Lost Boys

It’s how I meditate.

Doing donuts in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church on a blue boys’ Schwinn Collegiate, circa 1979. White handlebar streamers splay out beside me when I coast. Ubiquitous Diet Coke in the basket (it’s medicinal) and a pocket full of business cards, just in case.

It’s a cuticle moon out tonight. Just a sliver. A paring from one of Nut’s toenails, glued onto a circle cut from black construction paper. A thousand stars hang somewhere in the balance. They’re made of Mylar and metallic cardboard and tacked up on the ceiling of a high school gym.

Graduation tonight. Friday night lights bathe Barry Field in afterhours daylight. The whole town throngs the green in a mad crush, anxious to congratulate those newly christened into The Adult World. Infants complain, momentarily forgotten in their Greco carriers, for the love of their (much) older siblings. Five hundred digital cameras flash, making strobe light shadows of mortarboards and bouquets.

I make lazy circles in the parking lot, occassionally sipping at the soda, chewing bubblegum with imperative.

A band of boys approaches me. One has a skateboard. Two have black fedoras. The youngest hangs back, a little shy. Too young to be a part of the festivities, and too cool even if they were old enough, they’re doing what kids in small towns do – hanging out, talking about how there’s nothing to do.

Are you an Adult? They ask me.

I laugh.

I sigh.

I smirk.

In name only.

It’s no secret I have a Wendy complex. It’s why I was in a band. I haven’t an iota of maternal instinct but for this – bands of boys of different sizes and shapes, too smart for their own good, too interesting to be from here, full of ideas and energy and made of slugs and snails and rock music and skateboards. Ragamuffins. Misfits. Talking of how there’s nothing to do.

There’s never anything to do.

Sixteen with an amplified dream in a town of mediocre minds . . .

I wrote songs for them. I met them all across this country and Canada when we were on tour. They were smart and sweet and interesting and they brought me cool Diet Cokes after shows and sat with me when I was ill. They adopted me as their Wendy and I was honored to have the post.

There was nothing lascivious about it. I loved them like the little brothers I never had. I felt like one of them, only slightly different. I still feel that way.

You lovable little misfits in your black fedoras – don’t you know why you’re special?

You’re special because you haven’t yet been confronted with the truth that the world does not run on our time. It sure as hell doesn’t run on mine, and that’s why I’m here. I can’t make adulthood fit.

There are certain critical things adults are supposed to be able to do – things I just can’t do. Sometimes I feel like an idiot savant. Most of the time, I feel twelve. A smart, savvy twelve, but twelve nonetheless.

Adults make things so bloody complicated. The irony is that they complicate things by acting like children. Not smart children, not savvy children – just children. I don’t think like that. My rules are simple. They’re Huck Finn rules, Lord of the Flies rules. Goonies rules. In my reality, all the loot in the world is available to a band of clever kids with encyclopedic brains and skateboards.

Maybe I give them too much credit, but I don’t think so. I was one of them.

Yes, I was globally travelled by the time I could walk, and yes, I first swam in the Persian Gulf and sat at the knees of kings and generals. All that happened, and then I moved to Savanna, Oklahoma. And all at once, I was the misfit. I was the smart, artsy, weird kid who just didn’t fit in.

My friends and I made our own videos to songs by U2 and The Cure. We made art. We dressed up like Robert Smith and Siouxsie Sioux and went to WalMart to scare the normal people. We scrawled Rocky Horror quotes in cheap red lipstick on the windows of each others’ cars. We cruised “The Sonic” and complained about how there was nothing to do.

For two years, I was you – the eccentric oddball kid looking in on everyone else’s John Cougar Mellencamp lives. Despising the football team because they got all the attention and all the money, while we had to scrape together a drama club from the remnants of someone’s old Oxford Abridged Shakespeare.

I was you, Kid. I am you. I’m still looking in, but now it’s at people with 9 to 5 jobs, careers, mortgages, marriages, 401ks – things I don’t understand and don’t feel comfortable contemplating. Instead of doing those things, I’m riding my bike with the streamers on the handlebars to the local hangout to play Ms. PacMan. I’m living in my parents’ house making art. I’m playing guitar along with my AC/DC records. Adulthood sits ill on me. I’ve always been thirty; I’ve always been twelve. And I think I’ll be sixty and still doing donuts in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church, talking music with the under-fifteen crowd. Does that make me strange? Does that make me Michael Jackson? Does that make me sick?

Probably, in the eyes of the Adult World.

Perhaps it’s not about Adult/Child. Perhaps it’s about Us/Them. I’ve never been one of Them, and I’ll never be one of Them. It’s why I’m here. I tried and failed at being one of Them. I tried so hard, it made me sick.

So I’m stuck with Us. What am I to do about that?

Lost Boys


San Francisco, United States

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