Saturday, May 29, 2010

Semisonic, Feeling Strangely Fine, Track 01, for Casey

 
Earlier this morning I woke up and put some pants on. I had a bagel with some Nutella on it. My feet made their way reluctantly out to my car, its wilting Orem High pride sticker winking at me from the back window. Driving down my windy street, my Regal accelerated slower than usual, unresponsive to my pedaling, a problem stemming from its recently celebrated sixteenth birthday. I like to think it was humanly sluggish in its efforts to not bring me to the school I didn't really want to leave.

But I'll probably not get another chance, so I went.
I went because Trent gave me a tip day before yesterday that the drama department was having quite a bit of trouble trying to get everything to the new school before demolition on Tuesday. The new school is built in the parking lot, finished and waiting like a big mean software upgrade. Everyone else has moved over there successfully, all the teachers with regular teacher stuff, but the drama department has apparently been moving like a big collective t-rex, with little tiny arms and little tiny attention spans, trying to move dozens of gigantic setpieces and rooms and rooms full of costumes and dusty boxes of shoes and big flyaway piles of sheet music towards the new building that I probably couldn't count on myself to muster up the composure to enter until the original is completely gone.
But I went.
I forgot that I come from a superior group of laid-backers, these Oremites, who don't do the schedule thing, or the morning thing, or the organized thing, which is probably another contribution to their relocation speed. Lately I have been spanked into the grownup world, where I wake up early and eat breakfast and shower and work until afternoon, which I enjoy, but formerly and probably always within my heart I will be one of these people, who can sing, do cartwheels in public places, shovel down Cafe Rio leftovers at three AM, and sleep till two PM like a champ.
So there was no one at the school this morning.
It was very quiet this morning, as I drove past the high school. Yeah, I drove past it. I didn't stop. I kept going, then scolded myself for being so dramatic, went back, and parked in one of the lunchlady parking spaces. Then I sat in my car.

I was angry. The new school built in the parking lot makes no room for any kind of vehicular access to anywhere within twenty yards of the auditorium, and I was angry about it. I felt shut off. Once again, my grandmother--who lives in the real world but also perches a mini version of herself on the canal of my left ear--scolded me for being so dramatic, and I got out of my car.
It was very quiet there.

I kept unconsciously glued to the south side of the original building, avoiding eye contact with any of the gigantic machinery and especially with the new maroon school. I held close to the orange, rougher bricks of my building, making my way silently towards the back of the auditorium.

Logically, I yanked first on the double blue south doors, near the band room. They were locked.
Next were the east doors, just inside which I had practiced my competition monologue, senior year, with Jana, my coach.
They were locked too.
After these, I got nervous and walked to the other south doors, by the counseling center, which didn't budge.

I heard baseball announcers from across school property, hopefully mistook their bouncing voices for a group inside the scene shop to belong to, and hit the shuttered metal door eagerly and hard with my left hand.
I felt very alone.
I moved calmly before leaving to perform a traditional rustle through the bags and boxes of "absolute crap" that Trenton had informed me were waiting outside the scene shop and east doors to be taken to the thrift store.

As many of you know, it is a possibility that I am a professional Oremite also in the fact that I collect junk. Not in the way that I have a ton of it, but just in the way that my car at any given time is home to three or four buddyless shoes, an overcoat, two broken umbrellas, half-eaten anything, and bank statements and receipts on end. I feel secure in stuff, in stuff with a history, in the history of stuff. This is something I learned to do in high school, in the dark dungeon which specialized in shoes and furniture, in the back room in the little theater, in the scene and costume shops, rifling wide-eyed through the glittering piles of brocaded dresses and cracked enamel purse handles, through the hundreds of lampshades, red phones, and thickly-framed paintings in heavy stacks, through the vases, through the music stand doorstops, and crowns, and wallpaper samples, and suitcases, and leisure suits, and carpetbags, and jewelry, and typewriters, and cabinets, and leg-lacking furniture of the theater department. Amongst these piles of stuff, and history, with my dearest friends, I felt the best I've ever felt.

It was still so quiet. I wiggled the knot in the top of the first dusty black garbage bag loose and unwove it. I congratulated myself at keeping so composed, at feeling so normal, feeling just fine.
Inside the bag I glimpsed and felt the familiar thrill of polyester, of thin yellow pioneer cotton and terrycloth and calico. I reached one hand into this bag, pulled out a brown skirt with a bustle, held it up before my face to quickly inspect the length, the clasp, the fabric, the size, and before I knew it, I was holding the skirt tightly to my chest, standing behind my school, eyes squeezed shut, alligator tears moving quickly out from under them. I stood and clutched that skirt like there was no tomorrow, and I didn't open my eyes. The baseball announcer stopped speaking, the wind blew, and all I could hear was my story now--there in my ear, telling the story, was Wes, was Eric, was Casey and Dave and Trevor and Syd and Alec and Alex and Spencer and Nessa and Adam and Bryant and Romney and Kristin and Tina and Jenna and Jeffy and Mr. Downs and Patti and Emily and Jake and Cate and Pam, Mr. Keyes, everyone. I leaned heavily against the brick of the auditorium, hugging that skirt.

And I wasn't alone.

13 comments:

Liesl said...

I can't say whether I felt the exact emotions about Orem High like you did, but the funny thing is that when I went there to volunteer and move stuff to the new building, I thought of you. Probably because I saw an old ex-boyfriend of yours there.

But the thing about stories like the one you wrote is that you still managed to capture the exact affinity I have for certain objects. I never buy jewelry. Instead, I steal it from friends or receive it in gifts, and every time I wear it, I think of that friend and the story behind it.

Please don't stop writing.

aj said...

OH man. Orem High. I don't think I have the guts to go by it before Tuesday, but I want to at the same time. It's like saying goodbye to an old friend, one with whom you have so many memories.... sigh

Heidi said...

That's why I'll miss Orem High. The smell, the stuff, the mental furniture that's been there for so long. If I can make it to the demolition, I'll probably cry. I'll take pictures and cry. And be unable to explain exactly why.

Kristin Louise said...

That video made me really, really, REALLY happy.

Liz said...

This video, and post made me tear up... you really do have a way with words, i felt like i was with you... i miss everyone.

Hailey said...

We performed at the grad night on Friday, and so I guess that made us the last people to perform on that stage. I felt pretty honored...

Laura said...

Lol.. I loved the video.

I haven't been by it... its probably gone now...

Azúcar said...

My husband moved all of his things from his old classroom too his new. We're so, so excited, especially since now he's not breathing in the asbestos from the old building. I think there will be access to the auditorium once the old building's hazardous materials are removed and then razed. Sad to see history go.

ConnieGirl said...

Hahaha oh man I totally forgot about that -- "Play it gay!" hahahaha that made me happy.

I'm so sad you didn't include any memories in Ms. Stanton's room. Come on.

Shoot, now I'm actually getting sad that I didn't go see that room one more time... ALL of my senior year was spent in that room.

Brittany said...

please write a very thick book of stuff just like this one day. i will try to read it slowly so it doesn't end and i will mostly likely cry all the way through.

isn't it funny how attached we are to our memories? how we love things more than we really even know?

Tess said...

I love this post. Great, great writing! Sometimes I want to pick your brains about your favorite books. :)

misc. said...

every time i finish that video...i miss watching that video

Alycia (Crowley Party) said...

you are such a great writer. this was great.