Mike Madriaga 3 p.m., June 22
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Memories of Awesome-ness
Although one can still be awesome in adulthood, most of it is comprised of moments from the past. I feel most awesome when Bel Biv Devoe or TLC comes on the radio or when I laugh at jokes that re-surface from my dorm room from 1996. For everything I have done and have come to be, I can’t seem to forget the past where my consciousness of myself did not prevent me from experiencing first moments without reservation. I tried most everything in college and though my gaze was that of a young adult, my appreciation was that of a child. The first time I went to a beach at night with friends, I was 18.
Jenny, a curly red head who lived in my dorm, had a car. We waited until 9. We waited until the stars were fully out so that the pitch black of the beach would push the population of stars into the millions. It was the first Wednesday night after our parents dropped us off at the school and said goodbye. There was no class yet, only freshman orientation, so the night had the potential of endlessness. We rolled into the national park lot and circled the booth where we would be paying five dollars if these were normal park hours. Although the booth existed, the after hours gate did not. We parked and easily chattered and laughed our way out of the car encouraged by the newness of every word. We told stories of our even younger days to find where we fit or didn’t fit with one another. We were open to all new friends. Even those who may have been sequestered from us by the high school clique hierarchy.
Melissa was a hippie of the 90’s. She always wore some sort of backless, crocheted top with a butterfly accent and long gypsy skirts. She loved the number 420. Jen was bright blond with hair held in perfect place by five gallons of invisible hold hairspray. She was a prom queen, not a virgin and she knew she was pretty. Beth was a rock chick that collected a pile of tickets from the hundreds of shows she had attended since the age of thirteen. She died her hair black, but was thinking about adding burgundy highlights. She loved Guar. Gina was Korean by ethnicity but white by identity. She had already been to rehab once or twice for her addiction to raves. Dance was her passion.
We hiked down to the damp purgatory between the cool grainy sand and the frigid licks of ocean. We sank into the earth, we did cartwheels, we smoked cigarettes and we talked over one another. It was my first time on a beach after dark. It was my first time inhaling second hand smoke from my peers. It was my first time feeling the crisp breeze of freedom that comes from being out after dark.
Although today I am wearing business casual slacks while I bathe in the fluorescent lights of office building 2, I sit in my cubicle and laugh at the jokes of the past, I groove to the throw back beats of the 1990’s and I smile at the girl I was and still am. I never want to move backwards, but I hope these memories of awesomeness break through my excel sheet reveries daily to free me from the not new moments of legit adulthood in a cubicle.