-It was 62 degrees when you fell asleep. You woke up to five feet of snow. There’s no sign of it stopping. 9 news said it would only be a dusting, but everyone knows they’re wrong. It doesn’t stop you from quietly talking about the weather reports at every polite juncture.
-Traffic never stops. Valley highway never moves. They always say that they’re expanding the highways. Construction never ceases. You’ve been stuck in dead stopped traffic for hours. You never find the source of the traffic. You’re starving and tired, traffic doesn’t move. You fall asleep and wake up hours later, and traffic still hasn’t moved. You arrive at your destination 5 minutes before the time you left.
-Everyone has a friend of a friend who was present during the Columbine shooting. Nobody talks about it, everyone knows. School lockdown drills are frequent. They last for hours on end.
-You stare out the windows on the lightrail. The bridges that raise the train high above the ground make you uneasy. It feels as if it’s tipping, but it never falls. No matter how loud you turn your music up, the beeping of the closing doors is always louder. You missed your stop 3 stations ago. It takes an hour to catch another train.
-Everyone knows how to ski. It’s ritual for parents to take their infants skiing as soon as they can walk. They go skiing every weekend. Everyone knows how to ski.
-Foreigners think the smog hanging over the city is pollution. Everyone knows it’s a marijuana haze. The city never has time to recover before the next 4/20. You know the difference between skunk and marijuana instantly. Everyone has a dealer at their disposal.
-Sports Authority has closed down. The name Sports Authority Field still glares at you as you sit in traffic. You wonder what they’ll rename it. No attempt has been made.
-You always know the outcome of last night’s football game, even if you don’t watch football. Everyone watches football. You can’t let them know. You can mention it once, and they’ll laugh, thinking you were joking. Mentioning it again is a fatal mistake. Nobody has gotten over Super Bowl XLVII.
-Everyone knows the man in the robot costume on 16th street. Anyone who has traveled 16th street has interacted with him at least once. You wonder how much he makes. You know to be nice to him. The look in his eye tells you that you wouldn’t want to do otherwise.
-The mountains are constantly in view. You get a sense of anxiety when you can’t see mountains, even if you know you’re in a different state. The mountains control you, they call you. You have to enjoy hiking. Everyone owns a camelbak. The trees close in around you. You wonder how many times you’ve walked in a circle now. You must be close to the summit, you think. The heat kills you before you make it to the top.
-Someone once told you the strange tent formation of DIA’s roof is supposed to emulate mountains. You believed them, but were wary of what else they could be. The blue horse stares you down as you enter. You don’t look it in it’s eye. If you did, you wouldn’t be able to look away. You’ve gotten used to the feeling of being watched.
We did it all today! VSEPR got to watch the lightrail trains and listen to them before riding and he handled it like a pro! He’s progressed so much with his noise sensitivity and reactivity; he only flinched a little when one of the trains bells started going off while it was starting to move nearby.
It’ll take a little bit of work before I’m really good at boarding a light rail with him and a chair but we will figure out what works best for us as time goes on.
a list of things that make me happy: Selena Gomez’s “Bad Liar” music video, reading The Godfather on the train to and from work, Parisians in impromptu salsa dance-offs, accordion players in parks, the cat in my Airbnb, French pastries–especially chocolate eclairs, all the crazy-helpful sweet people I’ve met here, learning Git and C++ at work, little kids screaming with laughter, the locks that tourists leave as tokens of love, commuters reading newspapers on public transportation (this may seem like nothing big but it’s rare for people to read newspapers on the lightrail in Portland), my Airbnb host showing me her fruit and vegetable plants and offering me a raspberry, the incredible masterpieces at the Louvre, sharply dressed mannequins in store windows, savory crepes, rolled-up ice cream, the June sunlight glimmering on the Seine like a fistful of diamonds, every time someone does their best to accommodate my bad French, cyclists weaving through traffic, beautiful architecture
Pick up a senioritis project–something to do in the time that you procrastinate all of your other work. Mine was learning to longboard, a couple friends of mine tried to learn elvish from LOTR.
Search “things to eat __(your city)__” and go to all the places and eat the things :3 (I actually am doing this now, in Boston, not back in Denver, but I should have!!)
Go to whatever downtown, small or large, that you have, or take public transportation somewhere you’ve never been and just waste time. Window shop. Get some ice cream. Whatever.
Use a countdown app to countdown the remaining days until winter break/school ends/this one class you have ends
Try to write a short story or a serial
Invest more time than you previously would into extracurriculars–I put extra random effort into Robotics and Chinese Club :>
Write!! About anything and everything. Write badly. Laugh at it.
Make a reading list. Try to finish it
Read book reccommendations from friends
Ask your parents lots of questions–ask them things you have never asked before, however meaningful or totally random as you wish.
^same, but with your siblings
Listen to lots of different music
use whatever mode of transportation and go everywhere. I didn’t have a car in high school, or a license for that matter, and I even lived in Colorado, which has decent but not the best public transportation. I took the lightrail, and then longboarded or walked. I explored downtown Denver thoroughly, and took a road trip with my friends to go camping over the summer.
In the winter months, watch TV shows and movies.
Have lunch by yourself on top of the school bleachers and wonder about life.
Have coffee with a friend and wonder about life
Realize that existentialism is not the way to go.
Have adventures with friends at night (e.g., suprising another friend at their music performance)
Hang out at friends’ houses and wonder about life
Talk to friends about wondering about life
Mutually agonize over the future
Hang out with the little kids and tweens
Cook something interesting (I made bao zi with my mom)
Cook something interesting with friends (we made a buttercream cake!)
Cook something interesting with friends part 2 (kim bap. So good.)
Go to the movies!
Realize that you’re so over your 12 year old self and some of his/her past interpersonal relationships. U don’t need them gurl.
Realize that you wish you stayed in touch more with friend who moved away.
Get to know people completely different from you that you have never hung out with before
Hang out with the freshmen (they are so cute) and the underclassmen in general
Vent to someone
Be vented to, and comfort the vent-er
Cry a little about things/academic and life pressure (TBH still happens every year of college at least once….^^””) (but it’s honestly healthy once in a while) (I am generally still a happy person :3)
Stay up til 3AM just talking and playing games
Be even better friends with your friends, or the people on the “fringes” of your friend group
Plan an extravagant senior trip, which may or may not happen.
Plan a much less extravagant senior trip that actually happens
Most importantly, hang out with your friends and family!!! Appreciate them being here, with you, in this snippet of space and time in the infinite universe. It will never be quite the same again, even if you do dislike high school (which I often did lol).
The automated stop announcer is broken on this lightrail train so the conductor is announcing every stop in this deep voice that sounds vaguely robotic and basically I feel like Kylo Ren with his voice-changing mask on is telling me when to get off the train.
T-minus 50 minutes until my Immunology exam. Time to pack, head to the lightrail, review last-minute notes, and make that exam my @$!*&. When I am done, I am treating myself to a nice cup of coffee…to keep myself awake for my other classes and work today.