Friday, May 22, 2015

Notes from a Teenage Kate

This week I've been in Chattanooga, helping my parents clean out their house. We have disposed of:

  • A bouncy ball with a floating demon head inside
  • A home-made t-shirt imprinted with the face of a dog that wasn't ours
  • Empty video cassette boxes for several of Drew Barrymore's finest films
  • A poster of the anatomy of the heart
  • 13 crocheted afghans (don't worry, we saved the best 4 for ourselves)
  • The first three computers my parents ever bought
  • A beach shelter, the folding up of which gave my mom bruises
  • Two broken Barbie wardrobes
  • A dollhouse made out of a cardboard box, decorated with construction paper, markers, glue, and scraps of fabric (I'm still very impressed with our ingenuity, and I took pictures before we threw it away)
  • Portuguese Rosetta Stone, Korean language tapes, and a Taiwanese phrasebook

I didn't, however, get rid of my old diaries. Julie found one of hers from third grade and began reading it to me. At that tender age, she took a Renaissance attitude towards orthography. I've never seen so many letters crammed into basic words; she spelled company "koumpagnie." She also wanted to become a physical therapist because of how incredibly wealthy she would become.

I also kept two notebooks, one from middle school and shared with my friends Tara and Sarah, and one from high school, passed between me and my friend Melissa. Tonight I went to Melissa's house to read this notebook with her. Our 15-year-old selves took boy-craziness to impressive new heights. We had a system of code names for all the boys we liked, complete with an index in the back. Unfortunately, we lost the code, so we no longer remember who "Arf," "Diablo," "D.Q." or "Biology Man" are, although we did write that "Weasel" was "oily, with a bitter aftertaste" and that "Moo" was "FingerLickin' Good!," so I don't know if these were nicknames or recipes. As Melissa pointed out, we did not have much experience at that point in "tasting" men. In one of the entries, I gave Melissa advice on seducing a guy by convincing him that she didn't care about him, but also conning him into teaching her how to kiss:
Finish by jumping back, looking at him strangely, and start sobbing (WATERPROOF MASCARA!) on his shoulder, saying that this kissing has awakened your feelings for him ... use all your powers, wide tearfilled eyes, hands clutching his shoulders, beautiful quivering lips, head on his chest, sobbing again, that last sweet sweet kiss. P.S. I read it in that book Becky has.
I also wrote--often and at length--about how my love for the Beatles was truer and deeper than anyone else's at our school. "Today, April goes, 'They look alike, dontcha think?' No, they don't! They might all have brown hair and brown eyes, but they do not look alike! What an ass!"

We came across the most ridiculous passage that I have ever read. I wrote this about a boy I liked (code name: Marc Antony/Mercury) who was dating a girl I hated (code name: Cleopatra). I think we had maybe just read Antony and Cleopatra. But my L.M. Montgomery and Marion Zimmer Bradley is showing, too:
Cleopatra was just a plain human, not a goddess, and even though in history, she is depicted with god-like powers,1 powers of the cat, all she was was a slutty, dictatorish ruler of a country of heathens!2 And if, perchance, she was of the immortal strain, SHE'S EGYPTIAN! Egyptians and Romans DON'T MIX! ... However, darling Mercury, man of light foot and marble stature, I am of the Everlasting myself. Who could be as mischevious [sic] and delightful as me, and not have a bit of Puck in m'self?3 Who could have visions of wonder and grandeur like me, and not be of the blood of Titania? I have Norwegian gnome, Irish elf, Scottish faerie, and Welsh kelpie in me! I have seen the magesty [sic] of Atlantis, the magic of Stonehenge, the Mystery of the misty fir forest of the Irish, the gorse-covered plains of the Scottish highlands, and the gloomy rockstrewn shores that the mermaids inhabit in Wales.4 I have lived a thousand lives, and been none the worse. Beautiful god of old, I am of your kin and I understand. You and I have been together from the beginning of the world, and have seen all. You are mine, and have been from the building of Olympus, the destruction of Atlantis, the worship in temple Stonehenge. You are mine.5
After I wrote that, I assume my eyes turned black while I chanted in Sumerian about how I'd be a queen, beautiful and terrible as the dawn. And then I probably murdered his cat.

1: Don't know where this idea came from.
2: I was very into denouncing heathens in high school.
3: *gagging noises*
4: I had seen none of these things; I had been to Yellowstone.
5: He's married now. Three kids. But I'm playing the long game.