Someone told me the other day that he had randomly encountered my blog while perusing the net, without even knowing my last name. And my first reaction was panic: which blog? what sort of embarrassing drivel about me can be easily found and read? What kinds of footprints have I made on the world wide web in my last ten years of internet life?
I did a search with my first name and location and encountered a few pictures, my YouTube channel (lord, must delete that soon), the link to this blog, an interview, some articles, and years worth of funny quotes. Remember the days of Xanga? High school and first year of college, first boyfriends, endless instant messaging, belly-deep laughter, procrastination, crazy youth.
I spent all night last night dying of laughter while rereading all of the quotes we put up on Xanga our freshmen year of college, that year of music majors on 7J and unbridled insanity. That spontaneity is what I miss. Being young, living with crazy people, not giving a shit, making the wrong decisions, growing from them, meeting the right people at the wrong time, recording quotes because there were just so many things said that were worth remembering. There were so many unexpected lines. The first year of complete independence out from under our parents’ roof, still young but taking those first steps towards reconciling our egos and insecurities with the real world, with new people.
Among all the remembered conversations were also poems, a start of a long, continuous process of feeling and how I wanted to recognize those feelings with words –well-chosen words. Poems that I’d completely forgotten about. An age that I’d forgotten about. The years I turned 18, and 19. And the updates which back then were so banal, so un-meditated, and yet which constitute a considerable part of my life hidden in the virtual pages of an old, obsolete online diary.
My roommate Lauren and I shared a love of writing down things, remembering things, especially the ones that gave evidence to happy, had-to-be there moments. Real and unrepeatable moments. We harbored a life-long relationship with sound, shared a pair of speakers, admired Pablo Neruda, e.e. cummings. There are some things that surprise and delight you when they re-surface in your brain; other things are just impossible to forget. Tact, joy, weightlessness in love, music.
There are times when I write more, and times when I don’t as much. That year it was non-stop, I devoured pages like I usually do when a sensation has been deeply ingrained in me, when a feeling is newly ignited, when a bit of pain or desire makes me remember how alive I am again.
An untitled poem, written May 11th, 2005
this where she slept –
where the fluffy yellow floral
comforter bore her abrupt naps –
this where day sprawled its
gentle face and the
broiling dark grey of dusk
and rainy days sought a
place in our room –
our room –
where out of habit we knew
which drawer kept our socks
and skirts and –
how the seaons did rotate
in our closets –
the mornings of her early showers
nights of quiet “petalling”
of our pens clicking of
keyboards or raucouses in
the hallway –
how does habit become
something you will miss
and forget as years erase them –
little things so crazily dear –
like the door snatching at the
neighborly noises – her laugh and
her fingers when she
One of the best things about coming home is going to festivals where you get free food. What a better way to show my patriotism than by standing in line with a free Wawa hat in front of Independence Hall, waiting to get a free hoagie? And iced tea? And bag of chips? I’ved missed Wawa, and not necessarily hoagies, but rather cheesesteaks and breakfast sandwiches. The list of greasy foods can go on.
Another feature of homecoming during the summers is my yearly date with Lauren, my first college roommate, who is even more of an enthusiast of free food, and who gives me the annual update on all of our old classmates – weddings, babies, drama, romances, repeating histories. Seven years is a lot when I think about it; even a year is difficult to re-cap within the time it takes to have coffee or dessert.
When we first moved into the 7th floor of Johnson, we immediately bunked our beds, me on the top, her on the bottom. That made room for the ugly chair, which promptly arrived and became the site of book reading, naps, hallway wars and congregations, etc. When she first saw it, fresh from a second-hand South Street store, she gave it one look and said, “We might need a cover for that.” Though we never did cover it up, hence the name.
She kept her violin under the bed. I’d always envied musicians with such portable, easy-to-hide instruments. Mine was always inconsistent and monstrously lurking in basement glass cubicles. We printed out monthly practice charts and taped them to the back of our door to track our practicing habits, which we always claimed were bad.
On quiet, war-free nights, we wrote in our journals silently under the lamplight. We weren’t the kind of roommates who chatted incessantly til dawn, but rather we shared silence and music well. We would even message each other on the internet while sitting inches away. I’m sure every roommate has done that. When we did talk, I liked listening to her because, as an open and reasonable person, she always had, and still always has, some outlandish or tragic or funny story to tell.
We shared our fondness for e.e. cummings.
I still remember what the door sounded like opening and its tact, the turn of the key and knob. If you weren’t careful it would slam, as it usually did in the neighboring boys’ rooms. She was an extremely light sleeper.
We went to concerts together. Sometimes we went to parties together. Once we came home and, laughing uncontrollably, took photos of ourselves smiling drunkenly together in the dark, the Christmas lights blinking in the background. In our room it was eternally Christmas. And spring was always a perhaps hand.