This weekend is homecoming at Northwestern. It’s the 25-year reunion of my graduating class. And while my alma mater is less than an hour’s drive from where I live, I’m not attending.
Part of it is because I’ll be recording again all day today and into the evening, a far better use of my time than just about anything. (Part of it is because fucking Nebraska is going to win by a million.) But even if I weren’t busy, I wouldn’t go. While I had a fantastic, life-altering experience as an undergraduate there, I established very few close bonds with people. Not zero—I have a handful of very dear friends I made back then whom I still hold close. I see them whenever I can and it’s always great. But very few of them graduated when I did; they were a year or two older or younger. None of them are going to be in Evanston today. In fact, I looked at a list on Facebook of who would be there, some 200 people, and I only distantly recognized three names there, and one because she’s a local TV newscaster. Who are these people? The school isn’t that big. I figured I’d know a few by name, at least.
It’s hard to describe my feelings about it. I’m not sad, exactly, nor regretful. But there is some kind of lingering emptiness about the whole thing. That Facebook group is teeming with people excited to see each other today. Maybe the emotion I’m trying to describe is jealousy. Those people clearly had a different human experience than I did there, then. Maybe they were in the Greek system and are now receiving dividends on all those purchased friends. Maybe they gave a shit about classes and grades, and studied together, bonding that way. Maybe they didn’t spend their nights rehearsing and playing gigs in house parties and bars in the city. Maybe they didn’t spend all their free time chasing after beautiful theatre majors to varying degrees of success.
Come to think of it, maybe they should be jealous of me.
- A big, young deer. Not ten feet from me as I ran past on the sidewalk, he stood unflinching in the parkway, head turned slightly, considering me.
- Jupiter. Just left of and below the moon. Over the last few years I’ve started an essay about her (it?) a dozen times but abandoned them all.
- The sad girl. I see her when I’m on this train. It’s not bitchy resting face, it’s sad resting face. I hope it’s just that, and that she’s OK.
- The genuinely friendly woman at McDonald’s. I get my coffee there mainly because of her.
- A guy opening his bar at 6:30am, and a regular who’d been waiting to get in.
My heart goes out to all of you who are grieving. Hugs from afar are a sadly inadequate substitute for the real thing, but I’m holding you tight in my heart. I love you.
I don’t know Summer, but I clearly know many who do, and I’m holding you all in my heart along with her and her family. I wish you peace, and I send you love.
I’m on the record as being a big fan of taylorswift as a performer, a songwriter, and a woman doing the music biz her own way. I contain multitudes when it comes to pop.
But beyond all that, her tumblr is just super adorable…she’s clearly doing it herself (except when she’s not, and those posts are marked), interacting with her fans, having fun. She gets it. She does memes. It’s endearing.
(And no, I’m not creeping. She’s way closer to my daughter’s age than mine. Get your mind out the gutter.)
((But Taylor, if you see this and need a really solid, experienced guitarist for studio work or touring, holla.))
The Tuesday thing
My problems are huge and intractable; my problems are tiny and trifling.
All at once.