Saturday, February 23, 2008

I was such a hippie in 2004

Me at 15

Browsing through my Livejournal that I've had for over 4 years but only write in privately to complain about how dumb my life is sometimes (though I guess that's what Livejournal is for), I came across this entry from May 4th, 2004:

My life goals...
(*) Make out to "Crush"
(*) Go to the Netherlands and smoke hash at a hash bar (aka not on the street in chestnut hill ahh oh the memories)
(*) Go to South Africa and listen to people play guitar on the street
(*) Attend an Afro-Cuban show in Senegal
(*) Make and edit a film that I'm PROUD of

(*) Become a published author, none of this school lit mag bs
(*) Meet Dave Matthews
(*) Travel across country/hitch hike
(*) Smoke a cigarette on the corner of Haight/Ashbury
(*) Smoke a joint and fall asleep in Central Park on a blanket in the sun

(*) Drink wine by myself and fall asleep on a beach under the stars

(*) Climb a mountain... any mountain.
(*) Learn more about Buddhism

(*) See every single Degrassi episode

(*) Drive a Jetta

(*) Sit in a cafe in Italy on a stone street with my legs crossed wearing pointy shoes made of Italian leather and drink mineral water and smoke a clove while wearing red lipstick, but not get any on the filter.

(*) Follow DMB around on tour and not wear shoes and say things like "Trippy" and mean them.

(*) Go to Bonnaroo down in Tennessee

[Those in bold denote things I accomplished]

I can't believe what a hippie I was! I used to be so perilously obsessed with Dave Matthews Band that that chunk of my life alone deserves its own entry. My naivety and general fervor for life feels so dim now in comparison to the way I was when I was 16.

It reminds me of this website I stumbled across while stoned a few nights ago. The woman in the photos is beautiful and I love how you can see her age progression; but the thing that haunts me most is the way that, by the end of the photo set, when she is at her oldest, the life seems so beaten out of her. Particularly in the picture where she's smoking a cigarette and looking down, and the one in the Laundromat; is this a symptom of growing older-- also growing more and more acquainted with the cruel, sickening realities of the world? Obviously it's bound to happen: heartbreak, death, tragedy. I wish I could get in touch better with who I was when I was 16; I imagined myself doing exactly the kinds of things I do now: smoking cigarettes outside of New York dive bars, drinking coffee and riding the subway and buying huge bottles of wine. Now that I'm doing these things, I miss the excitement I felt when I was simply wishing for them.

Oh, fuck nostalgia on cold, grey Saturday afternoons.

-Jess

Friday, February 22, 2008

Know Your Idols and Buy Their Shit


I know religious disaffection is Jessica's thing, but Stumble brought me to this and I couldn't resist. The Christ-types want the hip, Converse-wearing youth America to turn to JESUS! Welcome to Dare To Believe, yet another "religion-is-relevant-in-your-life-we-swear-it-now-buy-our-literature" Web site. The home page has all the features of your typical, Christ-for-teens Web site: pretentious pictures, cool fonts, and ridiculous assumptions about what teenagers think, such as: “I just don’t understand the Bible [...] I read it. I just don’t get it.”

The "About" section basically compares religion to a book, a book filled with the chapters of our life stories that the good religious people of this world give to Christ--kind of like how authors give their books to editors! Except this Editor doesn't change anything; he just sits there in the sky and then when you die he judges your life and determines whether you belong in hell. Then it gives a list of relevant reading materials and links to the Amazon sites on which you can buy them.

-Josh

The principles of being the principal's daughter

My Dad and I before Senior Prom

It's been almost two years and I think I'm ready to talk about this.

I have a secret. Some of you know it, and some of you don't.

My dad was the principal of my high school.
And not only that, my grandfather was the principal of my dad's high school. I will never be a principal. I will not carry on this honorable tradition. But that's not the point.


Yes, my dad was the principal of my high school, which meant for 5 years (grades 8-12) I was subjected to the following questions:
Is that... weird?

Do you get special treatment?


OMG what happens if you get sent to the principal's office?!?


Do the teachers hate you?


Finally after receiving satisfactory (and much practiced, on my part) answers to these questions, they would rethink the original weirdness and say: That's kind of... cool. You could get money. And take his car. And you probably never got in trouble.


Indeed, that's true. I never had to worry about forgetting my lunch money. When my dad refused to buy me a car upon me receiving my license, I simply opted to steal his. Once when my friend Dina and I skipped our French class, we drove my Dad's car back to my house to watch A Little Princess and eat ice cream. About 20 minutes into the movie I got a phone call. My dad was calling me. I answered it, apprehensively, knowing that I was caught; his voice morphed into a low growl akin to a lion protecting his territory. It rumbled through my entire body, gripping me with sheer terror: Wheeeeeeeeeere's myyyyyyyy carrrrrrrrr? I made up some bullshit excuse about how I had driven home to get my homework and I would be back in a few minutes. As with most things I got in trouble for when I was younger, my dad yelled at me on the spot, but then we never talked about it again. I rarely suffered any direct repercussions for the things I did because my dad was so unwilling to talk about anything real that his sheer NEED to ignore things led me to get by scott free. I did something ridiculous, he yelled at me, and nothing ever came of it, except maybe a passive-aggressive e-mail about how I had "damaged the trust of our relationship." As a teenager, I could deal with that.


As the principal's daughter, I did get away with a lot of things; the security guards at my high school would turn a blind eye when I would traipse out the front door. Sometimes his secretary wrote me late notes. The vice principal, who was one of my dad's good friends, would laugh when I cut class and came back an hour later toting Starbucks: "Why didn't you bring me any coffee?" he'd ask.

Principal Roy in action

My teachers were less than thrilled to have a little spy in their classrooms. I rarely ratted on any of their ridiculous teaching methods, though with the ones that pissed me off enough I like to think I could have gotten them fired if I had really wanted to. I can't imagine the awkward position my place in their class must have put them in; the care with which they must have navigated that 90 minute block every day is unimaginable. I picture them going home to their families and bemoaning the fact that I was in their class, that now they couldn't subtly badmouth the administration (though some definitely still did), that they had to stick to the syllabus and give tests back on time and actually... teach. In truth they probably didn't give a shit I was there. I never felt that I was special due to my dad's position, but other people did. For me it was completely normal to see my dad walking down the hallway clad in Brooks Brothers and answering his walkie talkie cell phone thingy; for others, seeing us together in the hallway was the epitome of bizarre.

One of the coolest things about my dad's position was that I was privy to information that regular students weren't; I was the go-to person for information about school closings. Freak "hurricane?" Blizzard? My dad was the first person who got a call about delays and closings, so a bunch of people relied on my AIM away messages to notify them of this. I felt like I had some sort of power; my dad didn't necessarily make the decisions about school closings, and he never would have taken my opinion into account on the issue, but it still felt powerful somehow. I knew first. I could tell whoever I wanted. And the reaction I got from my friends when I announced that school was closed the next day made me feel like a hero.

There were some bad things, of course. The worst part about having my dad there was that it really limited the space I had to myself. As a teenager, school and home seem so unbelievably separate that, when the two blur, it seems unreal. My dad permeated almost every space in my life, simply because he had to; he was there at school and he was there at home. He even chaperoned my senior prom, which seriously curtailed the amount of bumping-and-grinding I could engage in. (BUMMER!!11)

Because my school was so small, he knew everyone; he knew the backstory on who I hung out with, what their parents were like, and if they were "good" or "bad" kids. He knew what parties went on because he was friends with the township cops, and in a school of 800 kids grades 8-12, gossip spreads fast. Luckily there weren't that many rumors flying around because I tried to keep a pretty low profile my last few years of school; I knew the kind of trouble I could get into if he found out I had been to the Pavillion or someone's house party. And he could find out easily-- all he had to do was listen to kids talking in the hallway.

My 16th Birthday

That line between school and home, parent and principal was so desperately blurred. I did my best to stay out of trouble simply because I didn't have the audacity or the grace to walk that shaky line. I was rebellious, but on my own terms. I didn't let my rebellion interfere with my school life because it would risk being exposed for the pot smoking, drinking, boy-kissing teenager I was. I'm lucky my dad knew very little about what I was up to. And with Facebook not really gaining popularity until the end of my senior year, there was really no internet evidence that could uncover my fraud.


I'm talking about this because last night my roommate and I were extremely high and we somehow got on the topic of my dad being principal. It suddenly seemed so bizarre based solely on the fact that to me it seemed so normal. Maybe someday I will write a book about my experiences: how awkward it was when my friends' parents would disagree with him on some administrative decision he made, the stupid district politics and iron fist of the schoolboard, the shooting, the time I got caught "cheating" in chemistry. But for now this blog will do. My high school life was so twisted by oddities-- like the vice principal coming over for a barbeque and my English teacher going out for drinks with my stepmom-- that, looking back, it was really kind of enjoyable. And there really was nothing like a good party at the principal's house.


-Jess

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How Stumble helps develop individuality

Stumble Upon is probably one of the greatest inventions of our time. Josh and I spend way too much of our (high) free time clicking that little button in the left hand corner and being delighted by what pops up. The way it works is this: You tick off different preferences based on your interests, and Stumble will pull up websites that it thinks you will like. Then you can either click "I like it!" or "I hate it!" and it will remember which sites you liked and pull up ones similar to those. Stumble has actually helped me realize the kind of person I am: that person really likes drugs.

My Stumble now brings up almost exclusively drug-related websites. I now know a variety of marijuana baked good recipes, how to get out of a drug arrest in Canada, what kinds of weed will fuck me up the most, and what kind of cannisters to hide weed in if I want to ship it cross-country. Sure, sometimes I get a fashion related website or something cool like this, but mostly I get sites by burnouts like myself celebrating the joys of marijuana.
What does this say about me? What comes up on a person's stumble clearly shows a lot about them. Does this mean I'm a stoner? Should I be concerned that I can't remember what I ate for dinner last night? That I thought I hallucinated a lunar eclipse but then remembered that there was actually a lunar eclipse? These questions hurt my head. Pass that shit.


-Jess

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

London Calling

On the Tube upon my arrival

So jetlagged

Dinner on Valentine's Day

Buckingham Palace

Big Ben

Hygiene

Abbey Road

I'm back from London, which explains why I'm up at 10am on my own fruition; mostly because it's 3pm in London and when I got home at 10pm EST last night I smoked a bowl and promptly fell asleep.

What to say about London? It's so much more civilised. (See how I spelled that with an s?) It's what New York would be if it worked right. The men are attractive and call me pet names like "Pretty Blonde One" and the store-owners call me "love." I never had to wait more than 5 minutes for the Underground. The weather was a lot nicer than I expected; definitely nicer than New York. They make a mean egg sandwich over there, and when I was drunk I even gave in and went to Burger King (The first time I've had fast food in 5+ years); but it's okay, because they have VEGGIE BURGERS at the fast food places there. (Ignore the fact that they're probably cooked on the same grill as the meat burgers, please. I'm still feeling guilty about consuming it.) Also, of course, the ability to order a glass of wine with dinner and not get sweaty palms and shaky speech when you order it because you're afraid they won't accept your fake ID is very, very awesome. And their Cafe Au Lait is incredible.

But I also have a few complaints:

1. The Tube doesn't run all night. In fact, it closes at 12:30am. So if you want to get back from a bar without having to pay some ridiculous amount for a taxi, you have to be done drinking by like 12:15am. In New York, we don't even usually go out until after 12:15am. Also, there were some points when I'd be so tired of walking that I'd just want to hail a cab. Unfortunately, you can't really do that there. It's one of the things I love about New York.

2. Besides the fact that everything is expensive (that's kind of a given, considering the exchange rate), they charge different prices for take out ("take away") and eating in. It's less expensive to take away, but then you have to make sure you don't eat it on their premises or they'll yell at you about some tax they have to pay if we eat there. It's so bizarre.

3. The exclusiveness of bump and grind clubs: They wouldn't let my friend into one of their clubs at first because she was "dressed down" aka wearing jeans. This would NEVER happen in New York. It's hilarious. Do they not know New York trumps all other cities in every way?

Overall I had an incredible time being with Justin and exploring the country. Unfortunately I missed my flight on the way back; apparently Air Canada requires you to be there an hour before or else you're not allowed on, so even though it was the Tube's fault and my flight wasn't leaving for another 50 minutes, they made me rebook. So I ended up flying 8 hours to Toronto with an Indian woman who acted exactly like my Grandmother, yelling at me for putting my bag under the seat instead of overhead, complaining about the meal they gave her, and getting up to go to the bathroom every half hour. The only redeeming thing about the flight was that we had our own TV screens with On Demand and they had some really good movies on there. I watched Things We Lost in the Fire (I bawled) and some French film. I also took a lot of Xanax so mostly I just stared at the seat in front of me in a stupor.

It's good to be back in the US. I miss Justin and I miss double decker buses. But now I have weed and taxi cabs.

-Jess

Monday, February 18, 2008

The End of An Era




I am no longer a teenager. Yeah, okay, I'm one day past nineteen--that hardly qualifies as "old." But there's something about the teenage years that made irresponsibility okay; I could drink as much as I wanted and face the consequences later, or hook up with random guys in clubs, or make and lose friends as I saw fit, all in the name of experimentation and quote-unquote learning about myself.
I'm not saying I will not do these things anymore; Lord knows I love to drink, and though I'm not a fan of losing friends, well, shit happens. Point is, somehow, all this stuff seems worse now. Like I had the chance to get all that youthful nonsense out of my system. I'm twenty. Does this mean I have to tone down the fun?
There are surely many twenty-somethings who still love to have a good time; for instance, most of the people who throw the parties I attend on a weekly basis are older than I am. That said, I don't know if there's something sad about that. When's the time I start having fun just for the hell of it, and start actually plotting the direction in which I'd like my life to go? Does the pursuit of hedonism have an age limit? And at what age do I start becoming truly responsible for my actions? Not to say that a 17-year-old who rapes his girlfriend isn't responsible--I'm talking small stuff, like drinking someone's alcohol without paying them. It was always a shitty thing to do--one that most college students have been guilty of at one time or another--but I think it was more excusable during, say, freshman year, when we were all "just figuring it out," than it would be now.
These are the kinds of questions that bother me when I have nothing else to occupy my time. These are the kinds of questions I try to drink and smoke out of my brain. These are the kinds of questions that I'm terrible at answering and would much rather ignore.

-Josh