Monday, July 25, 2011

Nowhere Man

Jenny,
I am really glad I got to know you this year. I hope you don’t have bad dreams about this class. I’ll see you next year, SENIOR. Have a great summer.
Your friend, Brandon


Brandon,
I’m glad we got to know each other that year, too! I am less glad that I totally don’t remember who you are or what the class was. It’s possible that you were one of two people whose names I don’t remember: the meek sophomore in my physics class who dressed like a skater, spoke like a poet and blushed like a schoolgirl, or the big blonde football player who sat behind me in AP U.S. History and had legs so long I could see his feet under my chair. I’m not sure either one of those guys was even named Brandon, but for some reason they both popped into my head with equal vividness when I read the name Brandon.
I didn’t have bad dreams about either physics or AP U.S. History, but OH MAN did I have a whopper of a nightmare once about my philosophy class freshman year of college! We had just watched the animated movie version of ‘The Allegory of the Cave,’ in which slaves are kept chained in a cave while shadows are projected on the wall in front of them. It had some existential theme, relating to the perception of reality or the comfort of perception, or something esoteric like that. Anyway, that gave me this horrible nightmare about being chained in the philosophy classroom with a knife to my throat, and whenever I moved, an innocent person died. Other than the bit about the chains, there was really no connection to the movie. And I’d actually seen it before, during the Existentialism unit in 10th grade honors English. We had to read a lot of Camus and Kafka and Sartre and basically lose sleep at night thinking about the pointlessness of existence and meaningless of life. I’m happy to say that the panicky fear I felt during that unit has disappeared entirely, and not just because the next unit was the Russian literature unit and I was too busy reading Anna Karenina to wonder why I was on the planet. It made me crave pirogis, like all the time. These days, I'm quite happy with life and less susceptible to existential crises.
Your capitalization of SENIOR made me feel important and fun.
Your friend Jen
P.S. Your comma placement after "your friend" implies, stylistically, that you were my only friend. I grew up to become a magazine editor, so I felt obligated to point that out.

1 comment:

Mira said...

I remember one of those Brandons - Brandon Long Legs. Brandon Meek didn't make a lasting impression on me either.