Serendippy / 24 April 2001

I feel like I’ve been carefully positioned, that my development has been appropriately synched up with my surroundings. Note the passive voice. A brief history:

Single Digits. Colorado being a nice assortment of terrain: mountains, forests, city, suburbia, parks. Camping. Living in the city, in a tiny apartment. Living in the now-infamous Littleton, in a long, sprawling house, feat. the Pit, a carpeted, rectangular depression in the living room. All four seasons, embedded there at birth. A foundation of options.

Blossoming With Hair! Northern California, attending high school with beautiful, old-money girls. The evenings are mild. The brand of independent thought just now taking shape in the Bay Area. Barely underground art just now surfacing so us mainstream kids can get to it. Indie films just now making their way to the local theaters, thanks to the financial success of sex, lies, and videotape in 1989. We get our learnin’ with Blue Velvet and The Cook, The Thief and Do the Right Thing and Barton Fink and Boyz N the Hood and Betty Blue. There are the nervous jaunts into the city for rock shows: Bob Mould opening up for the Pixies at the Warfield, the Pixies and Primus opening up for Jane’s Addiction at the Civic Center, when Bill Graham was still alive. I put a Negativland sticker that says CAR BOMB on my mother’s car. We make our own movies and start our own bands, with plenty of mixed results.

BMOC. Trompe le Monde and Nevermind both come out just as I begin college in Los Angeles, making for a nice segue. Pavement opens up for Sonic Youth at the dust-clogged Castaic Lake Amphitheatre, with Kurt Cobain playing one song in between. Fugazi for five bucks at the Palladium, chastizing the moshers. A presidential election that the kids get excited about. The Northridge earthquake, which I think is the Big One. The Rodney King riots. The fires that leave the sky dull orange and rain ash down upon the campus. The people on every corner wanting me to be in a test audience for something god-awful (Exit to Eden, The Good Son, Radio Flyer, Gladiator [1992]). And at the tail end of my stint: OJ Simpson. Heat and politics and freeways and cheap entertainment.The Kelly Girl. A degree in English, some familiarity with the Macintosh. Throughout the history of humankind, this has meant a big giant finger pointing right at the plastic display case of applications at McDonald’s, and deservedly so. Unless, unless, you just happen to live in San Francisco in 1995.

Tha Eastsidaz. I sell my tech stock and flee California just as they run out of power and fire everybody. I quit my new job in Philadelphia just before they fire everybody. I end up in Maine through a series of passive-voice events, and it’s quiet, and there are all four seasons, and there’s not a whole lot to do except play with Alexis and wander around and write and write. I’m looking down the barrel of thirty. Imagine how bad it would’ve been if I’d ever made an actual decision.

Joshua Green Allen

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