So last Friday, I’m on my regular morning jog route which goes by my old high school. I’ve got my KPCC going, Morning Edition, and Renée Montagne is putting Ted Cruz on blast or some shit. Then I pass a parked van and a parked truck and there are these two kids standing there. And they are just standing there. But let me give you the details of this freeze frame.
So the girl is high school age; I assume this because her lush mane is groomed with the kind of precision that only girls with no responsibilities can muster the energy for. Her hair falls down to her waist in fat, hot roller curls that lay on her back like big logs of bologna. Her hair is that special shade of rusty schoolbus yellow that the children of immigrants get when they try to bleach their dark brown hair blond before they know better. (No hate — you will see below that I speak from experience. This photo was taken probs the year 2000. Look at the size of the cell phone pocket on my velcro one-shoulder messenger bag. Ha!)
Why am I so focused on her hair? Because I can’t see her face. You see, she’s resting her cheek against the hood of the van she is leaning against. Like she was so tired that she needed to take a nap for a second and the nearest place to rest her head was on the hood of this car.
Meanwhile, her companion also seems to be from the high school. He’s wearing some sort of athletic top, I think, and baggy pants. Completing the athletic theme is a baseball cap, which he has turned backwards. He is facing, and perhaps contemplating, his companion’s bologna curls.
And they are standing perfectly still.
Here’s a visual aide.
Now, what do you think they are doing? I can’t tell. The fact that they are standing totally still and not making eye contact with each other or with me makes me think nothing is going on at all.
But seriously, WERE THEY DOING IT? Or were they just making out? Am I a perv for thinking they might be doing it? Isn’t this a terrible place for a romantic tryst, chaste or not? Is she happy to be here? Is she really into this guy or is she demeaning herself in public because she has low self esteem? Did she do her hair perfectly for him? Was he able to appreciate her perfect coif? These thoughts kind of bloom in my mind like algae on the surface of a murky lake.
And so with all of these questions, I come home, bursting at the seams to tell this story. But who am I going to tell, my parents? I do not acknowledge the existence of sex when I talk to them. Also, my mom would make me change my jogging route, and because I am a dutiful Asian daughter, I would probably comply; better not to tell them anything at all.
The next day, I go to a party where I only know the hosts. It’s at a big park in town, and we are all kind of sitting in clumps on the grass. I’ve really been very good about saying yes to every social opportunity that comes up here, despite my general fear of introducing myself to strangers. I find that I am unable to tell people I live in the San Gabriel Valley and just leave it at that — I also have to divulge that I’m living with my parents. No matter how justified the move was by love and duty, it still makes me feel like a capital L Loser.
So this woman is telling a story about how she works at a hospital and recently watched two patients beat the shit out of each other. When I think she is done, I tell these strangers my story about the two teenagers. And the woman is like, “Were they beating each other up?” And I am like, no. And she is like, “What does that have to do with what I was saying?” Because, as it turns out, I’ve interjected in the middle of her story with what must seem like a non sequitur. You know that moment where you just know you’ve lost your audience? Riiiiiiight…there!
I realize that I am telling a totally inappropriate story, poorly, to a bunch of people who do not know me well enough to forgive my social awkwardness. And that while this event was the most interesting thing to happen to me all week, it did not actually deserve to be told as a story, but I don’t know any better because my life is so boring now. And I realize that perhaps the stagnation that comes with living with your parents like you are 14 years old again is not as benign as it seems.
I miss my old life and my old self right now.