Blast From the Past #1

Sunday, April 24, 2005

I saw my roommate Chris’ play, Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls, this afternoon at the Krannert Center. It’s about a group of people in their 20s who are confused about who they are, what they want to do, etc.; the title is a play on how the word “aloha” means both “hello” and “goodbye” in Hawaiian. There’s a lot of other metaphors used in the play, but the main one is the word “aloha” and how it symbolizes the confusion that you experience in your 20s when your life is just constantly in transition.

And I really liked the play, but it really put me in a melancholy state of mind, because by the end of the summer, I’ll be living somewhere other than the Midwest for the first time in fourteen years. I’m not crazy about the place, and when I leave the Chicago area I can see why other people poke fun at Midwesterners, but I have roots here. I’m going to miss things like flat vowels and hot dogs without ketchup and deep-dish pizza and Lake Shore Drive on an oppressingly hot summer day, and day trips to Six Flags and drunken weekends in Michigan or Wisconsin at someone’s lakehouse and the Pride Parade and braving the winds on someone’s rooftop, just to put away beers and look at the skyline. I always bitch about driving through the rural Midwest, with its boring plains, but when it’s a hot, hazy day, and the sun is beating down on the crops at a 45-degree angle, there’s a kind of stoic beauty to be had in a horizon so flat and a landscape so far-reaching.

I’m going to be leaving Chicago, where all my friends and family live, to live in a state where I don’t know anyone, in a city where I don’t know anyone. One of the characters in the play makes the decision to relocate from NYC to LA to live with a friend–but he’s not really a friend, he’s someone she kind of knew once, but she doesn’t really know that much about him, and she’s not really sure if they have much in common, and she’s not sure if she really likes him that much or not, but she’s not sure what else to call him, and I was thinking, well, how many of my friends now will be like that at the end of two years?

Another character compares your 20s to a big game of musical chairs, with everyone wandering around to fun music and kicking back, and then all of a sudden you’re 30 and the music stops and everyone is scrambling around for their own seat–will I look around one day and see that everyone else has got their own chair and I’m the one left standing?

And at another point in the play, one of the characters has another conversation with another character about plans–how they used to be full of plans to do exciting things, but those plans have changed, and now they don’t know what they want. Right now my plan is teach for two years and then attend law school to get a JD in entertainment law and possibly an MBA. I’d like to become a film producer, maybe working in children’s entertainment. But my freshman year my plan was to transfer into the journalism program by junior year; my sophomore year my plan was to go to film school; and just last year my plan was to go directly into law school after graduation. What if my plans have changed or died in ten years? What will happen then?

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