Saturday, November 8, 2008

Good Vibrations

I can barely swim and given my druthers I'd just as soon not try. I hardly went to the beach when I was growing up, and white kids were few and far between at my schools.

Yet, the sound of the Beach Boys embodies an era for me. Their music takes me back to a time when they made me feel like I was running around on the beach and as though our halls at Foshay Junior High were inhabited by blondes who looked like they spent the day by the ocean and then spent the evening go-go dancing at the Whiskey in Hollywood.

In reality, we were all just a bunch of little kids, letting the ways of the world soak into us. In the seventh grade we were really, really little - half-formed and callow, emerging from elementary school and blinking our eyes trying to get used to the sun. The ninth graders - they looked like grownups to us!

Jay Takashima had the hots for one of them. We didn't know her name. But every time he saw her, fireworks went off in his head and he couldn't stop talking about how "fine" she was. We always knew when he had managed to catch a glimpse of her because on his face would be a wide grin and immediately he'd cough up the details to us. Summer drew near and our pathetic school yearbook came out. We eagerly thumbed through it looking for her picture so we could identify the girl who drove him nuts. We quickly scanned the pages and then all of a sudden, there she was.

Janice Yates. Janice Yates??? Hey, wait a minute, the hottie was Asian and how could her name be Janice Yates?

The yearbook printers must have switched her name with someone else, but who? It wasn't apparent so even though it made little sense, we referred to her as Janice.

Then one day we found out Masayo Mori was her real name. The yearbook had indeed made a mistake. And on top of that, she was the sister of one of our classmates, Hironobu!

"She's your sister???" Jay exclaimed. That took the air out of Jay's balloon when he found that out. Funny thing, I also found out not too long ago that Masayo is my friend Misa's sister in law. I wonder if Jay even remembers any of this.

When I was a little twerp in elementary school, the 6th graders looked grown up to me. When I was in the 6th grade, my classmates didn't look grown up at all but the younger grades sure looked like a bunch of little kids. The 6th graders I remembered when I was in the 1st or 2nd grade sure looked older than the 6th graders around me when I was one of them.

Then I mentioned how the 9th graders looked like grown ups when I was a 7th grader. Same thing as elementary school, though, when I got to the 9th grade I didn't think we looked at all like grown ups.

That carried on into high school, then college, and even into the working world. Maybe it is psychological. I look at myself in the mirror and never feel I am as old as I really am, but yet those younger than me look really young and those that are older than me look really old. Keiro residents for example - they look positively ancient (well they are, I suppose). But me, I am stuck in limbo somewhere in a nebulous age. When I get to the Keiro age, how will I look at myself?

Without a mirror, how would we perceive our age? By the way we felt? It's like they say, you are only as old as you feel. I've got my share of aches and pains but I've been pretty lucky so far. I sure don't feel old. And I don't think I act old, either. I act much more immature than I am, lol. As far as I am concerned, often I feel like I'm still living in that beach world I wrote about at the beginning of this entry. Music - the key to eternal youth.

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