Saturday, February 09, 2008

my so called...

When I was 17, I secretly wanted to be Angela Chase. I wanted to dye my hair a crimson red, adopt pale, flawless skin, wear plaid, grungy shirts tied around my waist (which would be at least 80 lbs. lighter) and ponder the meaning of life. So listening to Buffalo Tom's "Late At Night" is like finding a piece of old-school, sugary sweet candy. The kind that hold memories underneath the wrapper. Like candy cigarrettes, licorice flavored gum or or Brach's neopolitan squares.

It's one of the best scenes in the entire short lived series. After humiliating a love struck Angela, the object of her obsession, Jordan Catalano makes his way down a flourescent high school hallway, his clothes baggy enough to let people know he cares about his appearance but not too much...and Angela is poised against a row of lockers, slumped just enough to make her even more beautiful. Her friends close to her side. And just as she's deciding to banish her feelings for the bad boy Catalano, he approaches her to soft sound of Buffalo Tom's "Late At Night". And as they make their way down the hall, Angela's wish of acknowledgement from her crush is met with a simple grasp of her hand.

"I, I held her hand too tight/too hard to make it right/so I could sleep at night... If I could hold them in my hand/I'd make them understand/I'm not a haunted mind/I'm not a thoughtless kind...I'd do it if I could/I hope you know I would..."

And while it is very rare that I feel a sense of nostalgia for my high school era - the song did it today. And I wanted to be 17 again, an age when I drank way too much soda and didn't fully realize how consequences can span over time. How time can wear on the skin, the bones and the body. An age when I really didn't know much at all - not realizing that ignorance can sometimes certainly be a stage of bliss.

So it was appropriate that the pod next served up The Bravery's "Time Won't Let Me Go".

"If I could go back once again/ I'd change everything/ If I could go back once again I'd do it all so much better...Time won't let me go."

I have an obsession with time. Particularly time wasted.

I think sometimes people are afraid to admit they have regrets. Maybe it's rightly so. But I know if I were 17 again, there's plenty I'd do different. And plenty I wouldn't. I'd still get lost in those depressing songs like Counting Crows' "Goodnight Elisabeth" and "A Long December". I'd still let Tammy and Stacy get me drunk on my 17th birthday. I'd still take every art class and defy every assignment - declaring my hatred for watercolor and silkscreening. I'd still refuse to let my AP English teacher edit my graduation speech.

But I wouldn't be so self-conscious. So self-defeating. So self-aware. I'd read more. I'd let my friends turn into bad influences and feel the rush of adrenaline that comes from skipping a day of school or staying out too late or getting drunk on a school night.

We can never go back. We can never undo what has already been done. To quote the best movie of the year, "that is one doodle that can't be undid, homeskillet". But it is a constant struggle. A constant wish - deep down - even in those who swear in email and myspace forwards that they have no regrets - that we would do things differently if we could go back.

And if I could go back - I'd dye my hair crimson red.

1 comment:

Alan said...

Like they say, if you went back in time you wouldn't make the same mistakes. You'd make different ones!

I just turned 44 and never felt better. Or looked better (modest!). Glad to see a new post.