The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Obscure Relations

Tonight I went to the project graduation fundraiser dance. I only went to support project graduation, and didn't expect to have any fun at all. I started out by playing solitaire, then wrote in my journal for a bit. I expected to pay five dollars and be bored, but I didn't expect to pay five dollars and be auditorially assaulted to a degree that violated Amnesty International's standards of humanity. I expected rap music, but I didn't expect terrible, awful, horrible, unbelievably bad bottom-of-the-barrel rap music. I tried to ignore it, but when one of the rappers said "rizzeal" I had to look up, shake my head in disbelief, and pause for a moment to observe the death of common sensibility in society today.

However.

The experience was not entirely wasted. After sitting at one of the tables by myself for about an hour, a couple of guys actually came up to talk to me. One of them was a guy who goes to my church, and I'm sure he felt obligated to have a bit of small talk with me and be nice. The other was a guy I've gone to school with since kindergarten, but haven't really spoken to in years. Since we started high school, he's grown to have a reputation as a partier and an arrogant jerk, but I've taken it with a grain of salt. I'm sure he exudes his fair share of arrogance, but there's more to the boy. He's a bloody brilliant artist, and somewhere in the past 13 years I've seen something in him that other people don't always see. I had therefore held out hope for him, and when he talked with me tonight he didn't disappoint. We talked for half an hour about High School, the popular people, the future, ideas, art, beauty, society, and generally about the stuff that was on our minds as graduating seniors. I learned that he's going out with a girl who was homeschooled, and is part of the same community as many of my good friends. It was a great conversation, and almost cathartic in a way; it gave me a little validation that, as shallow as this sounds, one of the 'popular guys' was taking time to have a real conversation with me, a self-proclaimed freak-and-geek. It was more than that, though. While we talked about beauty, he said "you're probably more beautiful than any of those girls out there (gesturing to the dance floor) because you're so down to earth, you're so real". I have to admit, it made me feel good to be acknowledged in that way by someone who I'd thought would never really see me for who I was. He gave me a few other compliments throughout our talk, mostly about how different I was from the girls in the party scene, and how cool it was that I wasn't shallow. We learned that we both try to do the same things in our creations--symbolically convey a personal idea to others. He does it with his art, and I with my writing. I think it was just a pleasant and new surprise to him that there are people out there concerned with ideas and change, and not just with beer and grinding.

It's odd how these things happen when you least expect them to. I was hoping that something like this would happen at Prom; that I would receive some kind of recognition or validation from someone in my class who I'd never imagined would give me a second look. When that didn't happen, I felt like I'd failed high school; not the classes, but the real mission. I felt like I'd failed to make an impact, to connect with anyone, or to support the community I was inexorably a part of. Talking with my classmate tonight let me know that I mattered in high school, as strange or shallow as that sounds, and I'm left with a rather pleasant aftertaste. Furthermore, he squelched my self-doubts about being a "Prom loser"--he said that he had the limo, the dinner, and everything, and he still hated it. That gave me a reminder that I desperately needed: we're all more similar than we are different, and half the time we're probably all thinking close to the same thing, especially when it comes to self-esteem.

I just watched an MTV news documentary on gay marriage, and I still don't know where I stand on the issue.

Today I read in last year's diary an ironic passage, concerning that-one-guy. To paraphrase, it basically speculated as to whether or not he would still care about me and want to be my friend if I changed into a different person. Michael always said he would love me no matter how I changed. I suppose that makes me the hypocrite here.

But I never stopped loving him.

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