The Year of Living Bewilderdly

It’s no exaggeration to say that I’d rather relive my high school years than be age 20 again.

The host of a podcast I like to listen to often asks his guests: “If you could go back in time and visit your 20 year old self, what would you tell yourself?” (He clearly doesn’t watch enough Doctor Who to know why that is a bad freaking idea.) In my case, I wouldn’t tell 20 year old me anything. I’d just watch him and make sure I’m not still doing any of the things he was doing.

During age 20 I went to England and, well, let’s just say, fell into obsession with the wrong kind of woman (She Who Must Not Be Named). That would have been bad enough except that she didn’t say “piss off” but rather seemed to enjoy the attention (in the same way a fisherman enjoys the attention the fish pays to the hook). The results were worthy of a novel, but first there was alcohol involved.

Age 20 was when my forehead “visited” a rock and the year when I did my heaviest drinking. (Please note, I was not yet technically of legal drinking age although, under a quirk of Kansas law, I had been when I was in high school.) It was also, fortunately, the year I learned to moderate my drinking.

What I remember most about age 20 was a strange malaise. I was neither a teenager nor was I fully an adult. It was all a very strange time. My grades dropped and I went on pretty impressive money wasting binges involving billiards and arcade games. (For the record, I’m the only person in existence who could ever waste a lot of money playing too much pool and never actually improve my skills. And you all thought I didn’t have any talent.)

As I’ve written about before, age 20 ended on a Tuesday with a police frisking. In an odd way, that frisking snapped me out of the malaise. I was still on the hook at strange times for increasingly strange encounters with She Who Must Not Be Named –she once tried to convince me to help her with “a small murder” but I knew it was the alcohol talking and, luckily, I’d already learned to moderate my own consumption–but I never had that sense of malaise and bewilderment again (well at least not until I fell into obsession again, and then that third time but those are a much longer post).

I do wonder, though, what 20 year old me would have done about the “small murder”.

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  1. Pingback: The Blather and the Tears | Mere Blather

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