Sometimes you just want to sit inside on a cold November day drinking coffee, listening to Modest Mouse, and thinking about all the shit from high school that seemed so important once but is gone now. And you want that place you're sitting to be the home you grew up in with Thanksgiving around the corner, except the last time you were in that childhood home was three years ago. And that was the weekend when you had to tear down the posters, throw out the stuffed animals, and disassemble the life in the basement you had created to make high school bearable. And by that time you were already a junior in college and had stopped speaking to 75% of the people who had shared that basement with you.
And really, when you think about it, you had two Modest Mouse CDs in high school but never listened to them. It wasn't until you were a freshman in college that Good News for People Who Love Bad News came out and reminded you of the band. That's when you rediscovered those CDs, courtesy a new friend looking through your CD binder. That's when you really, really liked the song "Float On." It wasn't until the next year, after hearing it play in bars in England five times a night while your 49 new best friends drunkenly sang along that you decided it was a ridiculous album and that you were in for "the old stuff" and you'd just pretend you knew Isaac Brock was an asshole all along even though it really took an awful concert on your 20th birthday to convince you. And after all, don't real purists think Modest Mouse actually sold out when they released the Moon & Antarctica which is your (new) favorite album?
You bought We Were Dead before the Ship Even Sank but never really told anyone about it. By that point in your life all of your friends were listening to the animal collective that didn't have room for mice, regardless of ego ( the Mountain Goats, the bird & the bee, deerhoof, et al). Hell, you skipped that actual Animal Collective show in Minneapolis to partake in other pleasures carnal. It wasn't until Shortbus that you started listening to the band, despite years of Amazon insisting you'd love them. You're still not sure about that Wilco recommendation, and you did skip their two Duluth concerts.
Musical diversions aside, you are not at home. Home is sold and gone. You are in St. Paul in an apartment that has relics of home. The end table that lived upstairs until the renovation in 1996 and then went to college with your sister in 1999. All of the Jeff Noon books, Alice in Wonderland relics, and more that lived on the shelves in your sister's unoccupied room for so long. Last night you slept in a room with the computer desk you built for your sister in Laramie, Wyoming in 2004. The framed print of quotes from her favorite book you made in 2003 was there too, from a time when you really had no idea what you were doing. The photographs from your freshman year photography class are here too. There are also posters from your favorite animes and webcomics, but these aren't yours. They really don't even have anything to do with you. This is the apartment your sister now shares with her boyfriend. The boyfriend that's in the other room discussing a cardgame he's designing over the phone. On the wall there's an embroidered dragon your sister worked on for five Christmases, finally finished. You, however, never seem to complete such long term projects.
There are friends from high school living in this new city now that you'll never call. There are friends from college you're trying to get in touch with. They will probably get back to you. Your life with them is over however, and they might too go the way of the high school friends. It's beginning already. Despite being unemployed in Chicago, you still never see your best friend from college who lives one train stop away. You also rarely see the friend you ditched Animal Collective for and crashed a van after. Like you've said before, you create the meaning.
It is time to push back, but face it, you will never be cool enough to listen to the Mountain Goats. And the coffee is gone. And you just can't stop starting sentences with conjunctions or writing in the
third person. Second person. You've been gone from school too long.
(And you sat there…)