I sometimes lament that my child(ren) will have to grow up with all the trappings of a society that functions a great deal in a cyberworld. And unless Cormac McCarthy has his way, it’s safe to assume that Jonah might one day IM/text/wall post/xbox headset his way through the tricky social caste system that is the teenage years. In fact, have you heard of formspring? Evil.
And aside from all that heartache, another worry of mine: how will Jonah remember it all (good stuff too) when he is feeling nostalgic? Through imprinted cookies on a hard drive? Or is it a cache?
A couple weeks ago, and I am not sure what the impetus was, Summer began going through her old journals. Summer calls a diary a journal. Summer has kept them throughout her life and rather fastidiously at that. Summer wrote down almost every detail of everything.
She began sharing with them with us via email, which then in turn inspired Mira to dredge out an old diary and begin doing the same. So now I might be at work in the middle of a LexisNexis research request and all of the sudden I will see that in 9th grade I lost to a foreign exchange student for Vice President of the student government. Or who was mad at me at a sleepover. Or which boy’s house we TP’ed in 11th grade and who was trying to buy cigarettes at 7-11 at midnight. These accounts to me are little treasures. My selective memory could never have done justice to them and so I am grateful for my harder-working friends. How else to re-live the drama, triumph, despair, maneuvering and, let’s be honest, tedious minutiae that filled every day of my life from ages 12-18.
And then something else happened over email (the irony is not lost on me). Mira was telling us about her reading over vacation of The Girls from Ames and in doing so, asked that we share our stories of what made our parents end up in Arlington, Virginia to raise their respective families there. It’s a brilliant question and one that I never, in a million years, would have thought to ask. Because lifelong friendship, like any true love, is as much a product of time and place and happenstance as it is mysterious and magnificent chemistry. And so, yes, why did my childhood friends and I happen to spend our formative years in a 5-block radius? And more importantly, why is it a biological imperative that we seem to know every single trivial detail about a celebrity’s life but very little about that of our parents? Oh sorry, just projecting.
It turns out…
My mom just recently went to her high school reunion in Philadelphia (my father also went to his recently) and took a drive through her old neighborhood. I have been on that drive myself but I am happy to have a photo now. It’s surreal to me that I can look at a house that my mother used to eat, sleep and breathe in. Dream in. Cry in. Wish for things in. Get angry in. Wonder, read, adore, worry and play make-believe in.
I hope that my parents will read this and tell my brothers and I how we all came to be a family in Arlington. As random and as fateful as it was. And I hope I remember to keep asking these kinds of questions. And I hope that this whole internets thing relaxes a little before Jonah is a middle schooler. Are kids going to go to virtual parties then and get learning permits for flying cars? Hope hope hope (not).
Also, last night we saw The National at Royal Albert Hall, a truly beautiful and inspired venue. Although I wish I could have brought a beer inside. We kept yelling BROOKLYNNNN from our very high-up seats but Matt Berninger wasn’t having any of it. He is so cool though. Tall people always seem a little funny crazy to me.
Also Americans, tonight is the season premiere of Friday Night Lights on NBC. I have seen the whole season already but I want to make sure that if you are still refusing the bandwagon, at least you have been forewarned. More people in the know calling it the Best TV EVER… these newspaper people are writing what’s in my heart.
Also, Britain woke up to a hung Parliament. Hung is a f a n t a s t i c adjective.