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Sunday, June 13, 2004

Today, we talk about Leticia’s youthful role models and the effect they have on her as an adult. Bring popcorn.

Back in Hicksburg, our favorite backwoods Homophobes-R-Us factory town, I was raised by my peers to be a good little girl who talked about good little girl things. By way of the Internet I learned naughty things, such as how the male body operates and what to do about my little visitor, but for the most part I was squeaky clean. So, when everything changed and we moved up to Poseidontown, where the hippies roam freely without shirts and the college students drink to excess and back, it was quite a culture shock. Back then I thought it was the best thing that ever happened to me, but now I’m not quite so lenient.

I met my role models, the bad kids, who were infinitely nicer to me than the good kids back in Hicksburg. They taught me lots of things, like how to hold a protest without pissing off riot cops, or how to bicycle-chain a line of people as a means of obstruction. (I did not get to participate in these events; it was a slow year for activism in Hippie-land.) They drank and they smoked and they did lots of other dumb things, but they were still my friends and I figured DARE had pretty well innoculated me against such peer pressure. Besides, I didn’t have anywhere else to go...

Then, of course, they all moved on to greener pastures and I was stuck in high school. I lamented this, of course, but I knew that they would become bitter and cyncial nine-to-fivers and I still had years to go of building chemical models and solving complex equations inbetween games of Mega Man. So just now I saw them all again at a very heartfelt party, and this is what I learned:

Substance abuse does not go away with maturity. Seriously folks, do not take this stuff as a teenager. Drinking or smoking is a dumb fucking idea no matter what age you are, but as a teenager the damage is most permanent, and the addiction is most unshakable. I don’t think I have a single friend who hasn’t tried the Bad Stuff and NONE of them have come away from it feeling more mature or like they’ve escaped from their problems. As I plan to explain to my kids when I’m a mother, pot makes you forget about your problems for about three hours, at which point you have even more (not to mention three wasted hours).

So, all of them were drinking various substances and smoking various substances, harder than I had ever known them to do as Those Immature Teenagers, and they offered me some and I didn’t have the guts to say, "I don’t drink beer, it makes my boobs shrivel up and fall off." I did, however, not drink a sip, which is my plan for life, as the combination of Leticia and alcohol is certain to react in the form of one doped-out loser. (I’m serious; I have anxiety AND I’m a space case, if I drank even a pint of alcohol I would never be able to stop and the next thing I would know I would be in a room full of crying old men and saying, "But I’m not an alco--WAAAAH!")

So, not only were they no longer possessing the rebellious vigor which drove them to party in the Bad Parts of Town in the first place, they seemed downright bitter. I know I’m not one to talk, Ms. There’s No Hope for Humanity So As Long As Star Wars Is Not Paying for my College Education, but there was just no hope left in the room after the first few swigs of beer. When discussion turned to smoking pot I turned tail and ran.

(No, I called my mom, who swung by promptly in her Mom-o-van. Engage!)

Moreover, though... I’m shy. There was a girl there who was the loveliest, most outgoing girl I had ever met, but she seemed very out-of-touch with reality (failing to balance properly or to make eye contact), which was explained by her burning red cheeks. That’s right, she looked drunk even before the party started, and that didn’t stop her from being hilarious and sweet to everybody who was there; but I know that, if I were like her and I had to get my social cajones from the happy sauce, I would never get myself out of it. And then, if I did manage to quit drinking, I would be even less outgoing than I started and I would have to learn how to be outgoing all over again.

Also, if I got drunk, I would be responsible for everything I did. What if I, as the familiar story goes, woke up in bed with some guy I don’t know? What if I let everybody grope my breasts and the next day, I’m yesterday’s news as far as my dating pool is concerned? What if I make somebody angry or tell a big secret or find the courage to take my clothes off in public but in the WRONG SITUATION, and I have to face the consequences the next day, with a hangover? I do not understand the appeal of drinking something that makes you act like an idiot, thank you very much.

So I just sit at home, stare at the ceiling and wonder what happened to my youthful role models. They went off and got drunk is what happened. It doesn’t make me all that angry; they’re mature about it and they know it’s their fault they did it, and it doesn’t stop them at all from being brilliant, wonderful people.. but I’d LIKE to find some new friends that don’t need liquid courage to have a party, and that means I’m going to take up the needle and thread and learn to fucking KNIT like all the cool kids are doing.

I’ll make a pretty scarf and then I’ll be popular. That’s it.
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