How the Other Half a Percent Lives.
For some inexplicable reason, I still belong to Classmates.com, the "revolutionary" online group that connects former high school students. As such, I still receive those annoying weekly e-mails about new signups. I don't have a paid membership, which you need to access anything remotely interesting about members, so it's entirely worthless to me.
And even if I were to shell out money for a membership, do I really need to know if the head cheerleader turned out to be a Bush-loving conservative* or if Andrew Collins managed to escape his fate as a serial killer and/or rapist to sleep at night? No, I sleep very soundly without ever thinking about the neanderthals who roamed the halls of Klein Oak High School from '95-'99 in search of superficial acceptance, marijuana and just about anything other than an education, thank you very much.***
I didn't always care so little.
To some people, high school represents the glory days. These people are the same ones who back then tried to convince the rest of us that those four years were as good as it got. (They're also the same ones who think red roses and a rhyming Hallmark card are the glue that keeps a relationship together, but that's neither here nor there.) The essential common denominator these people have was the shared experience of seeing their reflection in the mirror each morning and knowing that they were one of the Chosen Ones.
And while it's become a cliche that the cool lunch table at any given high school was frequented by cheerleaders and football players, you know what they say about cliches, and Klein Oak was nothing if not a cliche happy to prove itself true.**** They were the foundation of the House of Worth, and their sad little groupies sat hunched around them, like reptiles needing the sun's warmth to survive. They were not smarter nor more interesting than the other 2,850 of us; in fact, most were seriously lacking any sort of personality whatsoever, and I was fairly certain the majority had traded their souls in middle school for the ability to cut perfect equilateral triangles out of the ankles of their Abercrombie jeans. (My soul may not be intact, but man, even I knew there was not a chance that trend had any hope of lasting past junior year.)
When you encountered one who did have a personality, two things invariably happened. You would feel guilty for making assumptions about the Chosen Ones based solely on how they presented themselves during school and would resolve to be less cynical about the whole thing. "Christ, it's just high school," you'd say to yourself. "I mean, who crowned you Charles Darwin with your snarky little social-order theories, anyway?" At some point after this realization, other members of the flock would descend upon your interaction with the quasi-interesting Chosen One, and all bets were suddenly off. These people wanted notoriety so long as it derived from the meticulously careless way their expensive dress shirts hung over their khakis or the strategic dispersion of their blonde highlights. Anything that could be mistaken for wit received furrowed brows, perfectly plucked into impossibly high arches.
So it wasn't intelligence, as evidenced by the sheer amount I was asked by Chosen Ones to help cheat on assignments or tests, and it wasn't personality, as evidenced by their inability to dress or behave in a manner not approved of by their leaders. No, it was their looks. While blandly attractive, they were the kind that even as a teenager I realized weren't going to last past the birth of their first child and/or the sinking moment they realized Jack Daniels was tired of the friends-with-benefits thing and wanted a monogamous relationship.
Most of the girls caked on enough Clinique foundation and tanned so frequently that their skin was perpetually a sickly hue of Tropicana orange. One who was very short and stubby we nicknamed Oompa Loompa. I may have viewed the chosen ones' admission requirements with derision, but even I had to acknowledge there were certain standards and best practices in place, and Oompa was an indignity to those of us who studied the Chosen Ones as if preparing to write a dissertation on the subject. Standing behind her on the stairs or listening to her blather on about Dave Matthews in chemistry, I thought, "If Oompa could get in, why can't I?"
I didn't want to be part of the group, I reasoned. I wanted them to realize there was a whole world outside of their cafeteria tables and locker huddles. There were wacky band geeks, feisty newspaper staffers, impassioned debaters and interesting people who didn't need extracurriculars or popularity to prove their worth. There were radio stations on the dial that didn't play Top 40. There were stores that sold shirts without logos! But they never noticed us or anything beyond their cozy, narrow world. They planned Homecoming dances and pretended to be leaders on a stacked student council and waited with bated breath for class favorites voting and lived their lives as if they were the only ones who existed.
The irony, of course, is that the Chosen Ones were absolutely nothing without the rest of us. In spite of all their obliviousness, they needed us. They needed us to believe they were popular in order to actually be popular. It wasn't that they had more friends than anyone else; they just depended on us attributing some sort of worth to the friends they had. I used to think I was subverting their system by refusing to acknowledge how special they were, but in the same sick way all the world seems to work, resenting them managed to yield the same result.
I'm thinking unsubscribing from Classmates.com might not be such a bad idea.
*The odds are roughly the same that that Bubba guy who wore the overalls with chickens on them would break up with his high-school sweetheart. So yeah, really good.
**Last time I checked, we hadn't yet experienced the apocalypse. And if he somehow finds this site, I don't care. The guy made a lot of people's lives miserable, including mine, and there's no excuse to be cruel to people. Picture me putting red lipstick all around my mouth, a la Steve Buscemi in "Billy Madison," 'cause he's on my list.
***My friends during this time period are above reproach. Even the ex-boyfriends.
****Technically, there was more than one table. I estimate two per lunch period with three lunch periods total. So let's say six tables, or about 150 or so popular kids out of a school of 3,000.
10-25-2005 12:45 PM - comments (6)
"Try to Understand That When I Can, I Will."
I'm feeling emotionally raw. Tired of feeling like a sucker. Tired of a lot of things I can't and won't go into here.
A weekend with the boy will hopefully fix that. Temporarily, I'll just listen to some Smashing Pumpkins, specifically this song, circa 1993 and my earliest days experiencing this beaten-down feeling.
Fool enough to almost be it
Cool enough to not quite see it
Pick your pockets full of sorrow
And run away with me tomorrow
We'll try and ease the pain
But somehow we'll feel the same
Well, no one knows
Where our secrets go
I send a heart to all my dearies
When your life is so, so dreary
I'm rumored to the straight and narrow
While the harlots of my perils
And I fail
But when I can, I will
Try to understand
That when I can, I will
Mother weep the years I'm missing
All our time can't be given
Shut my mouth and strike the demons
That cursed you and your reasons
Out of hand and out of season
Out of love and out of feeling
When I can, I will
Words defy the plan
When I can, I will
Fool enough to almost be it
And cool enough to not quite see it
And old enough to always feel this
Always old, I'll always feel this
No more promise no more sorrow
No longer will I follow
Can anybody hear me?
I just want to be me
When I can, I will
Try to understand
That when I can, I will
10-20-2005 5:40 PM - comments (0)
Still a Bitch in My Book.
6:40 p.m. So how much are the Astros paying the home plate umpire?
This is an incredible travesty. I'm not sure I've ever been so upset during a game before. If the Astros win, they're going to have to live with the fact they didn't earn it.
7 p.m. Fuck.
10-16-2005 6:38 PM - comments (5)
Days Go By.
The last 72 hours may have been the strangest of my life.
10-16-2005 12:22 PM - comments (1)
I saw Nine Inch Nails last night at the Savvis Center. It was honestly one of the coolest experiences of my life; Jamie and Ryan were able to get free tickets in the Journals suite there, and we almost had the whole room to ourselves. There were free drinks, and we had our own bathroom and TV sets. We kept joking about the "riff-raff" when we went downstairs to get cotton candy (ordering from the suite was outrageously expensive). Actually, it wasn't much of a joke. The crowd pretty much looked as you'd expect -- think the "Goth Talk" sketch on SNL. Scott and Ryan were oddly attracted to the pleather-clad teenage girls; I had higher hopes for them.
They played five songs from "With Teeth" (I called Michael during "Only" and made him listen), a few from "Pretty Hate Machine" and "The Downward Spiral," but almost none from "The Fragile," which was a shame; I would have loved to have heard "The Big Come Down" live. Trent Reznor isn't the most sophisticated lyricist, but the man puts on a mesmerizing and frankly erotic show. The highlight was "Hurt," but "Head Like a Hole" and "Right Where it Belongs" were also standouts. "Closer" was a disappointment.
Queens of the Stone Age were good, but I really got into Autolux. Damn iTunes -- a mere 30 seconds, and their record is mine. (And I know where all my money goes.) Also, we had a great time trying to exit the packed parking garage after the show; Jamie cranked up Eagles of Death Metal, a band I had been avoiding solely based on the name, and we kept getting thumbs-up from the non-goth kids on the way out. I really need to get their album, too, but I'll just hit Ryan up for a copy for now.
I realize this is a horribly written post, but I wanted to get something out today. You know I can do better.
10-15-2005 7:54 PM - comments (0)
Tom DeLay, The Consummate Bug Guy.
From a CNN.com story:
"(Tom DeLay's attorney, Bill) White said (prosecutor Ronnie) Earle appeared to be trying to find out what kind of contact DeLay had with two associates, Jim Ellis and John Colyandro, who also are indicted in the case.
'It seems to me he should have been doing it the last three years. Now is a little late to start checking on his evidence,' White said."
How is it too late? What would have been gained from 'checking on his evidence' earlier besides the possibility of an earlier conviction? What is with these people?
10-13-2005 5:00 PM - comments (0)
Clare's friend Diana has started a truly first-rate Cardinals blog. I'd enjoy it even more if I weren't so jealous of her beautiful writing style and incredible knowledge of the game. It's thoughtful and funny and will be a nice memento to our boys when St. Louis is crowned 2005 World Series Champion.
10-13-2005 3:55 PM - comments (0)
The Morning After.
I keep writing entries and taking them down. I'm not sure what I'm afraid of anymore.
10-13-2005 8:55 AM - comments (0)
Ten years ago, I was:
A high school freshman, still dating my first boyfriend, who remains to this day a wonderful person. We probably were getting ready for Homecoming weekend, which is a huge deal in Texas. His mom (who also probably remains a wonderful person) spent hours making a mum for me -- mums for small-town football homecomings involve fake white flowers with ribbons in your school colors, glitter stickers spelling out your names and other gaudy accessories. And I was wearing out the new Smashing Pumpkins CDs by listening to "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans" and "Thru the Eyes of Ruby" non-stop. I had my first journalism class, where I eagerly awaited tryouts for the school newspaper and where I met my next boyfriend, who is also still a great human being; geometry with a very young, attractive female teacher whose name escapes me (funny, I forgot everything she taught me, too) but who later was replaced by Mr. Hammerbacher, whose name would be impossible to forget; English with Mrs. Spears, where I always beat out the other kids on grammar quizzes; biology with a teacher who never blinked; and tennis with three of my favorite people.
Five years ago, I was:
A sophomore at Mizzou, living in the Scary Ghost Delmar apartment in Southridge with Christie and Meredith. I had cut my hair super short, which would become an annual back-to-school tradition. I was still in love with a no-good boy. We started a publication that had promise; looking back, nothing the two of us ever did was promising. But I did meet Ross and Alex as a result, and it's basically how I met Michael. I distinctly remember hating geology -- I excelled in just about every class in college besides that one. I don't get contour maps, I think. I was in a terrific Spanish class, where we made a cardboard boat named the Titanic Dos which my roommates and I hid behind doing no-good things. Chase and I were still doing the weekly movie thing, I think. I was doing my best to avoid the other J-school kids; I was convinced they were nothing more than glorified high school band geeks. That was stupid of me. I was also working with the College Democrats and hopeful for a Gore victory.
One year ago, I was:
Working for the Journals and editing the bridal and parenting magazines. I was also in charge of Old Newsboys Day. The job was honestly beneath me, if only because my boss was a not-very-nice person. But I loved (still do) everyone else there, and I had just found out I got to go to the El Dorado Royale resort in Mexico for an assignment and meet Albert Pujols. Then again, those weren't enough to keep me there, which was sad. I had just moved into my cool studio apartment in the Central West End. I was disappointed Michael and I didn't move in together when his lease was up the previous May, and I was trying to make the best of it. I had recently become friends with Ryan, and we're great friends now. I was hopeful for a Kerry win because he had done so well in the debates. (I'm sensing a trend here.)
Yesterday, I was:
Coming back from Columbia with Sally. Christie's belated birthday party was Saturday night -- Blue Note now has a great '80s night, complete with $2 shots, free Shakespeare's and all the new wave you can dance to (plus, I won tickets to Hot Hot Heat). Yesterday we woke up around 11, watched the Houston Dog Show, where it was confirmed I want a Pomeranian or a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and had lunch at WG Grinders. We walked downtown because it was gorgeous and then drove back, where we discussed everything from racism to sex to politics, which is why I love Sally. She's fearless. I came home, fed and took Biv, my fake Pembroke Welsh Corgi Nintendog, for a walk and made spicy chicken tacos for dinner. I also got some work done in preparation for a press release I had to send out today.
Five snacks I enjoy:
Pita chips and goat cheese
Chips and pico de gallo
Five songs I know all the words to:
"Hate It Or Love It" 50 Cent
"Black" Pearl Jam
"Head Over Heels" Tears for Fears
"Wounded" Third Eye Blind
"Mad World" Gary Jules
Five things I would do with $100 million:
Buy a nice house and car
Buy my parents and select friends new houses and/or cars
Open a tapas restaurant
Start an urban housing philanthropy
Pay the taxes immediately and invest the majority for retirement
Five places I would run away to:
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Somewhere in Hawaii
Five things I would never wear:
A thong bathing suit
A cross necklace
Anything from Wal-Mart's Faded Glory line
Five favorite TV shows:
"Aqua Teen Hunger Force"
"Saved by the Bell"
Five bad habits:
Watching "Saved by the Bell"
Losing my temper
Biting my fingernails
Not returning phone calls
Five biggest joys:
Spending time with Michael
Having success at work
My adorable baby cat
Reading a good book with a martini within reach
Five favorite toys:
Five fictional characters I wish were alive and in my life:
Logan Echolls, for an entirely different reason
10-10-2005 6:10 PM - comments (8)
The only thing better than the Cardinals winning their first playoff game is Boston losing 5-0 in the first inning.
10-04-2005 3:38 PM - comments (4)
Developing a (Bad) Taste.
Eight months after I first heard "Walking With a Ghost," I've given in to Tegan and Sara. I dismissed them those many months ago because I have a very strict policy against not making merciless fun of music I hear in while in a Forever 21 dressing room. If I were a rational animal, I would also adopt a policy that would encourage such an attitude about shopping there. Then again, Thomas Hobbes probably wouldn't have been able to resist $12.20 halter tops, now would he?
Rachel: Hey. This album you're playing. Is this that fake lesbian Russian band?
Forever 21 salesgirl: Um, I don't know. Why?
Rachel: Well, they sound foreign or of subhuman intelligence. So I was giving them the benefit of the doubt.
Forever 21 salesgirl: Actually, I think they're Canadian.
Rachel: Oh, OK. That explains it.
For the next few months, I couldn't browse the web without running across some hipster professing his love on his blog for this total sap-ass band. I didn't get it; what would pretentious indie kids like about Tegan and Sara, whose lyrics were the literary equivalent of a preschool finger painting and who make Dressy Bessy sound like Gwar? Even more troubling was the fact that "No matter which way you go/Out of mind/Out of my mind/Out of mind/Out of my mind" was stuck in my head every day for weeks on end.
I was determined to figure out their appeal, so I uploaded "So Jealous" onto my iPod right before we went on our vacation last spring. If there's anywhere or any time I could get into this sort of music, I thought, it's lying on a beach in Mexico. After a song and a half, I came to the conclusion that people didn't actually like Tegan and Sara; they just thought they were supposed to. There have been worse reasons for liking something, though. I ordered a vodka tonic and switched to Queens of the Stone Age.
The album sat unlistened to on my iTunes player until this morning, when I woke up and felt blissful, remembering it was supposed to be a gorgeous October day with the promise of a Cardinals playoff game win. And suddenly, I understood. I had to listen to Tegan and Sara, and I had to do it right then. And while singing along with "Walking With a Ghost" on my way to work, I realized that sometimes you can like something even though you know it's not very good. I just wouldn't make it a habit.
10-04-2005 11:06 AM - comments (4)
Just watched the premiere of "Saturday Night Live."
OK, totally am in love with new featured player Bill Hader. Mmm.
10-02-2005 12:36 AM - comments (3)
"I Know Where I Want to Go."
So this doesn't count as my first attempt at writing.
I think I'll know I'm grown up when listening to "Wonderwall" doesn't make me feel like my internal organs are like popcorn kernels exploding under the bright light and glaring heat of the microwave. I always err on the side of burning.
I think I'll miss being like this when that day comes. But maybe something better will take its place.
10-01-2005 10:51 PM - comments (0)
Really, Just Now.
I'm going to write. And this will take time, solitude, sacrifice and a good deal of vodka.
All I have tonight is some leftover beer from a party a few weeks ago. My memories fall in the same category.
Some retooling seems to be in order.
10-01-2005 10:32 PM - comments (0)