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May 20, 2008

Nothing to say turned into a few more paragraphs than I expected.

I just woke up wanting today to be a good day, a better day. It's not hot and for that me and my pores thank the Lord. One would think that overactive pores (also knows as "My face sweats.") would be the sign of perfect skin. One would think.

My parents are so cute, I'm going to visit this this summer. My face will sweat.

Yesterday my friend Dollie sent me some pictures from a college reunion they had recently and I got to see pictures of people I haven't seen in forever. There were pictures in there of faces I haven't thought of in over a decade, faces I kind-of remembered and some who I couldn't believe how much they'd stayed the same, or how much I used to enjoy their company. There was a photo of a girl -- well, a full-grown woman now -- who used to be my closest friend on the planet. And another picture of a guy I used to have a burning desperate crush on.

They were all older by me than a year or two and part of the Incredibly Cool Theatre Crowd. At the time I was a bowheaded sorority chick, or at least that's how most of them saw me. Or so I thought -- looking back I can't tell if I was excluded or just so self-conscious about never fitting in, which I just never have, somehow always living two steps to the left of where everyone else seems to be and it's only recently that I just accepted it and stopped even trying to fit in. Because who fits in, anyway, really? And what is there to fit into, except some jeans?

But back then I was just tangential to that group, the friend of the girl I mentioned so I tagged along from time to time. She was my best friend and we were roommates during her last year in college when I was still a sophomore and still trying to fit in anywhere, with someone. We used to have parties and her friends would come and a few of them were really nice to me which I always saw as a sign of their deeper kindness in general, since bubbly sorority chicks weren't really a great mixer to their college-life drink of choice. (Coincidentally, I didn't fare any better at frat parties, either, always wondering when people would see that I was a sham sorority girl, not committed on the inside, never able to remember where my pin was or when it was OK to wear it.) Later, after my roommate had graduated and her theatre crowd friends had all moved on to Chicago or Real Life, I stayed in school and went inactive in my sorority and made friends with a wide array of other don't-fit-ins, and I think I started to love college then, just as it was ending.

Peer groups are such strange things, aren't they? I think the age 19-through-30 is a really hard decade. You think you have to have all the answers, know who you are and where you're headed and WHO WITH and WHY and you chastise yourself, you have to be on track. Be grown. Have it all figured out. There's a kind of intensity and fatalism about the 20s, like your life is just spinning away from you and you better get it going right now!

I don't miss that feeling of being in my 20s at all. But it was so nice to see all her pictures and laugh and look back and remember that whole time. I miss Southerners. Don't get me wrong, I love Los Angeles and it's my city -- no other place I've been to has such a wide assortment of don't-fit-ins who also have given up on trying to fit in. But I do miss Southerners, who somehow never all the way forget you and have reunions and make family out of groups.

I was trying to explain to someone recently why I love Los Angeles so much. I think it's because this is such a hopeful city. You come here and you know deep inside that anything could happen. You could be living in a one-bedroom apartment in North Hollywood and barely making rent one week and the next week you have a sitcom. Or the waiter who's bringing you your Cobb salad with the dressing on the side could get his screenplay optioned tomorrow. Or you could be here from Jalisco or Zacatecas and two weeks in you found a job making more money then you did in a month back home. It's that kind of town. And that sort of expectant hopefulness pervades the whole city, even if you can't feel it all the time I still think it's there, propping up all our crazy dreams.

I like it here but I still miss other places. Always just two shades to the left of wherever.

Posted by laurie at May 20, 2008 8:41 AM