This was written roughly a few months ago, sitting at a Bigby’s in Muskegon, hanging out in the middle of a Friday before meeting up with a friend. Not sure why I didn’t post it then, but I think I ran out of chill time. Today, my backdrop is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and an occasional, “Mom, I need…” or “Mom, I feel…”, because my small one has strep. It is everything opposite of that Friday; sitting at my bar in my kitchen, drinking coffee out of an old school Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mug, thinking about responsibilities and work questions because I’ve never taken a day off from this job, let alone three, and a sick child that I want to feel better and stupid housework. A contrast of days, the difference of life.
It is a Friday afternoon and I am sitting in a coffee shop, headphones in with a to go mug next to me, thinking about how this used to be my life, filled a little with a sense of nostalgia and longing. Well, switch out the computer for a composition notebook and mini CD player with headphones, because we’re talking about the early 2000’s here, and add a plastic black ashtray on the table with a pack of Camel Lights. Back then, us Michiganders were allowed to smoke inside and I took advantage of this fact wholeheartedly. That pretty much sums up my twenties. Currently, the mood is being set by the Flaming Lips, my child very noticeably not in front of me as he is at his Dad’s, and I have no real place that I need to be. In my twenties this was something taken for granted, but over halfway through my thirties, I think I should probably take a moment to recognize this as a rare occurrence, the successful mating and birthing of a panda bear, and enjoy the hell out of it. I mean, where am I normally on a Friday afternoon? Well, normally I am working at an elementary school as a paraprofessional during the day, and hanging out with a seven year old every night, making sure he’s eating a real dinner and not spending every waking second with his eyeballs glued to his Kindle. By the time he’s in bed and we’ve read some on Percy Jackson, it’s past nine and my brain is fried. If I did cohabitate, my guess is the person would get zombie answers out of me if they tried to start a conversation. Like, “Hey, what do you think of the new healthcare bill?” and my response would be something like, “Ughhh guuuuhh.” Clearly a well thought out response.
My early twenties were filled with a lot of Goodwill clothing that didn’t match, emo music and Wes Anderson films, long conversations over coffee that felt like they held the weight of the world, and PBR over smokes and darts. Homework was a backdrop, classes and work, always there in the background of my memories.
Flash forward to my thirties and I spend this entire time : spaced out from writing, looking up songs and artists on Spotify and adding music to my newer playlists, and bouncing from there to working on a story for a few minutes, reading a couple of articles on NPR but I shall invoke the millennial phrase: I just can’t. I just can’t think about politics today, so that didn’t last very long. I texted a friend about Tim Vantol, then I looked him up and listened to a few of his songs. And here I am again.
I guess I’m just not used to getting big blocks of time on my hands. And that’s okay. I mean, my mid thirties kind of kick ass.