Friday, April 14, 2017

Time travel

OK, right now my house is a midden. Seriously. Last week Captain Midnight and I pulled everything off the floors in the front room and our bedroom so we could get the carpets cleaned, an action sorely needed (ten years in the same place + lack of carpet cleaning in all that time = gross carpets). Now the carpets are clean and dry and the furniture is mostly back in place, but much of the "everything" that was on the floor has been temporarily relocated to the kitchen and the dining room table. You'd think I would be spending every waking hour attempting to find a place for all this flotsam. But no. Instead I went out yesterday and bought a blank book for the purpose of making a smash journal.

There is actually method to my madness. Most of the detritus we have on the kitchen floor is composed of half-finished craft projects in bags and plastic bins. If I finish (or get rid of) some of these projects, no more detritus. But the mess on the table, I've noticed, is mostly made up of items best described as "ephemera" -- old theater tickets, playbills, flyers from museums and churches and other places we visited on vacation, cable car fares, Oyster cards, BART passes, that sort of thing. They have no home, so they've been taking up valuable real estate all over the house. Instead of letting them continue to take up space or summarily tossing them out, I thought I'd give them a home by making a smash-style travel/tourism/theater journal where items could be pasted or slipped into the pages and given some explanation with accompanying text. Yeeees, I guess it's a scrapbook, but without the bajillion fancy papers and die cuts and stickers and other crafty cruft that, if I felt compelled to use it, would drive my tenuous sanity down to the piers and send it off on a cruise to Alaska.

How does all this relate to time travel? Patience, Grasshopper.

The oldest travel-related item I've found (I'm sure there are others that are older, but for now they remain hidden in the archaeological dig that is my bedroom closet) is a cable car fare receipt from April 1987, during my senior year of high school. I seemed to remember something about a choir-related tour around the Bay Area that spring, but my memories were hazy. So I found this.

Yes, it's my little red book! (Not to be confused with this little red book.) I have a habit of picking up magical-looking little blank books and turning them into diaries, and this one, about the size of my hand, with gold patterns stamped on the covers and spine -- well, I couldn't pass it up, obviously. This particular diary spans the period between September 1986 and June 1987, which was my senior year of high school and the brief period before I launched directly into college. It's short enough that I read the whole thing.

Teen angst galore, people. My first serious boyfriend going off to college, the subsequent breakup-by-mail, woe-is-me entries, plays, dances, TPing people's houses, multiple crushes, that sort of thing. A representative selection from choir tour, when we were staying in the barracks at the (now-closed) Naval Air Station Alameda, since it was cheap accommodation:
We were quite tired when we got back to the base, but we managed a few shenanigans anyway -- the boys' dorms are on the second floor across from ours, and there is a bit of yard between us. Naturally, they had to yell out their windows to us. One of the girls started to play [cassette] tapes and tried to do a dance [I remember she'd brought along a lot of Erasure], but it failed. Then the guys had to try to start a game of frisbee by throwing it between the dorms. All in all, things were weird but enjoyable. Not for Mr. Lindsay [our longsuffering choir director], though. He was tired and bummed out in the first place, and now here are all these nutsy guys flirting long distance and throwing frisbees out the window.
The memories started out hazy, but every word brought back another detail from tour. I remember the open windows, the guys and girls leaning out of them and yelling across the yard at each other, dancing around like goofballs in our respective dorms, the scent of blooming trees in the air, and a boombox playing lots of '80s synthpop. And the feeling of being young and giddy and willing to do anything. (There's a reason why tour romances are a thing.)

And that's why you keep a diary. It lets you time travel in your own life. Yes, like Quantum Leap, but without Dean Stockwell following you around like a creeper.

Having now read this diary in its entirety, two observations spring to mind: 1) I sure hope I've become a better writer in the years since 1987. 2) Though I think I've matured a bit, some things about me haven't changed. I still talk too much. I still worry too much about what kind of impression I've made on others. I'm still super socially awkward, especially around people I like. I still don't do housework as often or as well as I think I should. I'm still not fond of my weight, although oddly enough I worry far less about it now than when I only carried about 20 extra pounds on me. And yes, I still yearn for romance (oh, Captain Midnight, you're my hero!).

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