A Bit Part in Somebody Else’s Movie

PrintRick was a jock and Karyn was a cheerleader and I was a freak. That’s how my memory tells the story, but I am only certain about the third statement. It was high school and our tribes did not typically mingle, but somehow Karyn and I became friends. She was in love with Rick, hung up on him, big time. I don’t recall ever talking to him, so don’t know what he thought about her, or anything else.

My friendship with Karyn was sorely tested when she invited me over to hang out, one summer day, at the motel that her family owned or maybe worked at. I was bored and ignored for what felt like eternity, because Rick just happened to show up. In fact – as I realized, to my annoyance – I was there to dupe the parents. Karyn wasn’t allowed to date, or see Rick alone. She invited me over so she could see Rick without repercussions.

By the time we all graduated, I no longer saw Karyn much. I later heard, third hand, that Rick got Karyn pregnant, and broke up with her. I have no idea what their truth was, because I never crossed paths with either of them; nonetheless I filed them in categories: Karyn was ill-used, Rick was cold-hearted. The less one knows, the easier it is to hold a strong opinion…

Over the years, I forgot about Rick, Karyn. Completely. (Although I probably used that second-hand experience as I shaped my views about men, and women, and love.)

Recently – and as out of the blue as things get – I was contacted by Rick. He happened upon mention of me in a college alumni magazine, and from that wound his way to this blog, where he left me a note:

are you the one and very same Sue Perry that was sitting with Karyn *** on a small patch of grass in front of the S* Motel at the edge of the El Camino Real circa 1967-68, in the very middle of a very beautiful summer day while a song by the Byrds was playing on the radio?  This one little scene has stuck in my memory for all of this time (half of a century?!?!).

The instant I saw the names, my own memories rushed back. For me, Rick’s lyrical memory changes my perspective on so many things. First off, I was wrong about Rick (and probably Karyn, too): you don’t remember somebody for 50 years if you didn’t care about them. Then, too, I see I was a bit player in one of their key scenes. A day that gave me brief annoyance hit one of them with such poignancy that it stayed on the top of the memory heap for decades.

Which gets me thinking about all the people around me, living their lives in grazing intersection to mine. About all the pivotal moments that we share without knowing it.

And finally, all this reminds me how glad I am that the internet exists to connect us in ways that would otherwise never happen.

(The WP Daily Prompt asked about music when we were growing up.)

Picking at the Bedspread

Today’s Daily Prompt asked what bores me…

I hate knowing what happens next. I used to evaluate screenplays for movie studios, and at a rate of 10 per week, it got so that no plot twist could surprise me. That was a long time ago, but even now, gratitude wells up whenever a book or movie surprises me, even if I otherwise loathe the piece. One reason I loved the Harry Potter series was that in all those thousands of pages and hundreds of plot turns, there were only a scant few that I saw coming.

Curiously, although I prefer surprises and novelty, I have spent most of my life as a control freak. (Working on it! Working on it!) Perhaps as my aging memory worsens I will be able to have it all:  exert control, forget I exerted control, enjoy surprise at the events I caused to unfold.

Am I kidding? Control freaks never unfold events. Control freaks have only an illusion of control.

The predictable bores me, and I detest being bored. Being bored. Saying it that way suggests that an outside force imposes the boredom. In fact, whether I get bored or not depends on me. To cop a phrase from a recent movie trailer, boredom is a choice. If I’m bored, I should be able to redirect my attention or reconstruct my attitude and eliminate the boredom.

Which all sounds fine in theory. Routine repetition is the deal-breaker.

Typically I avoid that kind of boredom by tuning out and looking inward. This has some good consequences. For example, I tune out the mind-numbing repetition of brushing my teeth – day after frigging day – and while brushing my teeth I have excellent writing ideas. Moral of that story:  if your writing stalls out, brush your teeth.

I tune out while driving. I’ve lived and worked in the same places for several years so I long ago exhausted all the new ways to commute.  But the space-out can be too complete.  On my way to work and suddenly I come to and I don’t recognize where I am.  The adrenaline jolt certainly fights boredom, but the backtracking and rewinding do not start my day well.

I still remember the first time I experienced boredom. I was a kid, it was the dregs of summer, my friends were elsewhere. I lay on the floor of my room, picking at the bedspread, overwhelmed by there being absolutely nothing I felt like doing.  I don’t remember all that much about my childhood but that moment is indelible.

Do you remember the first time you were bored?