Profound graffiti spotted on Market Street.
(San Francisco, CA)
he taught me how to ride a bike for
the first time. I was nervous from the
understanding that I was too old to
try to learn how to do this now, but he
was patient. There were children at
the playground who stared at us as I
gripped the handlebars too tightly. His
hands were the training wheels and
when they fell away all I could think
about was making it to the wide span
of his arms as he stood waiting for
me to peddle back to him. It took a
bruising to both knees and an elbow
to learn that he would wait for me no
matter what kind of shape I was in
when I returned. This is how I love
your son: in bicycles, in long stretches
of summer heat, in the drive back to
his house where we take turns studying
each other’s knees scrupulously under
the soft light of a setting sun. The first
cry belongs to the cicadas. The second
is entirely our own.
Get stuck. Stay in one place your whole life. Always order vanilla even though the menu is four pages long. Become the type of person who sends back lattes. Save up your money for a plasma TV instead of a plane ticket. Talk a lot about things you know nothing about. Have an affair with someone you don’t even find attractive.
Refuse to forget your ex. Make it impossible for yourself to do anything without remembering that you used to do it with them. Hug your knees under the sheets and think about how safe you felt when they held you at night. Remind yourself daily of how empty you feel. Find new ways to make yourself sad.
Get drunk all the time. Consider no Saturday night, national holiday or extended happy hour complete without a vodka-induced breakdown. Graduate college but keep drinking like you’re still in it. Notice that cheap beer tastes watery and stale when you drink it alone but drink it anyway. Look at old Facebook photos wasted and wonder where everyone went.
Never drink. Never do anything that could potentially be “bad” for you. Treat your body like the temple it is and say no to carbs, yes to wheatgrass, go to bed at ten sharp and turn down cake on your birthday. Take fifteen different dietary supplements. Monitor carefully. Succumb to nothing. Miss out on everything.
Compare yourself constantly, to everyone. Allow the standards of image-obsessed, age-obsessed culture to make you feel decrepit at 25. Scroll through skinny girls on Tumblr feeling wistful and inadequate. Pull at the skin on your hipbones, stomach, and underarms in the mirror. Sigh a lot. Sigh all the time.
Don’t fall in love with anyone or anything. Put an impenetrable wall between yourself and other people. Add a fire-breathing dragon and eight yards of barbed wire. Be suspicious of everyone’s motives. Hold grudges long after you’ve forgotten what for.
Fall in love with everyone and everything. Run after the next best thing like it’s a bus you’re perpetually late for. Throw your heart into every other stranger’s hands and be genuinely surprised to be hurt. Refuse to learn. Refuse to ever learn.
Spotted in Greenwich Village, NYC.