"And I Used To Be So Cool"
"And I Used To Be So Cool"
I have a friend. One of those types that always has a story to tell. I think everyone knows someone like that. Recently, he told me a different kind of story. One I feel needs to be told to more than me.
“I was young once, typical kind of guy. Went to school, did my work, made some money. Had the right mindset, right ethic, right attitude. About three inches to the left of the Eight Fold Path. I was in college, hanging out with friends all the time. Life was great. I had everything, really I did.”
I laughed. You would too if you knew him.
“I even had a steady. She was the blonde bouncy type. It was good for a while. Did all kinds of nice things for me. Then she moved away, so we split. I found out later that she was banging like six other guys at the time. Guess bouncy is a good choice of word huh?”
I know the type of girl. He had my sympathy.
“Remind me to apologize to all the women I’ve dated since then. She kind of ruined it for them. Anyways, I was doing my usual - work, school, friends - when by accident I met a new girl. She was like a tiger. A predator, ready to pounce and strike. She was beautiful.”
Again I laughed.
“She was real sharp, witty. We started hanging out and I decided to move in with her. Best week of my life. Moving out was a shock for my parents, but oh well. They can get over it. This girl though, real beautiful. Always poised with a retort ready like a bee sting. She showed me exactly how plastic everything is.”
My friend was always a skeptic.
“You know me, I’m pretty skeptical about a lot of things, but her, she took it to a new level. And I learned. I learned from her. She made sense, in a Jack Kerouac kind of way. She’d been all over and knew and done things I haven’t. If you could’ve met her man.”
He trailed off. Probably reminiscing.
“She explained everything to me. About life, the world, the oppressed., the class inequalities, everything. Even God. It was so much to take in. But I did. I kept a diary back then, but I don’t know what happened to it. Next semester I dropped out of school. I’d found a new teacher.”
“Sounds crazy I know, but I told you. She was sharp. Not too long later, we had a fallout. Things went sour. I moved back home. Parents didn’t like it one bit. Their bright future opted out of it and was left with no where to go. Oh well, they can get over it. I didn’t like living there again. It was confined. Structured. Suffocating. But I went back to doing my usual. Except, I didn’t go to school anymore, and my friends had moved away to go to school. So I went to work.”
Well, that’s something.
“That went down too. They fired me. Didn’t tell me why. I never bothered to ask. Might have been the best thing to ever happen to me. Luckily I had a large sum of student loan money sitting my bank account, so finding a job wasn’t a big priority. I spent a lot of days sleeping. I spent a lot of nights hanging out with friends. I even met a new girl.”
“She was pretty cool. Younger than me, enough attitude to make punk rock look mellow, and hormones dripping out of her panties. I was perfectly satisfied. So satisfied in fact I spent nearly the amount of money it takes to go to college for a semester on her. I wasn’t worried. Never worry, it will kill you.”
“Well turns out she didn’t fancy me anymore, and I really didn’t fancy her anymore. We split, haven’t talked to her since. I moved in with a close friend of mine not long afterwards. He is cool shit, pretty neutral about everything, so I figured he’d be a good guy to live with.”
I think I know him.
“So I took my last couple hundred bucks, signed the papers and moved in. It’s a pretty nice apartment when you clean it up. Told him I’d have a job before my money ran out. He said it was good. I hunted for a job for a bit, got sick of doing that, asked my parents for money. They didn’t like it, I didn’t like it, but oh well, they can get over it. I kept making rent so everything was going fine. Then my father lost his job.”
Sad news. I feel for him.
“So money got short on there end and I went out job hunting again. Jobs are a scarce commodity now a days. I blame former president Bush.”
“Still nothing came up. Manage to scrap rent out about the same way as I scrapped the loose tobacco out of cigarette boxes in those days. Couldn’t afford filters. Unfiltered is nasty, but whatever, I wanted a cigarette.”
I agreed. On both accounts. We smoked for a minute.
“And I used to be so cool. Then the bills came. Overdraft fees, student loan collectors, car payments. Hell even got a warning in the mail for downloading programs illegally online. Couldn’t afford the product.”
And we all thought government crackdowns on downloading were scare tactics.
“Food was getting rare. I started eating only once a day. Five dollar meals at McDonalds were costing me twenty five dollars once the bank had their say. I’d say fuck them, but they have to pay rent too I guess. Assholes. Couldn’t even cook what little food I did have. Roaches infested the kitchen. I’m scared of my own kitchen. Last time I went in there, I saw at least ten scatter when I turned on the light.”
“Then I got a call from another friend of mine, just lost his job and needed a place to stay. Room mate and I insisted he move in. It made rent cheaper. Offered him a coach and slab of floor and he brought his shit right over. So on top of all these bills, I was now in violation of my renting lease. Only two people live in a two bedroom apartment not including spouses. I still joke we should have a gay wedding for the tax benefits.”
I laughed again.
“And to think, all of this happened in less than a year. From Christmas to my birthday. Ten Months.”
He took off his shoes.
“So here man, try these on, let me know what you think.”
Worker bees can leave,
Even drones can fly away.
The queen is their slave.