This weekend was this inexplicable Super Hits of the Nineties’ thing on my local Clear Channel station, and once again I kept going “I love this song!” I never understood why people my parents’ age listened to the oldies’ station. Then I started (guiltily) listening to the local “The Best of the Eighties…And More!” station, and I understood perfectly. I hate that. Is twenty-eight the year you slowly edge out of the Young’Uns category? When you start saying that you don’t know what it is with the kids and their music today? When you start getting…nostalgic?
I feel I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time over the past month, month and a half, reminiscing about college. College that was six years ago. I’m not always like this, I promise you. Ordinarily I sit around talking about politics and movies and what to eat for dinner and what I ate for dinner last night and what I, very possibly, may eat for dinner in the near future. Pretty much since Memorial Day Weekend I’ve been seeing my “college friends”…whom I don’t even think of as my “college friends” but as my friends whom I happened to have met at Claremont in the mid-nineties, if that makes any sense. Anyway, I’ve been seeing all them (the ones that don’t live in Seattle already) much more regularly than I ever do, which is totally nice and which is totally spoiling me. My Friend Kat has been here for the past week, staying with me off and on. Sunday she came over and helped me make a bellydance skirt to wear to Burning Man. This skirt is so nice that I don’t even want to wear it to Burning Man because I’m afraid it will get all dusty and it’s handwash only. You know how it is. She’s leaving in a day or so. Normally this would be sad because I haven’t seen her much since she ran off to Japan and then, oddly, to Iowa. Yesterday I was casually all “Okay, see you at the wedding!” as if I get to see her whenever I want to. Same with My Friend Anna. Saw her in February, saw her in May. Saw her in June. Seeing her in July and August. Why, it just naturally makes me think of when I got to see her whenever I wanted to! Which was in college. And then I just naturally start thinking of all the various stupid things we used to do together when I got to see her whenever I wanted…which were in college. It takes only a couple of minutes to get from “Hey, I get to see you all the time this summer!” to “Hey, remember when we made that stuffed animal thing for that boy we both liked and we threw it in his dorm window somehow? And how, oddly, he didn’t much seem to like us back?” to “Hey, let’s deconstruct the entire mid-nineties period through the lens of our own college experiences!” And we’re off and running. I keep talking and talking about this. It’s endlessly fascinating to me, even though it’s deeply boring at the same time.
I don’t even think it’s because everyone I know is still stuck in college. It’s not that people aren’t doing interesting things. It’s not even that we’re not doing interesting things together, because the abovementioned cycle of visiting each other has been pretty fun. There are screenplays being written and plays being performed, life commitments made, bad movies being watched, luscious dinners being eaten, hats being knit. So why the need to discuss the hierarchy of Cool Dorms Vs. Uncool Dorms? Why the spiteful reminiscence about whose girlfriend got really crazy that one time? Why the point-by-point analysis of Stupid Boyfriend Choices I Made? Is this time in my life so incredibly boring that the events of several years ago seem just…juicier?
Maybe that’s it. Or maybe it’s that people are starting to get to an age where the stuff you might gossip about isn’t as fun and harmless as it once was. We’re not all at the Guess Who Has Cancer stage yet, thank God, but now, when your best friend tells you that another friend you both know is seeing someone new, you know it’s because that friend just got a divorce and not because she just wants a fling with a glam rocker or something. And trust me, there’s not too much that’s fun and exciting about a round of “Oh, did you hear? Bob lost another job due to management restructuring!” Maybe the really exciting stuff that’s going on in people’s lives right now is more personal and private, not so much open to the public criticism machine that is a small group of loosely-connected friends. Maybe everyone’s all making these deep mature life changes or something.
I don’t know. I still feel old and boring, the smooth vocal stylings of the Smashing Pumpkins notwithstanding.