The epicenter of this Upper West Side apartment search was Zabar. Mine was Fairway. Not really, but I had a very specific geographical area in mind: as far west of Broadway as possible, though not in the river, and between but not including West 70something and another West 70something. We pay too much for too little space. It might as well be exactly where want it to be.
High school confidential is before my time. Check out the cast–a few famous daddy’s and famous TV daddy, now dead, a very young–well see
My time was tie dye and neon and I had 24 carat gold glasses that I never wore because I wouldn’t be seen without contact lenses–it was the era of groovy and other expressions I won’t use because I hated them then.
I come from a very unusual town. It’s not really a town. More a collection of developments, a strip mall that has been jazzed up, a firehouse, and some schools. Actually I grew up in a school district.
It wasn’t the richest community on Long Island by far. It was probably the only one without any poor people. Diversity came in shades of white.
There were people who peaked in high school, and people who have hated it as a lifetime activity. I don’t fit in either category. I did spend years telling stories about how I didn’t fit in my community. The thing is most people didn’t feel they fit. Even the people who who seemed to meld seamlessly.
High school was over many years ago. Why did I see people tonight I knew but wasn’t really friendly with? For many reasons. some that I can’t quite articulate.
Our lives went in different directions. Yet they all led back to an exit off the Expressway.
There’s something comforting in connecting with people who knew me when I felt awkward, weird and out of sync with the world, yet they wanted to see me anyway. We all had our high school horror stories yet it was the stories of small kindnesses we wanted to share.
I didn’t know that cheerleaders felt out of place. Yet when I think about it, I have known many high school cheerleaders, after the fact, who felt that they hadn’t quite belonged. I never thought about that before.
I’m not going to tell people they should edit the bad memories out. For they do serve a purpose. If only to bond in college and later with other people who felt like a dork. Though today that’s a good thing.
It was strange that I came to terms with my past just when I’m writing about high school angst.
As a society we point to some years, and say “and this is when the world changed. Martin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy were killed when I was graduating high school. Cities burnt. None of this directly affected us. We were sheltered.
But what did our parents know? My mother couldn’t tell marijuana from oregano. I should have said I had that last thing once. I won’t tell that story here. Nor will I talk more specifically about tonight right now. Maybe I’m not ready to. Maybe I do have an aversion to telling stories about my present day life.
It was a fun night. I feel validated or vindicated or whatever you feel when you come to a new understanding about yourself.
And we could speak in a kind of a short hand only known to people who were in all your classes or around you from Seventh through Twelfth Grades. I always felt cheated that I didn’t go to a larger school where I could meet new people in High School and maybe that would have been better.
But you’re dealt the hand your parents give you during those years, and I guess it’s up to you to make it work. Maybe it did work better than I believed.
I have long expected people to like me and to want to get to know me. Maybe I did expect that, just a bit, because I grew up in a place where everybody knew my name.
Usually I believe that if you can make it out of this community with your head attached to your body you can make it anywhere.
I am learning that at this stage of life, I have to reach for fun. It’s not going to come calling. Maybe most people learn that much earlier.
I like making things happen. I always have but never really understood that even when I wasn’t consciously reaching out, I was. People really don’t reach out to somebody who isn’t receptive. People really don’t want to hang with somebody who doesn’t give of themselves. That isn’t to say I gave anything of myself in high school. I loved high school angst. But I did know that I was known.
I think of the 90’s as my dark decade. I was constantly striving to make my life better. I felt bitter because so many things that weren’t great happened. My parents died. My youth ended. Is that such a horrible thing? I thought it was but several years ago realized that I could make the next chapter as much fun, but differently, as my late teens, 20’s, and 30’s. Tonight helped seal the deal.
I do find it a bit sad that I always expected “great things” to happen. I defined “great” a bit more loosely than most people. I wouldn’t go to law school as my father wanted me to because I honestly loved working, much of the time, didn’t want to be a lawyer though I knew I could use the degree for other things, and didn’t want anything to interfere with my social life.
I loved staying out until very late and going to work on three to five hours sleep. It was a kind of high onto itself.
I wrote this when I was one drink over the line. One drink too many for me is one more than two with food. Lots of food.