I don’t know that I have ever met anyone who wasn’t awkward in Middle School. At that age, we ache to establish who we are and where we might fit in just as we begin to learn the same. Realizing that in my thirties doesn’t change the experience that I had, but at least reframes some of the angsty behaviors. However, even a couple of decades apart from that time, I remember some of the experiences that shaped me.
Like many, I was pretty romantically hopeless at the age of 12. To be fair, middle school romance was just as innocent as it was clueless. Asking someone to a dance or out was usually relayed through a third party, as if association to the relationship was the furthest thing to want be connected to. If you were really bold, you would write a person you were asking out a note. Proof that you existed, and as in the majority of experiences, proof that you tried, even if it crashed and burned.
As often as one can shoot their shot, bouncing back from rejection may not feel great in the moment, but happens just as quickly.
The older I get, the more I think that as we age, that elasticity begins to wane. We trade our high risk, high reward approaches for the comfort of intimacy and paying attention to the personal details.
I don’t know if art imitates life or vice versa specifically in regard to angsty matters of the heart, but I am a fan of Cameron Crowe movies. “Almost Famous” is a personal favorite chronicling the adventures of a teenage music writer thrust into composing a piece for Rolling Stone by following a mid level rock band on tour in the 70’s. But, before Almost Famous arrived, Crowe directed John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler in 1989’s “Say Anything”. Without giving away too much (because you should watch both; hint, hint), Lloyd finds himself outside of his love interests’, Diane’s window with a boombox blaring Peter Gabriel. A grand gesture that could easily backfire.
When Cusack toured certain cities in the US for the 20 year anniversary of the film, followed by a Q & A, I dropped the ball and couldn’t get tickets in time. So, I did what I thought Lloyd would have done in an updated way. I stood outside Jones hall with a cardboard sign and a boombox for a photo that was then sent via social media.
Jones Hall is a world class facility that hosts the Houston Symphony, interactive concerts as well as lectures and screenings with Q & A.
I would love to say that my grand gesture was readily received with great tickets and a meet and greet with Cusack. However, that was not the case. I took some photos of the boombox in front of the event and made my way home.
I refused to make a scene that day, but I would ultimately consider that wisdom earned in adulthood. Becoming more observant over the years has developed as a major gift I have been afforded.
Not everything is automatically deserving of my time and concern. If I try to take on the world, I find that the weight of that in it’s entirety is rested on my shoulders and that is a fool hearted plan for me in the long run.
The track this week is a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” by Jack Black from the soundtrack another John Cusack leading film, “High Fidelity”. I thought long and hard about including the Peter Gabriel track from Say Anything, but as we approach a highly controversial and powder keg of election, I felt as though the sweet tones of hearing about love might do us all some good.
Maybe we can capture a common ground, despite our differences. Maybe we can return to certain civility toward one another. And maybe, just maybe, we can learn to make this all work together.
Catch y’all next week!