to our bank account, and it's getting old. I know I won't get a full-time teaching gig until fall, but there's this little voice saying I won't ever get my own classroom. I've been frittering away my early 20s with cross-country moves and graduate school! I should have settled down in Utah! And worked for some district in Utah Valley, where they would have screened every book choice and forced me to hold off teaching Lord of the Flies until senior year!

Ok, let's not get too carried away there.

I thought 26 would be more monumental. Instead I just wanted this birthday to fade away until I was in a place where I could celebrate. Where I could point to the date, point to myself, and say, "look, ma! I've grown!"

Instead, I am myself. Still. Depressive tendencies, wild insecurities, Clint Eastwood-loving, car-dancing, sarcastic-quipping, passionate-fangirling, hot dog/sandwich/TV enthusiast and all.

This is me, being 26.

*I got this concept from one of my old favorites from the Golden Age of blogging (see previous post). Now it's one of those empty Internet houses that makes me sad when I visit, which is still in the weekly range. Anyway, she started her series when she was 26. As someone who loves constant progression and checking for such, this concept appeals to me.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Oh, I Remember Yesterday

This song is fall 2007. My best friend had given me Pinkerton. Sometime after the album gifting, we had what I'll awkwardly call physical contact (NIGHTS OF INTENSE HAND-HOLDING!). During the following four weeks of our non-relationship, I watched this video over and over and over and over, volume up to eleven in my sad little hermity room. Oh, I'd be so good for you, and you'd be good for me.

A month after first contact (is that copyrighted? Somebody get Roddenberry on the line!), my friend asked me if we could go back to that, to just friends. I smiled and said yes. Two minutes later I drove down the street, passing his car while secretly blasting "Song for the Dumped." Freshman Cat was as classy as shut-your-mouth. At one point, our cars were next to each other. I smiled, one of those over-enthusiastic smiles that every girl has, the smile that shows no, you're totally fine, aw you're so nice, everything is happy and sunshine. We exchanged waves. Meanwhile, my toe was tapping the "give me my money back" beat on the brake pedal.

It all worked out in the end. We didn't talk for a year and a half, then after a chance meeting in the Wilkinson Center we picked up right on our friend path (with only the occasional moment of uncomfortable sexual tension). Now we are both married. We talk occasionally. It's all copacetic. 

Except, in all truthfulness, one of my greatest moments of personal shame revolves around this guy. For the record, hey Andy. I'm sorry about the Sufjan concert. I was a major jerkwad.

I had a point when I started typing, I swear. Not much of one, but a point.

I miss blogging. Not my personal blogging, mind you, but that era. The rule of the blog, when everyone had some little corner of the Internet. It wasn't as raw as LiveJournalno, what could be?but it had the same confessional, glimpse-behind-the-curtain effect. When you became friends with someone on Facebook, you'd check for the blog link, and over half the time there was something there. It was my chance to check out the psyche of the dudes I had crushes on. To judge their grammar. To peek at their music tastes. To roll my eyes at unabashed churchiness. To gawp at artistic talent. There was a thrill of excitement when new friends (and "special" friends) became followers on the blog.

Essentially, I miss being able to read honest stories about the people I liked/found interesting/respected. 

Part of me wonderswas there really this short timespan where people were writing freely? Was there actually an embarrassment of riches in blogland? Or, like everything, did it just feel new and special because I was eighteen and everything was new and special? Do those connections still exist, and are they just called Twitter and Instagram?

I still listen to Weezer more often than not.* I'm pretty painfully unhip now. My last concert was the Stone Temple Pilots with lead vocals by Chester Bennington (weird crowd, good show, and made me feel like an aging grunge fan in the worst way)(particularly odd considering I wasn't an original grunge fan, it's a new development thanks to That Man I Live With and Married, so this onetime indie chick is now just the mainstream of twenty years ago). I find myself gravitating towards the bands I listened to in college, all of five years ago, back when I was cool. Just leave me in my enclave with Ben Gibbard and Jenny Lewis and Rivers. We're good here.

It doesn't help that I lost my entire iTunes library in 2012. Now my beloved 160GB iPod Classic is a relic, a musical time capsule of my tastes. Nothing goes on for fear of losing what I have. When it dies, I will mourn. I will also forget well over 70% of the music I once owned.

Also, what do the kids listen to these days? Robot music, right?

But back to the point, why did blogging die? If people maintain blogs nowadays, it's designed and photo-heavy and "curated" (gag) to death. The words are gone. As a words person, I weep. I weep for honesty. 

Look at that sidebar, will you. Lists of names, links that date back years. All empty houses on the Internet. Abandoned buildings. And here I am, occasionally donning my explorer cap and poking in, willing there to be something different, something new.

In the true spirit of college Cat, I wrote this while procrastinating other writings. Real writings, for real places, because I'm a real person now. It doesn't feel the way I thought it would.

Welp. Better get back to it.

*Especially since their latest album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, was seriously amazing. Best since Pinkerton, and that's coming from someone who actually liked "Hash Pipe" and Make Believe and went on record with favorable reviews of the Red Album. Please, please, everyone. Listen to EWBAITE. It's Rivers at his angry best (and even sweeter for us, the audience, being the subject of his wrath. Jilted Rivers is the best Rivers).