A glimpse into something, nothing

by bethanybump

Let me share with you a little snippet of my summer so far. I work, I exercise, I watch TV, I read. I go out with friends and do the same things we usually always do when we finally see each other again. I do things to distract myself. I think about big plans. I try to forget about life plans. I try to keep moving, yet I move so slowly. I get sun, I abandon judgments, I judge harsher than ever. I drive with the windows open and smell the air and feel the sun on my face and feel happy. Shortly after, I drive by beaten down houses and defunct stores and the same people all the time and feel depressed. Violently depressed. I do things to distract myself from these thoughts. I don’t write. I’ve refused to. I think about a year ago, and feel envious of myself then. I think about three years ago and laugh at how naive I was. I form thoughts and then abandon them out of a fleeting unknown fear of what will happen if they fester. I watch inane television. I ask around about plans hoping something will change from every other summer of my life. I drive from one place to the other hoping something out of the ordinary will occur to me. I drive 15 miles an hour over the speed limit thinking maybe a cop will pull me over and I will have an interaction with someone outside of my life. I slow down almost immediately because that’s what I do. I think about risks, I pretend I’m going to take them, I don’t. I breathe but I don’t really live. I think about writing but I don’t pour myself into it. I exercise but I don’t really feel my body is alive. I reach out, then pull back. I contemplate. I distract myself.

***

This is my first batch of summer reading:

That is also my cat. And my father’s dirty rug. The third book from the bottom, “Downtown Owl,” by Chuck Klosterman has been my favorite so far. The writing style reminds me very much of Jonathan Franzen and James Frey, two of my favorite authors.

“The thing you have to realize about a place like Owl is that everyone is aware of all the same things. There’s a lot of shared knowledge,” Valentine said. He was now leaning forward in his chair, looking at Julia and casually pointing at her chest with both his index fingers. “Take this year’s senior class, for example. There are twenty-six kids in that class. Fifteen of them started kindergarten together. That means that a lot of those students have sat next to each other—in just about every single class—for thirteen straight years. They’ve shared every single experience. You said you grew up in Milwaukee, correct?”

“Yes.”

“How big was your graduating class?”

“Oh, man. I have no idea,” Julia said. “Around seven hundred, I think. It was a normal public school.”

“Exactly. Normal. But your normal class was almost as big as our whole town. And the thing is, when those twenty-six seniors graduate, the majority will go to college, at least for two years. But almost all the farm kids—or at least all the farm boys—inevitably come back here when they’re done with school, and they start farming with their fathers. In other words, the same kids who spent thirteen years in class with each other start going to the same bars and they bowl together and they go to the same church and pretty much live an adult version of their high school life. You know, people always say that nothing changes in a small town, but—whenever they say that—they usually mean that nothing changes figuratively. The truth is that nothing changes literally: It’s always all the same people, doing all the same things.”

No one understands. Everyone understands. I am unique. But I am not. These are things happening to me, they are not me. But they are.

***

They look happy. I want to go to this university. Seriously, try not to grin while watching this 🙂

***

Here’s to hoping…

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