I was going to ditch my plan from the last post, but I decided that I should actually stick with it since I publicly announced the decision. I’m limiting myself to 30 minutes, because I really want to get in bed and read. I’m reading Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity at the moment. I haven’t seen the movie in a while, but from what I remember, it follows the book pretty well. It’s a really great description and analysis of a heartbreak, complete with all the messy emotions (love, lust, anger, jealousy, desperation, apathy, etc…). I sort of wish I had read that instead of the Sloane Crosley essay.
June 17, 2011
- Ryan getting picked up from Badger Boys Camp by his “cousin” Taylor
- Silliness of first love
- Ferris Bueller’s Day off
- Responsibility vs. Immaturity
Last summer, my younger brother, Ryan, was chosen from what I assume to be a large group of young men to go to the Badger Boys Camp. I wasn’t really sure what the camp was all about – something about leadership and politics. He met with students from Harvard and all over the country to learn about leadership, politics, and (I’m assuming) conservative policies. He met Scott Walker, who, had he been old enough to vote, would not have voted for. I was happy for him. He’s a smart kid who sparked debates in his civics class and bonded with a history teacher with a deadpan sense of humor and low tolerance for the bureaucracy of public schools but suffers through anyway. He had been saying he was interested in going into political science and journalism, so this was a great opportunity for him to network and get some unique experience.
Around this time, Ryan was head over heels for a girl named Taylor. He was caught up in that swirl of first love. If it hits before you’re 18, you’re basically fucked. With no significant responsibilities or obligations, you’re able to devote all of your time, energy, and furious hormones to your boyfriend or girlfriend. At that age, it’s hard to tell if it’s love or just infatuation. The first time I fell in love (or so I thought. I learned years later that I hadn’t been in love, just deep, deep, melodramatic infatuation that was the fruit of two melancholy souls connecting over a Sufjan Stevens song), I remember being so overwhelmed and obsessed with the relationship. Everything he did or said was amazing. I commemorated our firsts without anyone knowing: I bought fuschia geraniums and planted them in clay pots, savoring the feeling of dirt under my nails while I remembered the romantic and clumsy fumblings and soft murmurs from the night before.
Obviously I wasn’t there for any of Ryan’s special moments with his girlfriend, but when he called home asking for me or my mom to call the headquarters to get out of camp early to see her, I laughed. I remembered those feelings – the ones that made me choose the more foolish of the choices (lying about a slumber party to sleep over and then getting caught, spending twenty minutes kissing goodbye to end up being a half hour late for curfew). He was supposed to be at a camp that celebrated leadership and responsibility and his presence there made a statement: that he was a smart, level-headed young republican.
Somehow between the three of us, we wove a lie that involved his “cousin” Taylor picking him up. The directors of the camp were pretty strict about the boys leaving early, requesting ID from the driver. After talking to the director, my mom laughed a little, saying she was pretty sure they thought Taylor was a guy.
“Well, that will be a surprise when they see her,” she said.
“Yeah, then just imagine how they’ll greet each other,” I said, imagining something similar to the scene in Ferris Bueller’s day off when Ferris picks up Sloane from school and the principal is shocked by the incestual kiss.
“Kissing cousins,” my mom laughed.
I knew that what he was doing was stupid. It was an immature decision. A truly responsible young man would have stayed for the whole week, talking with everyone there and making connections that would benefit in the future. Leaving camp early with a little blonde girl he kissed upon arrival probably wouldn’t give the best impression. But I went along with it to prolong that simpleness for him. Eventually his life would be full of bills and due dates and budgets and at some moment he would inevitably feel the crush of heartbreak. At that moment, all he had to worry about was making his girlfriend happy, and I was a little envious.
Okay. So that took 20 minutes to write and 20 minutes to edit while also contributing a 200-comment thread/chatroom on Facebook with three of my friends.