Who doesn’t imagine their life as a movie sometimes? Don’t you carefully choose the soundtrack for certain sentimental moments, or sometimes stare out the coffee-shop window watching the rain fall on a red chair outside, and imagine what a beautiful shot it would be? It can’t be just me (OK, maybe that last part, since I’m doing exactly that right now), because I can’t be the only, or even the most, romantic teenager in the world. I have your number, fellow dreamers.
I would not be surprised if every moment of this past week in my life came to theaters near you, because everything felt scripted and kind of stupidly romantic. There were protests, milkshakes, and boy times. Let me know if you want to buy the rights to my life to write the cutest screenplay ever, ALL ABOUT ME.
I went to Occupy Oakland last Wednesday and spent a few hours following the marches and surveying the camp. I sent my teachers an email that morning, informing them that because that there was basically world-headline news happening five blocks from my front door, I was going skip their classes and check it out! Some of my friends went because they were passionate about the issues around the demonstration, but I mostly just observed and documented. Besides the handful of assholes who apparently believed that smashing a ton of windows and stuff was a really good move (no, everyone’s pissed at you), the overall scene was pretty neat. It’s not often you see your city’s downtown filled with thousands of people saying something important. There were tons of bikes, surprisingly nice free food, abundant pot smoke in the air, and hella posi vibez. (Those would change when night fell, and the cops brought out the tear gas and the rubber bullets: see this story.)
There’s something infectious about a public protest. It reminds you of a past that maybe our parents were part of, or watched unfold. Even my dad, whose job as I understand it is basically to be a sucker for this whole Wall Street scene, told me that Occupy Oakland reminded him of the things he saw in college in the late ’60s. Uprisings are always sentimental for that reason, and those romantic vibes lingered in the air, mixing with tear gas.
The next night I met up with Sara, one of my best friends—the one I was planning on moving in with. We’ve since decided to do separate things, partly because of different Bay Area city preferences; and party because she’s in her mid-20s and has a real job and wants to live like an actual adult while I’m still in my “I’m 19, life is fun and crazy, woooo college woooo art school, I usually just eat candy for dinner” phase of life. But we still hang out weekly.
We went to a rock show together, and guess who showed up? My long-haired crush boy. We made plans to see each other the next day and then I ran to Sara’s car to hide and giggle because I’m never going to grow up and aaaaah, crush boy!!
The next day I basically looked at the clock every other minute until I was finally out of class and free to meet up with him. It didn’t matter, because when I got home around 8:30, he couldn’t meet up until a few hours later because of band practice (OH MY GOD BAND PRACTICE). We eventually met at the extremely shady drive-in around the corner from me. I got a milkshake and we walked back to my house together.
At my place, I turned on my Christmas lights, worked on my milkshake, and watched him flip through my vinyl, talking about his favorite tracks on each record. Normally I can somewhat fluently engage in such conversations, especially when they’re my own damn records. But I have such a dumb crush and I mostly just nodded and went “uhuh!” because, um, I’m a baby who can’t speak English when confronted with a Crushing Subject in Bedroom. We finally settled on top of my bed and talked about stuff we have in common, like how we are both the same age, and how unusual it is for us to be hanging with people our own age. It took a few awkward silences for the inevitable to happen, but then we finally kissed.
He spent the night. I skipped my noon class. Every little thing he said or did during our time together was just like, who does this in real life? Who is smart enough to be this cute? In the morning we traded off sharing favorite rarities on YouTube or random ’60s garage tracks that I ripped off compilations, like a 21st century version of a high school crush mixtape. We didn’t get out of bed until 4 PM. Neither of us wanted to let go, so we didn’t.
He played me a lot of songs, but this is the one that I can’t stop playing. Between meeting him at a drive-in burger joint and him being in this constantly touring rock and roll band and smoking weed in my bed at 3 AM and texting him during lectures…I feel like I’m the lead in some wistful teen movie.
As if things could possibly get any better, in the late afternoon I looked at an apartment with a couple of my friends (in front of whom Crush Boy KISSED ME goodbye). It was the apartment that dreams are made of: top floor, bay window, fire escape (for early morning feet dangling smoking coffee drinking), refinished hardwoods, backyard, DISHWASHER. Now we’re just waiting to get approved by the landlord.
The protest, the new boy, the dream apartment. None of this feels real. But it is. And it’s happening to me. ♦