Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Reluctant Adventurer

Dear Young Jenn on the 513 Bus:

I'm still not convinced that you really wanted to be going to Everett Friday afternoon. Maybe you didn't have anything better to do, or maybe your boyfriend just convinced you to go. You put on a good show of nonchalant rebellious independence, but your anxiety became palpable as the bus went north.

I know your name is Jenn because your BoyFriend's "friend" with the red plastic sunglasses called you that. I noticed, because it's my name too. The three of you boarded the 513 at the last downtown Seattle stop. The guys strutted carelessly down the aisle, and you followed them to the last seats available, in the articulated section of the bus. I was the "old" woman with red and brown hair curled up in the next window seat. Observing the three of you turned out to be much more interesting than the view of clogged south-bound I5 traffic.

The inner diva noticed your shoes first. Shallow of me, I know. But if your tattered Van's slip-ons survived this weekend in the rain, you're lucky. My second observation pondered the maximum number of piercings one lip could tolerate without falling off. I think your four pushed the envelope. Not to mention the additional decor in your eyebrows and nose. Unmistakably the statement of mutiny for your generation. But I have to say that the tight black jeans with a large hole in the upper-thigh were just plain ugly. I assume they were also a statement. You gave yourself away though, with your hair and makeup. The short dark curly hair style is just too cute, and your eye makeup, while a bit on the goth side, is nicely done. In spite of yourself, you care how you look. I do hope you had a coat in your grungy draw-string bag - your flowered sweatshirt isn't going to keep you very warm.

Maybe your BF had your coat in his backpack. His long tweed blazer wasn't much better than your sweatshirt. Although the blue bandanna tied around his forehead was a nice touch. I gave up counting his piercings. Red Plastic Sunglasses Guy (RSG) at least had a plaid wool shirt. Not much good in the rain though.

It was simply delightful of your BF to turn up his music to share with the whole bus. I, for one, always appreciate the opportunity to hear some alternative tunes. I'm definitely a minority that way though. And, if you get a chance, tell RSG he's never going to make it on American Idol. I think he and BF did succeed in disconcerting all the commuters, but I gotta tell you - never underestimate the ability of your average suburban adult to simply ignore the unconventional or uncomfortable. Ostrich-ism is their favorite coping skill. You probably got that from your parents too. But that's why no one answered when your BF polled random passengers asking if there was a bus from Everett to Points North (PN).

You sat quietly while BF and RSG debated how you all were going to get to your destination. It wasn't actually clear to me if they had anything more than a vague idea of a destination. But RSG did seem to think that if you could get to PN, he knew some people that might let you crash at their pad. If that didn't work out, they planned to acquire a tent.

While their conversation continued regarding wild partying that they'd done together, and apparent subsequent court appearances, you dug around in the backpack and came up with a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew, some yogurt pretzels, and tortilla chips. The sugar will probably carry you for a bit, but eventually you're going to need some protein. From similar such road trips when I was in your age group, I can recommend beef jerky, trail mix, string cheese, and cranberry juice. I was glad to hear that your BF has food stamps that can be used at 7-11 should you need more food or beer. Good luck with the beer part, as none of you look even close to being legal to buy alcohol. Or cigarettes for that matter. Cigarettes probably aren't going to be an issue, as BF and RSG were both rolling their own on the bus.

I could tell you were embarrassed when RSG started rummaging through your bag. As I suspected, you care enough about yourself to want essentials. He hauled out some soap, your hair spray, your sequined makeup bag, and another pair of jeans. I can only hope you had shoes and a coat that he didn't get to. Let me tell you though, sister, that any BF worth keeping wouldn't let their friends publicly paw through your personal stuff!

As the bus pulled into Everett, your BF was afraid you'd missed your stop. I told him you still had a ways to go until the main station. You turned to me with relief when I spoke - "Do you know if there's a bus to....."? you implored. But you couldn't finish the question, because you didn't know where you were going.

The last I saw of you was at Everett Station, reluctantly following the guys leap-frogging over benches in the direction of the PN bus bay.

Look out for yourself, young Jenn. And enjoy your freedom.


Older (and hopefully wiser) Jenn


Tracey said...

I hope young Jenn receives your letter in the spirit you cyber-sent it. Godspeed.

(Love you and your blog, wanna be best friends?)

Anonymous said...

Fabulous Jenn!!!

Janet S

Bosticksbyk said...

I hope young Jenn receives your letter in the spirit you cyber-sent it. Godspeed. (Love you and your blog, wanna be best friends?)

Jenn and the City

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