Listening to: Alex Winston – Host
I don’t know why but ever since my trip to NYC I’ve been a lot more pensive and emo. It’s one of those times where I think if I sat and processed long enough, I’d be able to pinpoint the root of my emotions but it’s too daunting to actually figure out what’s bothering me, because then I’d have to actually do something about it, so I end up trying to busy myself with other things.
One of those things is making the following list. Lately I’ve been thinking it’s going to be a while before I experience a totally new experience. Until something major changes in my life, it’s going to pretty much be the same average life here on out. Not that it’s a bad thing. I’m in a comfortable spot. I’m not terribly unhappy with life but I just don’t think I’m going to experience any significant peaks in emotions any time soon because I don’t put myself in situations that stray very far from the norm. Basically the extent of my happy peaks lately consist of: finding a new hiking trail, eating a real meal, getting e-mails from coworkers at work.
Life just a few years ago sometimes seems so vivid, but I wonder if I’ve just made up a memory based on a few wisps of what I think happened. Most people know I have a terrible memory (my mom seems to love to say in a somewhat horrified voice “oh my god, you have a terrible memory,” I sometimes think as she says this she’s envisioning her daughter having Alzheimer’s at the age of thirty). But I’m sure no matter how good someone’s memory is, it’s nothing like the first time you experienced something completely new where you had no basis for comparison. Or maybe not a singularly new experience, sometimes I can’t even remember what it felt like to have something just be the norm, and when I try it just seems so abstract.
I would hope we never figure out the technology to entirely encapsulate our emotions and memories in a particular moment. If we somehow figure it out though, or if the wizarding world one day gives us Muggles access to the pensieve, these would be the memories I wish I could reexperience:
1.Faking sleep so I could be carried to bed
This is probably the youngest … oldest? … memory that I don’t even remember anymore, I just know I did it. I remember falling asleep on car rides home, whether it was hours long trips from vacation or just a fifteen minute drive from the grocery store. If I faked a deep enough sleep, my dad would carry me into the house and put me to bed. Sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of being carried and throw a fit. How dare you wake me up! I wanted to sleep in the car! Why are you disturbing me! Oh to be a child again. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to experience being so effortlessly carried to bed ever again in my life.
2. Bon Iver concert at the Greek Theater in Berkeley
This is one memory that was already slightly marred by my being an adult when it happened. I was watching my favorite artist, in one of the best venues ever. It was after he had released the Bon Iver album, which I loved just as much as his For Emma, Forever Ago album, so I didn’t have to sit through new, crappier songs, if he had had any. Maybe if I had been younger, I would have thrown myself completely into the experience. But at several points during the concert, I would think I don’t know how any concert could ever top this one. Still, hearing so many of my favorite songs, flawlessly performed, amongst so many other awed fans, is something I can’t recreate by listening to the album or even watching youtube videos
3. Getting ready for prom
Oh high school. It’s funny how much importance we placed upon one single night. I’m glad I was with a close group of friends to experience it with, and to my recollection, none of us were with romantic dates. We just all had our platonic dates, went together in a big group in a giant Hummer limo and had good, clean, dramaless fun. I kind of loved the moment after getting my makeup and hair done and putting on my prom dress and having my mom fawn over me. I had a white prom dress, so I think a part of me thought maybe this is what it would feel like if I got married one day. I loved the moment when one by one we arrived at Connie Y’s house and there was sooo much excited commotion. Hairspray, straighteners, curlers, bobby pins, corsages everywhere. Getting our TMV group picture was an amazing experience within itself and now I think the chance of all of us ever doing a family portrait like that again is basically nil, so I’m so happy we did it and I’ll have framed proof of it forever. And then at some point between all that chaos of how do I look?! omg you look so pretty! omg we need to do this! omg picture!!! it turned a 180 and we were having our prom dinner poolside and by tealight in the backyard. And this was all before we even got into the limo to go to prom. And then even before our prom NIGHT which I barely remember except leaving at dawn to watch the sunrise at Chantry Flats. I don’t think there’s any experience that comes even close to senior prom, in the sense that it’s a formal event but no one person is the center of attention, and I’m glad that for me, it was pretty much a perfect night.
4. First TMV dinner
I have no idea how this ever came about and maybe someone does, but at some point in our young high school lives someone thought it would be an awesome idea for all the boys to cook dinner for us in Danny’s cookwareless apartment kitchen which until then, basically served as a microwaving station and storage for Danny’s mom’s ice cream pops (that we would all eat when we invaded). While I’m not too worried that these annual dinners will continue in tradition, more than half of us have moved out of Arcadia. We’ll never have the ease of driving just ten minutes to get together again. I’m glad it’s a tradition, but there’s nothing like the inaugural year of a tradition, where you have no expectations, no comparisons, and you’re just living in the moment.
5. Talking until dawn
I have absolutely no idea what we used to talk about for hours on end, sometimes until dawn. And by we, not just with TMV but all my various groups of friends I’ve ever had. I remember staying up until three or four talking to Chris, Connie W and Tony while playing Big 4 online. About what, god knows but there were a lot of laughs. Or AIM – the program that taught me how to type and that if you stay up past 3am and start talking to someone online, that’s when some real juicy stories come out. We certainly went over to Danny’s a lot, but I honestly can’t believe we spent that much time playing Super Smash or watching Asian dramas. What the heck did we use to do from 3pm to 3am? I can’t even fathom what was going on in my life that I could have talked about for so long. And in any case, I’d probably be with the same people day after day, so it’s not like we were catching up after months of not seeing each other. We probably ate lunch together just a few hours ago! Nowadays I feel like all conversations follow the same flow: how’s work? are you dating anyone? where are you going on vacation? well if you’re so unhappy at your job, what do you want to do next? ok, see you next time! It honestly boggles my mind that any of us had that much to talk about when we were young and I wish I could get back to that place, if only to know what the fuck was on my mind back in the day.
6. The first time you watch an awesome scene of a couple you ship on tv
I can probably rewatch a scene dozens and dozens of times (and definitely have) but nothing is quite like the first time you see a well-shot, well-written, well-acted scene and that is powerful enough to create weird little butterflies in your stomach or heart palpitations. Tumblr is starting to ruin this for me because I often see gifs of a scene before I watch the scene itself, but that’s my own fault for going on tumblr. It’s amazing how strong of a medium TV is (at least for me). Attach the perfect song to the scene, and dear god, it’s all over. There goes an hour of my life, dedicated to watching the same forty second scene over and over again.
7. The dawn of Facebook
I don’t even really remember this, I just know it happened: when everyone was getting a facebook account and every time you logged in, you probably had at least one or two new friend requests. This was back when we REALLY cared about what was on our profiles because people could realistically sit there and thoroughly go through your entire profile if it were interesting enough. Nowadays, I pretty much never send friend requests, because either I’m unlikely to see the person again and don’t want to bother, or it’s a coworker and it seems odd to facebook them because it’s like saying “hi I know you from work and I want to see what you do in your personal life.” The funny thing is, even though I don’t want to bridge the work/personal line, I don’t even look at people’s profiles in detail anymore, and I’m sure no one looks at mine either. One, who has that kind of time. Two, most people have just accumulated way too much shit on their profiles, like thousands and thousands of pictures that’s too troublesome to delete. Three, no one really does anything that interesting on facebook at this point. Add on the confusing timeline layout, and I basically use Facebook for … honestly I don’t know what I use it for. I pretty much just have it so that one day if I look for a new job, the recruiter can search for me and confirm “yes, this person is a normal citizen of the world and has a normal looking Facebook profile page.”
8. Perfectly recording a song from the radio onto a cassette tape
This will never ever happen again. I can’t be the only one who did this but did anyone else feel the exhilaration of perfectly catching a song on the radio and perfectly pressing play+record on the boombox to record a song to cassette? Then, I was in POSSESSION of the song and I could play it as many times as I wanted (after a few seconds of rewind). I’d sit and listen to Rick Dees Top 40, attentively waiting for the him to announce the next song and hope that he wasn’t going to talk over the beginning instrumentals. My god, I used to work so hard to steal music. It didn’t even feel like stealing – it was work.
9. The first time I read each Harry Potter book
I was and still am reluctant to buy things on amazon, so on the release date for Harry Potter, my mom would go to Costco and buy the book for me there. I’d then spend the next day in my room reading and reading, not knowing at all what would happen next. Can you believe that for at least seven days, parents didn’t have to think about their kids for a day because they were all sitting in their rooms reading? Well the series has come to an end and while you can reread the books all you want, and there’s still magic to them with each read, nothing compares to the feeling of the first read. Although I must admit, I once reread the Half Blood Prince and it took me an embarrassing amount of chapters (I may or may not have been past 3/4 of the book) to finally remember who the Half Blood Prince was. I guess in this case, my poor memory serves me well.
10. The first time I listened to Brand New’s Deja Entendu or Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago in its entirety.
Similar to Harry Potter, you never get to repeat the experience of listening to a great album in its entirety for the first time. For music, I think these are the two albums where I LOVED every song from the start. It’s a rare thing to listen to an entire album and 1) not be interrupted and 2) love the entire thing from the get go. You play the first song and think, yeah this is a good start. Then the next and the next, wow this one’s pretty good too. Oh this might be my favorite. Then you get past the halfway point and it becomes omg I hope this one is just as good. I don’t want there to be a dud song and it’s like an anxious fear that one song will break the spell, followed by surprised relief when it doesn’t let you down. Finally, when the album restarts on track one, I’m left thinking I can’t believe I loved EVERY song. Is this the entire album?! It can’t be over! At the time, you’re excited to have found a great album. But one day, you’ll be listening to it and think “I wish I could relive listening to this for the first time again.”
12. The last few weeks of every school year
One thing you’ll never have after high school is the comfort in knowing that you only have responsibilities for a set block of time: September through mid-May. And even those responsibilities aren’t that heavy, it basically consists of making sure you did your homework and studied enough for tests so that you meet a very straightforward measure of success. This is somewhat true in college but I think in college I was constantly thinking about what I had to be doing in preparation of next year (for the ultimate goal of landing a job), so there wasn’t such a clean line between school time and fun time. But in K-12? omg those last few weeks of school where you were required to go to school but school basically meant watching movies in class, hanging out with the friends under the false pretense that you might never see them again (you probably saw them all through summer anyway), running around getting yearbooks signed. Good god, those were the days. I don’t even really remember what I did the last few weeks, but I think that’s the luxury of it: we just did whatever, we had no concerns about anything. We thought we had worked so hard and we deserved these moments of goofing off. Now I realize we barely did shit but the reward was still so high.
13. Christmas in middle school and high school
I will never again receive as many gifts for Christmas as I did in middle school and high school. I always feel a little sad now when I go home for Christmas and see almost nothing under the decorated tree. The days leading up to winter break … jesus christ. I remember at some point I started to bring gifts to school in waves – every day I’d bring a few gifts and dole them out to my friends, in some premeditated order. I used to plan out when I’d buy my gifts by and when I’d wrap them by. I know for a fact I once thought who is CRAZY enough to do shopping a week before Christmas?! I will never procrastinate! Fast forward to today, where it takes tremendous effort for me to even remember posting on someone FB wall a simple “hey, happy birthday!” I guess this is something mainly girls experience, but what a delight. The day my family opened the gifts, it’d be me and my mom sitting under the tree for like an hour, a mountain of wrapping paper building up around us. Now the extent of my Christmas giving is Christmas cards, and I’m one of the rare people to do even that. At least I’m not yet at the point where I have to buy my friends’ kids gifts. Good god. Auntie Mel’s going to hand out boxes of fruit, just you wait.
14. Buying Scholastic books
Do they even do this in school anymore? I really wonder. (I also wonder what will become of libraries as we continue to move towards e-books). Who was the sick genius who thought of printing out catalogs of books on colorful, recycled paper and handing them out to schools. You could buy basically whatever you wanted because what parent would say “no, you can’t buy books.” You sit there and mark up the little menu of all the books you want, as if you’re ordering sushi, your parents pay for it, and then one day the teacher basically hands out the gift of entertainment which you carry home like little trophies.
I have absolutely no idea where I was going with this but it’s somehow past midnight and it’ll probably be 1am by the time I finish proofreading. I had meant to read (this is an awesome book) but instead this happened. If you’ve made it this far, here’s a hilarious gif and a picture. Thanks for your time