Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Revisiting My Teenage Self

I haven't written in a long time. Make that a very long time. Priorities have shifted, and I don't really know what I want from my creativity anymore. That being said, I do miss blogging and writing and just doing something creative. So tonight, I put the dishes and adult responsibilities on hold and dug out some relics from my teen years. Surprisingly, some things haven't changed so much.

When I was 16 and 17*, I wrote a zine called Boldly Going Nowhere. It took me about 3 months to put together an issue, and I stopped once I went away to college, so I only ever made 6 issues. I distributed them to friends and people on this Witchbaby** message board I belonged to (I have absolutely ZERO recollection of how I got myself involved with that, or why I stopped being involved. None whatsoever.) A guy at work recently gave me a copy of his zine (which, by the way, is really cool - thanks, Corey!), which got me thinking about all of the time I spent working on mine. Maybe one day I'll resurrect it, or create another one. But for now, I think I'll just re-published certain "highlights" in this new-fangled media thing called "a blog."

"I pull into the parking lot of Office Depot, thinking I'll pick my two extra binders and clear colored plastic dividers at my leisure. As I'm walking in, I see a girl from school. "Hi Jessie," I call...she returns the salutation. It is at that exact moment I realize that I will probably see about half my high school crammed into the 7 aisles set aside for school supplies. Amazingly, not only is half my school population squeezed into those few walkways, but also half the student body of just about every nearby elementary, junior, and high school. Of course the shelves are practically bare and you have to fight and elbow and bite in order to even get close enough to glimpse the price tags advertising that Office Depot has the lowest prices and the largest selection of school supplies.

But I, taking a stance as "Monkey Girl" herself, decide that I have no better place to be other than in the midst of students and their parents at Office Depot, and therefore will look for the humor in the situation. Seek and ye shall find, my friend. Frantic students are everywhere. "Omigod Mom, I can't have THAT planner! It will clash with everything I own!" Once I finally position myself in front of the dividers, I take my sweet time picking the ones I want. Let's see, do I want the plain white ones? Or the ones with clear tabs? Oooh, if I get this package I can get 8 for the price of 5! I pick my dividers. I decide I don't want them. I put them back. Impatient people are all around me, frothing at the mouth, waiting to snatch up the best deals.

Standing in line to pay for my items of choice, I hear a rousing account of how someone in the calculus class has already finished all the math homework for that night, and how unbelievable that is, and who she was asking for help, and how she has to juggle THAT class with ASB AND the assemblies. And behind me is a girl who is pointing out every single athlete from my school to her mother, explaining who is on varsity and who is not, and who is really good at what they do, and who is not. I shift my folders and dividers in my arms. Catching sight of my precious dividers, the girl exclaims "Mom! I need those!! Omigod!!!" Mom suggests asking me where I found them. The young athlete declines. It wouldn't be cool. I'm probably some loser, and besides, she's waaaay too cool to talk to me anyhow. I silently laugh. I pretend not to here Mom's suggestion.

People are walking into Office Depot, shrieking their friend's names, and running over to give them a hug that nearly knocks them off their feet. It's THE social event of the season! Party at Office Depot! Let's make cute accessories out of Post-it Notes!!

And of course there are those of us who are pretending not to know that we are standing right next to each other in line. Oh hi Sarah, didn't see you standing on my foot practically. How was your summer? WILD you say? Mmm hmmm, see you around school, I can't WAIT! Fakey fake. But it's the best way to handle people at the party of the century, at Office Depot."
-Boldly Going Nowhere, Issue #1, written circa 1998

*Remember, I was 16 and 17 when I wrote these things. You must excuse the silliness.

**For those not in the know, Witchbaby is a character from The Weetzie Bat Books, written by Francesca Lia Block. They were a series of 5 books that followed the same characters throughout their lives in LA, and were eventually published in a single volume called Dangerous Angels, which was one of my favorite books at that time. When things are stressful for me I find myself regressing to my teenage self, listening to Portishead and Smashing Pumpkins, tearing through my FLB collection and battling insomnia and nightmares. (Last night the nightmares centered around my upcoming trip to England for my sister-in-law's wedding. I get there and realize I've left my shoes at home.)

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