The Literary Giant

or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Alaina

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Location: West Hollywood, California, United States

Monday, November 20, 2006

Younger Next Year: A Guide to Living Like 50 Until You're 80 and Beyond

Matt and I dated for a few weeks and I spent a lot of that time sleeping at Wagner College, located in the esophagus of Staten Island. The following mornings, commuting back to Purchase for class, I took the Wagner shuttle wagon. It was reliably more entertaining than the Purchase loop bus because the students of Wagner College tend to be life-long residents of Staten Island.

One afternoon I rode the Wagner wagon with a blond girl who wore a lot of blue makeup, her mother in purple eyeliner, lipstick and a lavender vest, and two goth lesbians, one of whom was seated next to the driver. The mother was visiting her daughter for Parents Weekend and they were headed to Manhattan for a nice dinner. They were talking about boys and school when one of the lesbians started yelling about aging.
"I don't want my youth back," she exclaimed, her voice cracking as it got higher, "I hated my childhood! I just don't want to get any older." Everyone already knew she had hated her S.I. upbringing. She is, after all, goth.

Her friend, also wearing fat man jeans and plastic snack-like necklaces, tried to pacify her, but the mindless exasperation kepted being verbalized. As the oldest person riding the wagon, though thin and not dripping with wrinkles, the purple mother was undoubtedly uncomfortable with the conversation.
"It just sucks to be old," continued the goth. "The best thing to do would be to die young!"
"Well, now's your chance," I snapped. The purple mother turned around to me and laughed.

I boarded a Metro-North train on Wednesday evening. I saw three fat old ladies eating sandwiches, so I sat behind them. Nodding off, I came to when one of the old ladies started talking shit about her dead father.
"My father was a commuter on the LIRR and he was also a drinker," she explained in a faded Long Island accent. "Almost every day he would fall asleep and call my mother and say that he was in Babylon, which is the end of the train line, and we lived only half of the way to there from the city." Her friends started nodding and giving negative hums. "When I learned to drive, then I'd have to go pick him up. He never thought about how inconsiderate it was to do that to us." The three fat old ladies sat quietly contemplating the outdated complaint and I fell back to sleep.

Awoken again by a train announcement, I caught a different fat old lady saying, "The only real problem with breast feeding is that the father never gets a chance to have that close connection with the baby."
Although I still stand by the assertion that most things would be better off if the Wagner goth died tomorrow, it might be for the best, for me, if I took myself out of the breathing game earlier than nature may intend.


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