Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Timeline

Age 5 – Based on what you've learned on TV and in storybooks, you decide that all children your age are supposed to have an imaginary friend. You try to invent one, but quickly grow bored with the idea, not to mention confused as to why a nonexistent friend is any fun. Your life-long fate as a realist is already sealed.

Age 6 – You meet a future classmate named David at an area park shortly before starting first grade. He is immediately your exciting new friend, and you smile at each other coyly for the first three months of school. At that point, he inexplicably starts taunting and torturing you, and thereafter becomes your sworn enemy for the next seven and a half years.

Age 9 – A friend of your father's invites your family to try cross-country skiing for the first time. You are a natural, darting ahead of the rest of the group repeatedly and having a fantastic time. Your parents are not naturals, and therefore never ever take you skiing again. You are pretty sure the fact that you never reached your full athletic potential can be traced to this one event.

Age 12 – You are deep in Like with a boy named John. Through some miracle of the universe, he actually likes you back, and in a rare bout of sixth-grade-boy bravery, decides to tell you so on the bus one night. You are immediately terrified of and want nothing to do with him. This experience sets the course for most of your interactions with men for the next ten years.

Age 14 – Your classmates in your very tiny private school are bored and tired of each other (and quite possibly just plain cruel), so they amuse themselves by ostracizing one gangly, awkward student at a time. Lucky you: the shunning rotates to your direction just before end-of-year eighth grade graduation festivities. You gain an unfortunate nickname just in time for yearbook signing, and you are nearly ditched--twice--on the class trip to Great America. You end the year with few friends, and decide that public school cannot start soon enough.

Age 16 – In a seeming attempt to prove just how cool you are not, you invite several friends and almost-friends (from widely varying social circles, no less) to your sixteenth birthday party... at a roller rink. Shockingly, most of them come, despite the fact that (a. most of them don't like each other, (b. some of them might not even like you, and (c. you are too old for a roller-skating party to be acceptable or normal, and too young for it to be an amusing, retro, "releasing-your-inner-child" thing to do. In retrospect, you are both mortified and strangely proud of this entire event.

Age 18 – You do not understand the appeal of house parties, and you really, really hope there is more to college than this.

Age 21 – Spending a semester in Scotland is proving to be an excellent decision. You are seeing the world (or at least, several previously unseen parts of it), and you are learning more than you ever thought you would about culture and human nature. Also, you are learning to drink. And you are getting rather good at it.

Age 23 – You are gainfully employed in your first "real" job. It is not nearly as hard or as strange a transition as you expected it to be, though you still feel like you're playing dress-up when you leave your apartment each day. Sometimes you are genuinely surprised when people treat you like a grown-up. You are certain they will call you out as an imposter at any moment.

Age 26 – Your roommate plans a surprise birthday party for you. The surprise is a complete success. It is still a week before your birthday, and therefore only when you see your own mother does it register that the "Happy Birthday" balloons are for you. It is not one of your quicker or brighter moments.

Age 28 – Finally (finally, finally) a man who is neither a relative nor "just a friend" looks you in the eyes and says "I love you." And he means it. It is awesome.

Age 30 – Another surprise birthday party is held in your honor. You do not suspect this one, either, but as it is held on your actual birthday, you immediately realize it is for you. Clearly all hope for you is not lost.

Age 31 – You start publishing your idle thoughts and random stories on the Internet. You join a dating site and start going on dates with seemingly half the men in the greater Twin Cities area. (The total number actually remains under 30.) Bad dates prove to be excellent blog fodder.

Age 32 – You are still publishing assorted thoughts and stories on the Internet. You jump on an absurd bandwagon and decide to post something every day for a month. On day 14, you post your life in brief. It is met with fanfare crickets.

14 comments:

guinness girl said...

No crickets here! I want to hug your 14-year-old self and help her go tell her classmates to suck it. And also tell your 12-year-old self that OMG that was me too except maybe a couple years later. And tell your 16-year-old self ot rock on with her roller skating partying self. And...well, you know. It goes on and on.

Great idea, though. Hrm. I might steal it.

Highland Coo said...

I can vouch for her claim of being quite good at drinking in Scotland. In fact, I have several pictures of her doing quite well singing drunk, dancing drunk, falling down drunk, and maybe even a few things she's not so proud of. <-- wait, wait... this is Stefanie we're talking about here...that should read, "...and maybe even a few things of which she is not so proud." Ah, the memories.

stefanie said...

Aw, GG. You're sweet. :-) How I could have used you back then! And feel free to steal this one. It wasn't really my idea to begin with. (I think I've seen it on a couple other blogs in the past, and I know it was in Maggie Mason's book-o-blog-ideas, too.)

"Highland Coo"--You read my blog silently for months and months and months, and you pick NOW to chime in with your two cents?? ;-)

He's exaggerating, folks. Really he is. I rarely sing in public (drunk or otherwise), and I only fell down once.

Love the grammar nitpickery, by the way, D. Well done on that.

Anonymous said...

I always was a little disappointed with myself that I didn't have an imaginary friend. I sort of did make one up, but I didn't take it very seriously.

nabbalicious said...

Kids are just brutal! I wouldn't go back to the awkward years for anything. Our experiences sound similar, so I'm sure we would have been friends!

I enjoyed the synopsis!

3carnations said...

I've never had a surprise birthday party...Quite honestly, I don't think I want one. I'm too anal to want to have something like that sprung on me...Must plan, must have plans...

lizgwiz said...

No crickets here!

I've had two surprise birthday parties. Number 18 was truly a surprise. Number 25 was not. My poor boyfriend of the time tried his best, but we lived in a very small apartment complex and he neglected to tell everyone to park somewhere else. So, after several hours of obvious time-killing, we pulled into the parking lot, which was overflowing, and I saw a light go off in our apartment. I turned to him and said "Don't worry, I'll pretend to be surprised."

The Other Girl said...

Oh, the junior high mean girls. I also managed to escape them before they got around to tormenting me. As I recall, they ostracized one girl because she got a haircut that revealed she had . . . hair on the back of her neck!!! In high school, the same mean girls became the born-again girls and became slightly meaner because then their targets were both ostracized and damned.

Anonymous said...

I went to a skating party when I was 16 or 17 and it was really fun! We dorked it up, and I couple skated with this super goofy guy. It was funny. Maybe you had to be there.

LC said...

I can totally relate to your synopsis, all the way to the end.

Although I have never had anyone throw me a surprise party.

Actually, even sadder, when my parents stopped throwing parties for me, they stopped happening completely.

*runs to the corner and cries*

Simone said...

Wow, I thought this was a general list because most of it fit my life at some time or another! Then the Scotland part seemed a bit detailed, but I just had to add “England” and voila, it matches! Yeah, mean girls suck.

Darren McLikeshimself said...

So what was the nickname?

stefanie said...

Yay! Way to prove me wrong on that crickets thing, everyone. :-)

As for your question, Darren, there are, believe it or not, some things that I won't put on the Internet. That's one of them. Actually, it's not even that the nickname is so bad; it's just that I'd have to tell a story to put it in context, and it's really not even a very good story. (Embarrassing is OK; embarrassing and boring is not worth it.)

Poppy Cede said...

I waited until age 7 to consider an invisible friend. I don't remember his/her name (or even gender, clearly), but I definitely enjoyed the friendship for the time that it lasted. I think I stopped the friendship when I finally got a real best friend who played with me outside of school.