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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Shaggy-haired boys

Today I set up community service hours for a boy who--if I were still a 15-year-old girl--I would have been all over. He would totally have been my boyfriend. I would have sighed with happiness over his shaggy hair and band tee-shirt. That's the adult me talking, though. In reality, who I was at 15 probably would not have been able to handle a little juvenile delinquent, no matter how adorable—multiple arrests and a drinking problem in the boy I mooned over.

I like working with adolescents because I remember so vividly what it was like to be a teenager. There was a lot about that time period that sucked. Just plain sucked. I was painfully shy, didn't know to talk to boys; I was so sheltered and naive that I missed a lot of experiences that could have been really valuable. Being naive also caused me to be extremely judgmental about things that, in the end, weren't such a big deal. As time goes on, those fall away and I remember more the wonderful times that I had with an amazing group of friends. Everything is new and important and life changing when you are in adolescence.

I still remember what it was like to hear Eddie Vedder's voice for the first time when I was 16. My tastes have changed in some ways--no longer do I own an Amy Grant CD (purchased at a church retreat when I was 14 or 15)--but my heart still breaks with longing when I hear him sing. That has never changed. Listening to a live album I picked up a few years ago at a used record store, I remember being a senior in high school and learning Pearl Jam was coming to Wichita. It was the first time I knew a band enough to follow them--and I was smitten enough to take the enormous step (for me) of trying to get tickets. I even talked with a few guys in my class, boys to whom I'd otherwise have nothing to say, and arranged a ride with them if I scored a ticket. The logistics of that--how I'd be in a car for an hour each way with two hot guys I only nominally knew--didn't even concern me; such was my love for Eddie Vedder.

This is the way that story should end: I scored a ticket, had a moshingly-good time at the concert, swooned and screamed over Eddie Vedder, and in the dark car ride home, found myself a grungy hot new boyfriend.

This is how the story actually ends: I was on the phone all night calling Ticketmaster, listening to a busy signal the whole time. It wasn't until I was 22 that I saw Eddie Vedder for the first time, but since I also walked past him in the crowd after his performance, it somewhat makes up for missing the show at 17. And at 17, simply trying to get a ticket was a big enough step.

So I set up community service for this kid, and it's a good thing I'm not also his therapist.
Deep down, a part of me will always have such a weakness for boys like him, and Eddie Vedder.

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Blogger Hannah said...

Ha! And I, who never had any great adoration for the guy, served him lunch and was about five feet away from him for several hours one time backstage at a concert.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...

And I'm the one who got your Amy Grant CD! For some reason, you gave it to me before I went to college -- I think it was b/c I had a CD player w/o any CD's yet, so you gave me that one. ???? I don't have it any more either, ha ha.

7:29 PM  

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