Plato believed that we lived in a world of
images, three-dimensional shadows of the true one. What we see with our eyes is nothing more than a cheap imitation of its true state.
example, the chair we see before our eyes is nothing more than a shabby image of the true chair that exists. We carry on everyday with
flawed perceptions of the true ideal form.
Life After College:
Year 3 - In Transit
[Wednesday, March 30, 2005]
"Because its like those Hong Kong photos. All the blemishes are eliminated in the fuzzy glow." - Riven
Music and I have always had an extraordinary connection. I was never particularly good at making music, but listening to it was something I did in avid detail. You remember most things that happen in your life. But when a certain song comes on at a certain time, you really remember it. You remember it in such sharp detail that your breath catches in your throat and your heart clenches. Today, as the rain came down outside and I sat at my computer at work, I listened to the opening notes of Jack Johnson through the head phones of my ipod. It was as if time flowed by me like a river, but instead of moving with it - I was suspended for a moment, and scenes from my former life at Big 5 flashed before me in quick succession and simultaneously moved in slow motion. In between heartbeats, it became March 2003, it was raining, and I was listening to Jack Johnson through the headphones of my Sony MD player. I was in the limo on the way to La Guardia airport for my weekly flight to Charlotte, NC bracing up for another craptastic week at Bank of America.
I remembered the corporate apartments rented for the analysts by Big 5 Consulting. It was a gated community We affectionately referred to as Melrose Place. My own team at BofA sucked, but the rest of the other analysts were fun. We'd barbecue every Wednesday by the pool. My roommate Sugar could've easily won the award for "Most Bitter Analyst Ever", though I would've been a close runner-up. I remember wearing 4-inch high heels, a flowy skirt, and a white button down shirt as I stepped out of cool shaded parking garage into the bright sun, squinting my way to the office building. Lunches in the atrium with Brin and Pint, the zippy little car The Firm had on a monthly lease for me, and the booze cruise. One of the partners got so hammered he played bongos on upside down garbage cans. It suddenly didn't seem so bad anymore. What do you do when your heart yearns for something your heads knows is definitely bad? What do you do with nostalgia for something you know you can never go back to?
I logged onto my Big 5 screen name for the first time since quitting, and watched my list of contacts populate. It was still grouped off by project. Dupont. Travelers Insurance. Bank of America. St. Charles Training Group. Staring at my old buddy list while listening to Jack Johnson made me feel like I was in some strange pocket of time. I expected my old manager to IM me at any moment and ask me to take care of some problem in BofA's database. Seeing my friend from training, JE, made me want to IM her to bitch about the travel schedule and ask how her boyfriend was doing. It freaked me out in a strange Donnie Darko sort of way.
And then I caught up with one of the analysts on my team to find out how the rest of the project was. Turns out, it tanked, which I thought was the funniest thing in the world. The client booted our team after losing 2 out of 3 analysts due to mismanagement by executives. She then proceeded to bitch to me about how much The Firm sucked, and how much politicking goes on. And just like that, the bubble burst, and I remembered all the reasons why I quit.
As the last notes of Jack Johnson died and the remaining catch-up conversations I was having with old co-workers wound down, I realized I may have to relegate Jack to the archives. This may seem unnecessarily harsh for an otherwise okay artist, but at this critical juncture in my life, I can't risk Jack and all the memories attached to him. The opening notes spin too tantalizing a web of warm summer nights, good friends, sweet tea from the South, and the ever-enchanting allure of money and all that was consulting.
Posted by ink |
[Monday, March 28, 2005]
I just spent the past hour and a half pouring my heart out into textual form, especially excited because I've been verbally constipated lately, and then..... Blogger went and ate it.
Internal Server Error. It said, when I tried to publish. I clicked the Back button, but it was gone. All gone.
I could feel the heat begin to build as I stared at my laptop. I couldn't believe it. It was gone!!! COMPLETELY GONE.
SO MAD SO MAD SO MAD.
I tried to recreate the last paragraph I wrote, scanning my short term memory, but it was all wrong!!! All I could recall were phrases I used, and some ideas I'd illustrated, but all the connections between the ideas were gone. GONE! And that's really all writing is anyways - drawing connections between ideas. Anyone can have ideas. But putting them together into cohesive understandable form is what defines writing from gibberish. When I write, thoughts pour from my brain straight onto the screen or onto paper. Things just come up, I take forks in the mental roads as I fancy and follow them down, sometimes going into wild tangents that eventually lead back to the original destination in a rather circular whimsy route that probably took twice as long as was necessary. You can't just... retrace thoughts like that. I'm halfway between being livid and wanting to burst into tears.
"I'm sorry for your loss."
That's my friend Case. I swore I heard a slight tone of mockery in that instant message he sent me in response to my frantic reaction, but he claimed he truly meant it. What is it about losing a piece of writing that makes it like losing a child? Just like having another child doesn't replace the one you lost, trying to rewrite it never quite recaptures the ideas the same way. It's not the same. In fact, when it's slightly different, it seems to be an even more grotesque perversion of the original. It was a beautiful piece. Or at least, I liked it. It had a non-cheesy ending. I always struggle with conclusions for some reason. And this one tied itself together very naturally and neatly. I came to the stopping point without even realizing it. Except now when I try to recreate it, all the words I'm using are wrong, and it seems pretentious and gross.
The moment is gone. When you hit that writing mood, when you can sense that little feeling hovering near by, you have to grab it by the collar and not let go until you're finished with it. Shake it until all the ideas fall out of its pockets. And I shook it, hard. Little golden dublets fell out to my delight and I soaked it all in, turning them into ideas and words that turned into pictures delineated by black and white letters. And when I was finished with it, I let it go, and pushed "Publish." But by the time I realized it wasn't going to publish properly, it had scampered away and is now hiding from me, only showing me a bit of its tush or chin here or there, teasing me, and forcing me to fill in the gaps by memory.
Part of my anger is just the shock of it. It was torn from my hands so suddenly, and without any warning. All I'm left with is a vague memory of what it once was.
Posted by ink |
[Sunday, March 27, 2005]
A few months ago, a friend and I had a conversation about this. Ever since I hit the age of 22 or so, my body seemingly hit the second half of puberty. I became less stick-insect like, I gained weight, and overall became more rounded in the right places. And also in the wrong places - like the belly area. I grew what I like to call my "roo" pocket. I joined the club of women who have a "trouble area" in the tummy, and I wore this badge of womanhood with pride - even though I was lacking in the other area that indicated "woman" - the boobs. But that's okay - I remedied the latter with padded bras, courtesy of Victoria's Secret.
Also like all the other women of the world, I caved in and joined the meat market otherwise known as a gym. I'm generally opposed to the concept of gyms overall, which is to workout for the sake of looking good, or for the purported goal of "health". In my opinion, exercise should occur as a side effect of other healthy things, like playing sports. For that reason, I've always had trouble with gyms. The repetition of the treadmill and elliptical machines bore me to tears, causing me to quit about 10 minutes into it. Music didn't help. Audio books were a slight improvement (increasing my workout time to 15-20 minutes), but also causing me to forget to pedal on the bicycle because I'd become too engrossed in the story. And the sideways ogling that happens at all gyms made me vaguely uncomfortable. The ogling wasn't always from the men either. I always felt slightly self-conscious going into gyms, because I felt like the other women there were giving me dirty looks and thinking, "Why is that skinny bitch here. She doesn't need to lose weight!" Adding to it all was this very sharp consciousness of sweating. I didn't sweat a lot when I was younger. At best, I'd have a general glow to me in the summer, but it'd never condense into the ubiquitous sweat droplet that would drip down into everyone else's face. These days though - thanks to the Second Half of Puberty, I sweat - especially on my back and chest. Gross. But even with my own personal sweating experience, I was shocked when my friend told me that her problem spot was her butt. Butts sweat?!
"Duh," she said. "Don't you notice the girls at the gym? They always have a wet spot on their shorts at the top of their butts."
I looked at her dumbfounded. I'd never looked at other girls' butts before. I was too preoccupied with making sure I stayed on the elliptical machine without falling off.
"That's disgusting," was my response.
Guess who left a butt print on the tennis courts today?
I played tennis with my dad for the first time in 10 years. When I dug out my old racket, it too had hit a second puberty as it seemed to have grown Sulley-like hair on the handgrip. Thinking it was layers of dust, I rinsed it in the sink to no avail. I brought a hairy racket to the courts. A racket that was also pink and purple, courtesy of my color preferences when my dad let me pick out the racket at age 12.
I wore my new sneakers, even despite my dissatisfaction with its pink highlights. The fact that they looked like my old sneakers from top view gave me immeasurable comfort. Especially since my sweatpants covered the majority of the pink portions. Needless to say - I sucked. Still, I was surprised at how much I retained considering how long it's been. Perhaps playing tennis is like riding a bike. You never quite forget how to do it. My backhand is now awful. I used to have quite an impressive backhand was a youngster, largely because I played a lot with my dad, who was a leftie. In fact, I used to win tournaments within my age group. Not really because I was particularly good (tons of other kids showed more raw power and raw talent than I did), but just because I made less careless mistakes. My balls were always placed carefully within the lines, whereas theirs (though fast and powerful and sailing just inches above the net) tended to be a little wilder. I never did quite master the serve back then, and I'm still awful at it now. All the little tricks came back pretty quickly though - picking the ball up between the racket and your ankle, letting it roll onto your racket from the ground and bouncing it a few times before popping it into your pocket, etc.
True to my youth, my hair was a big frizz by the time I left. Back then, it was because I had a ton of baby hairs that would fly out of my ponytail and wave around in the air like my biggest fan club. Now, it's because I sweat, and the shorter hairs from my layers start to puff out due to the heat emanating from my head. It's the same effect either way - a halo of baby hairs. You'd think that by age of 24, I'd be able to pull off the sleek tennis-player look a little better. Also true to my youth, I played in running shoes, almost twisting my ankles more than just a few times when I made sudden stops to go in the other direction.
I think my dad's in better shape than I am. I pretended I took frequent breaks to give his old heart a chance to recover, but really - I had to sit down. That was when I came to the horrified realization that I was leaving buttprints on the court. I asked my dad anxiously whether my bottom was wet, and turned around to peer at the back of my sweatpants. Nope, no sign of moisture. And with light grey sweatpants, it's usually pretty obvious. I didn't have time to ponder the physics of water moving through sweatpants to soak the court but not the sweatpants because my dad roundly trounced me in our match.
Surprisingly though, we played for a full hour, and I felt good instead of annoyed and bored (my usual reaction after an hour at the gym, if I even make it to a full hour). I think I may make this part of my regular weekly routine. And my goal (also true to my youth) is to beat my dad. Just once.
Funny, that used to be my goal for chess too. Back then, my dad had no qualms about checkmating his 7-year-old daughter within 10 minutes of game-start. I doubt he has any qualms about kicking my ass at age 24 either. I quit playing chess at age 10 because I simply gave up. Luckily for my dad, I'm now older, more mature, and much more stubborn. And me and my hairy pink and purple racket can take him on. YEAH!!!!
Posted by ink |
[Saturday, March 26, 2005]
What's up with the fashion these days?
That's a phrase I never thought I would utter. Largely because it's a sure sign you're getting old. After I threw my sneakers out because they'd been contaminated by bat germs, I immediately regretted it. I went sneaker shopping today and realized with slack-jawed incredulity that shoe-fashion has taken a dive. What's with the bling-bling on the sneakers these days? I don't need a hologram on my shoes, nor metallic colors. I just want a basic shoe that has a bit of reflective piping so I won't get run over, and isn't too flashy. And white? Give me a break. Those will be filthy within days.
I generally have no brand loyalty when it comes to most things, but when it comes to sneakers, I'm all about Saucony. I own, not one, but TWO pairs of their Saucony Jazz Originals and have even gotten my dad and brother hooked on them. Most comfortable sneakers ever. I also have the Saucony Grid Aura trail-running shoe that I bought back in 2003. That's the pair that became contaminated. So off I went, to DSW Shoe Warehouse to find another pair. There, I was dismayed to realize that even Saucony has followed general sneaker trends and now has predominantly white shoes. The 2005 version of the Grid Aura had more metallic colors, and even worse - didn't have a blue model. The colors they came in were lavender/grey, yellow/grey, and pink/grey/navy. Hardly "killer" colors, and "killer" is the mentality I like to have when I put sneakers on and go for a run. Not the "flowers and roses" inspired by pastels. I was distraught. After much thought, I settled grudgingly on the pink/grey/navy pair, just because that pair was less horrifying than the other ones. The fact that the toe from top-view looked like the toes of my last pair gave me psychological comfort.
Still. This is the first pair of sneakers I've ever owned that wasn't some shade of blue. I'm very unhappy with this situation.
Posted by ink |
[Wednesday, March 23, 2005]
Frothing at the mouth.
It's hard to explain this sudden lack of motivation to write. Has my life become less angst-filled? Or have I just stopped thinking in any way besides mundane ones? After all, it's not for lack of material. My co-worker Terry's daughter has fallen unexplainably ill and has been in the ICU for a week and a half now. And my mother might have rabies. Seeing that sentence on paper makes me realize how utterly bizarre it sounds. But, I suppose it's not any more bizarre than finding a bat intruder fluttering around your bedroom in mid-March when it should have been hibernating. That's what happened to my mom last week.
She burst into my room at 1 AM, claiming there was a bat in her room. I groggily re-set my alarm clock for her and moved over to make room. We never did see the bat again, though I carefully checked behind all the curtains in the morning before I took a shower. My dad and I conjectured that perhaps my mom was losing her marbles and dreamed the whole thing.
A few days later, I ate my words with a scream, when I sat by the front door, put one sneaker on, and lifted my foot to find a small brown furry thing hiding underneath the toes of my shoes, alongside the wall. My poor ipod took the brunt of it when I hurled it across the room in panic and fled up the stairs screaming, leaving behind a discarded sneaker and my library books in a trail up the steps. My mother and I approached the small furball carefully, speculating that maybe it was a dead mouse. Meanwhile, my dad squawked at us through the phone we'd set down carelessly on the carpet. It didn't matter because I knew what he was probably squawking about anyways. Something along the lines of "Useless women!" And he was completely right. My mom and I were utterly useless. This is what happens when you have two women alone in the house with a small furry rodent. My dad had to sit helplessly by the phone as he listened to us barricade the foyer to prevent any escape route first. Then he was subjected to bouts of frequent screaming as my mother and I tried to use a broom to usher our furry friend out the front door.
The supposed mouse blew his cover right away when we first touched it with the broom and it started screaming. This was no mouse-squeak, but an eerie high pitched screaming. It sounded like a human baby. I could hear my dad yelling through the phone, which was sitting on the kitchen table by that point. "Ignore it! Let it scream! Just shove it out the door." I tried my best, I really did. All those Physiology lectures kicked in as I learned over the railing to poke at the thing.
My sympathetic nervous system has kicked in. My brain is releasing epinephrine and norepinephrine (or is it acetylcholine?) into my bloodstream, increasing my heart rate, constricting my blood vessels in the gut area, and dilating them everywhere else.
My muscles tensed up in a fight-or-flight response - and pathetically, when faced with a furry mammal smaller than the palm of my hand, my instinctive response was "flight". I squashed my reactions as best as I could, maneuvering the creature from the corner of our foyer to the middle, directly in front of the door, as my brain continued to gibber in fear. But as it skidded on its back across our newly-remodeled shiny foyer floor (re-tiled lovingly by my father), it opened its mouth to scream again, and unfurled its wings. I screamed right back at it and dropped the broom. It had a sticky film around its wings, just like in horror movies. There was no doubt about it - it was a bat. With wings. And true to my documented phobia of wings (I hyperventilate around butterflies and occasionally - manta rays), I froze up and flipped out. My mom had to push it out the door while I stood there screaming my head off. PATHETIC. I'm a 24 year old woman, and my elderly mother had to take care of this for me. I'm ashamed of myself. I poured bleach on all areas of the floor the bat had touched, while my dad yelled at me through the phone that I was going to ruin the polish on the new tiles.
I tried to make up for my lackluster performance that night by doing what I do best the next day at work. And that is - surfing the web. I found mounds of information on bats, including some disturbing facts about bats and rabies. The majority of reported rabies manifestations are from bats. This isn't because bats are bad, but because most people can't tell when they've been bitten by a bat. On the other hand, most people who've been bitten by a dog that's foaming at the mouth generally seek treatment right away. By the time rabies shows its symptoms, it's too late for the infected individual. As there is no cure for rabies, I understandably became concerned for my mother. All websites indicated that bats in a sleeping person's room are especially dangerous since it'd be hard to say if the sleeping person had contact with the bat. I told my mother she better get the post-exposure rabies shots right away. Especially since rabies has an incubation period of anywhere from 2 weeks to 7 years. She poo-poo'ed me, saying that she's a light sleeper and would've known if the bat had touched her. I still bothered her about it anxiously. After all, I'm hardly looking forward to being trapped in the house with a rabid woman.
According to literature, rabies manifests itself in humans the same way it manifests itself in animals. There are two major types - aggressive rabies and "drunk" rabies. In both cases, individuals foam at the mouth. Some individuals become aggressive, other individuals become paralyzed and lethargic, as if they're drunk. As I own the 28 Days Later DVD, I already have a good idea of how the scene will play out - crazy aggressive mother foaming at the mouth chasing me around the house. Besides, in a worst case scenario where she bites the dust, what would I say when people ask me how my mother passed away?
"She got rabies and had to be put down."
Posted by ink |
[Saturday, March 19, 2005]
Law of the Suburban Wild.
Sometimes I forget how vicious chinese mothers can be. Then I go to one karaoke party and I'm reminded.
I walked in tonight to a gathering of mothers huddled around a round kitchen table eating watermelon seeds. They all looked up as I came in. I said hello, and immediately, they started discussing whether I looked more like my mother or my father. The consensus was that I looked like my mother. This one woman then spoke up,
"I hear its better for daughters to look like their fathers. It's bad luck to look like their mother."
Typical snide remark.
This same woman then spoke up loudly and asked me, "Did you hear that my daughter Christine got married?"
I blinked. I had to dig into my memory to remember who her daughter was, especially considering that we weren't friends, she was a few years ahead of me, and also went to a different high school. Ah yes. Christine. I remembered her. She wasn't particularly smart. Or nice. She gave me a ride home once when she was 17 and I was 14, and was so resentful she didn't speak to me once through the ride.
I congratulated her on her daughter's marriage, and made as graceful of an exit as I could.
My mother told me later that this woman then asked the following questions:
"Won't your daughter Ink be old when she goes to med school?" "How many years did she take off between college graduation and applying to med school?" "Won't she be behind the other kids?" "No man's going to want to marry her when she gets out. She'll be old!" "Does she even have a boyfriend?" "Wow. She's been single for a long time!"
My poor mum had to defend all my choices. Surprisingly, I heard a lot of my own words come out of her mouth. "My daughter is a very independent woman. Marriage isn't everyone's first priority, you know. She has things under control and can take care of things. I trust her."
I felt bad that my parents have to put up with community backlash based on my choices. But at the same time, I didn't understand why it even mattered. If Christine managed to bag herself a man, then I pity the fool who married her. But how does that really affect me? And whereas I'm touched by this woman's obvious concern for my marital status, is it really any of her business that I think it'd be a waste of my education if I was to spend my life washing dishes and vacuuming like her daughter does? I don't understand why these women have to be so vicious and catty to each other. They are an immigrant community, they should be supporting each other.
My mom's still all riled up about it. She keeps bursting into my room every 10 minutes with another tirade. I'm wishing I could've at least made an effort to look a little nicer when I walked through the door today.
Posted by ink |
[Friday, March 18, 2005]
It's 5 pm on a Friday evening, and I'm still at work.
My parents are having a karaoke party tonight and I'm afraid to go home. A crowd of parents await to poke and prod at me, squeal over how much I've grown, and comment on how I've gained weight, just like a xiao piggy zhu zhu! They usually pinch my cheeks and laugh as they say that last bit. I prefer "overhealthy" to "fat". The rest of the evening will be filled with 50-some-year-old adults trying to sing popular American songs. My mom has Madonna's "Like A Virgin." This has the potential to be truly frightening.
Posted by ink |
[Thursday, March 17, 2005]
What makes an engine turnover?
This morning, my car wouldn't start. I popped the hood to take a look under it, though I have no idea why since I didn't know what anything was anyways. I stared at a bunch of... metal things. It just seemed like the appropriate thing to do at the time. I hmm'ed and ha'ed my way for a few minutes before I pulled out my cell phone to call my dad. Turns out - the call was unnecessary. My mom jump'ed the car for me. She even knew which big metal thing was the battery. I had jumper cables in my trunk, since my dad always makes sure that every car has a set of jumper cables (and that everyone in the family knows how to change a flat), but I had no idea how to use them. Within minutes, I was up and running. She closed the hoods of both cars and tossed the jumper cables into the back. I stared at her with my mouth open.
I don't think I give my mom enough credit sometimes. But that's largely because she spends most of her time nagging me to be more feminine, showing me the proper way to put on $70 Estee Lauder moisturizer (in an upwards circular motion gently), and fixing my collar. She spends the remainder of her time shopping at Ann Taylor and buying me clothes I'll never wear. These days, she's also afraid of flying, won't drive on highways, and is afraid of being home alone at night. I'm willing to be more forgiving on the last one since I'm afraid of being home alone at night too. Once in a while though, my mom shows some edges of hard steel that hint at who she used to be when she was a young girl. And during those times, I realize that maybe we're not as different as I seem to think we are.
Posted by ink |
[Wednesday, March 16, 2005]
Alone in the Dark!
I'm at work still!! No one else is here, the lab is dark, and I'm alone with the machines =(.
(cue music) Bow chikka bow wow...
I will mate with the machines and produce a cyborg child!!!! He will be the next Messiah, the Jesus of the 21st Century, born of Incredible Conception!
It really is dark here. The lab's a bit creepy when I'm here on my own. But no one's here... and I can do anything I want. Maybe I'll sit at my desk naked. It's just me and the humming machines. The janitor keeps looking over here. Very odd. Perhaps I'll wear nothing but latex gloves and do a song-and-dance for the janitor. Using a pipette-man as a microphone. Oooo... I'll do a Tiffany song!!
[Later] ...I settled for eating an orange in the lab. I think eating in the lab is probably considered more taboo than being naked. I felt a thrill of excitement run through my veins as my teeth crushed the orange pips. Yessss!! Life on the edge!
Posted by ink |
[Monday, March 14, 2005]
Swinging in the breeze.
There's a man outside my window. I work on the 5th floor. So far, all I see are his dirty workman pants and his ugly construction boots that keep kicking at my window. Ugh. He's sitting on what looks like a playground swing... Since when did window washers stop using those platforms to stand on?
Oooo.... he's young. And cute!! I'm tempted to open the blinds so I can get an unobstructed view. Should I press my chest against the window? Or would that be too obvious? Maybe I'll just suck on my pen.
I'm so much braver when there's a shatterproof barrier between me and a guy.
Posted by ink |
[Saturday, March 12, 2005]
How cute that you have a little groupie! I want one! - Meels
The undergraduate who works part-time in the lab has a crush on me. Everyone knows. He wore all his new clothes today. New jeans. New jacket. He asked me if I considered myself to be hot, as he slicked back his hair and slouched his jeans oh-so-cool. I told him I don't do hot. But that I can be a tease sometimes, does that count? Unfortunately, I'm also strictly off-limits for those under the age of 21. I'm not sure why I seem to be catnip for all younger men, but I can't ever seem to attract the properly employed older ones. I need to walk around with a sign attached to me that says, "You must be this high to get on this ride."
To his credit, he gave it his best shot.
me: "Stop hitting on me." him: "I'm not. I was just kidding around with you." "So you don't think I'm hot? Jerk." "No, I didn't mean that." "So you do think I'm hot now? What do I look like to you, Mrs. Robinson?"
It's almost too easy.
You have no alternative.
On the flip-side, the resurrection of Y100 has brought me back to writing. For those not local to the area, Y100 is Philadephia's alternative/modern rock station. I've been listening to it since I was in high school. When I leave Philadephia, I don't miss my parents, I don't miss cheesesteaks. I miss Y100. In fact, the existence of the radio station was a factor for my future medical school of choice. If I stayed in Philadelphia, I could study to good music. Other factors influencing medical school are: availability of good haircuts (I have a favorite stylist in Boston, but not in Philadelphia), and availability of men (I'm not "looking" right now, but I'm willing to bet that in 4 years, I will be). Luckily, the two schools I'm choosing between - Jefferson (Philadelphia, PA) and Boston University (Boston, MA) are pretty similar in reputation, so I get to agonize over the tiny things in excruciating detail in order to tip the scales in favor of one school or another. I've always been good at driving myself batty with the details.
A few weeks ago, I turned on the radio on the way to work, flipped it to Y100, and heard.... Beyonce. I was puzzled. Y100 doesn't play Beyonce. I waited it out for half an hour until I heard the omnipresent electronic radio-voice announce, "Welcome, to the NEW Y100, hiphop and R&B." I was stunned. After 12 years, the radio station I loved had suddenly disappeared overnight, leaving me with nothing. Y100 is, or was, the only alternative/rock station in the Philadelphia area. I couldn't believe it. A boy had rejected me a few days before, and I was unfazed by it. But somehow, the news of Y100 closing down made me mope for weeks. Weeks! And of course, I was painfully reminded of its missing presence twice a day during the commute, when I'd push on preset 4 out of habit, and hear Beyonce. Quite honestly, Y100 had slid downhill since my high school days. It played too many of the same songs over and over, but I didn't care. I hung on to it partly out of nostalgia, and partly because there were no other stations within range that I liked. However, nostalgia came back full force when I tuned into the online incarnation of Y100.
Not only had a protest been arranged in front of the art museum, but within 24 hours of the station flipping formats, a grass roots movement had started. The station went off the air on February 24. By February 27, more than 30,000 signatures had been collected on the petition. An online streaming version of Y100 also popped up (called Y100Rocks), and immediately became the ninth most-listened-to alternative station in the world. The y100rocks.com website posted personal emails from bands like Good Charlotte, Taking Back Sunday, DMB, etc. who showed support and regret that Y100 was gone. The website's slogan is, appropriately, "You have no alternative". And they meant it quite literally. These days, I tune in to Y100Rocks at work instead through the internet, and surprisingly - I think I might like Y100Rocks better than old radio-Y100. They have more free reign than they did when they were broadcasted, and the current Y100Rocks reminds me of the old Y100 of my high school days. They play more unknown bands, more local bands, more new music, and less of the chart-topping singles. Today alone, I heard more Wilco, Death Cab For Cutie, Audioslave than I'd heard in years. There was not one instance of Greenday's Boulevard of Broken Dreams, which was a relief. Nothing kills a good song like radio. Even better, the internet radio format shows me the song name, band name, and album name, so I never have to google the lyrics just to find out what I'm listening to.
For a little while, I didn't know what to do without music. Like a boat without an anchor. Every accumulating day of "mix" music, or ez-listening, sent me further and further into the doldrums. With the resurgence of Y100Rocks, I'm not sure if I want to ever go back to the radio format again. There really is, to me, no alternative. Best of all, now that they're an online radio station, I can take them with me wherever I go to med school.
big change, the choices we make
in life, gut instincts, on-the-whim
hairpin turns, the search for truth, the desire to be happy, the journey to finding out what
makes us happy.
being young and clueless, hoping
that we're not blindly leading ourselves to our own demise with every
tentative step we take, the pitfalls of dating, the trials
and travails of being a young woman in the post-feminist era.