Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Bell Tolls for the Frog

I said an examination of my thoughts on last weekend's wedding deserved its own post. Here it is.

For the first time since this weekend cruised back up the 101 and ended by parking neatly into a slot on Sola Street, I’ve had time to stop and think about what it means to see your friends get married.

Jen and Shaun and now a couple, formally in the eyes of the law and permanently in the eyes of God. Strange thought — especially since these are people who I first encountered as the fun party crowd that ruled the Nexus when I first started there, back in fall of 2001. In the time that’s passed since I scored by first byline, Jen and Shaun and their whole generation moved on, I passed through the ranks of the paper and became the same kind of unimpressed senior staffer as the people who trained me. (Granted, I was never nearly as cool, but that’s something you should have assumed.)

I’ve had a good handful of friends walk down the aisle since college began. Liz, who I haven’t kept in touch with; Monica, who I hear from now and then; Meg, whose wedding I missed and I still feel bad about; Daniel and Maggi, who shucked tradition and eloped; Rachel and Dennis, whose wedding I got un-invited to, though rather politely; and Beth, whose wedding was a stone’s throw from Santa Barbara and I still didn’t get to go. Thus, of all my newly married friends, Jen and Shaun were the only ones whose nuptials I was able to attend.

Keep that in mind while I get schmaltzy. In truth, all this could stem from the fact that I’m a wedding virgin, more or less, and I just haven’t yet hardened to the experience. In all, the ceremony was surprisingly hard for me — if only for selfish reasons. Yes, it was nice to see two smart people becoming adults and making a decision to share their life together. It’s touching. It’s admirable, especially since I once saw Jen in a Halloween costume that provoked the response “Slut it up, yo.” More than that, the wedding made me feel awkwardly young — not old, as people might expect it would. Instead of disbelief that enough time had passed in my life for my friends to make these large-scale decisions, I felt like seeing my friends get married only accentuated the disparity between my physical age and my mental age.

At heart, I still feel young, even though I tend to shun the company of those much younger. I still live in the town I went to college in, but I don’t feel like I’m ready to move on. I don’t have a full-time job, but I don’t want one. I haven’t seriously looked into grad school, but I haven’t got a clue what to do. My financial records are a mess, my car is woefully under-attended, I can’t let a day slip by without watching cartoons — and that’s cartoon cartoons, not the kind adults are actually supposed to watch.

Since high school, I’ve felt trapped between two age groups — too old for the kids, but two young for the grown-ups. I’m twenty-four years old now. I’m the edge of a prime demographic. Shouldn’t that place me in some kind of position I can understand? What do I have to wait for?

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