Friday, July 22, 2005

being twenty-five

How old are you anyway?
Twenty-five.
Really, I’m twenty-five. I dunno, you look older.
I get that a lot.


But I think the essence of being twenty-five is you always look older than twenty-five. How long ago was it when we were in our early twenties, toeing into jobs and speaking the language of adults but not really knowing it. I might say six hundred a month is a good deal on that apartment, but fuck, who believes paying six hundred dollars a month is a good deal for anything? But if you’re earning two thousand a month it’s not so bad, and you can still go out for beers or a proper restaurant every once in a while and, hey, who’s to tell you how to spend your money? I mean hell, I’m making two thousand dollars a month. Which I know isn’t that much for a college grad, but if you’d told the sixteen year old me he could be making two thousand dollars a month and after rent, groceries and debts he could do whatever he wanted with it, I think he’d be pretty damned excited. And then at some point when we weren’t watching it just became our language, and we realized, fuck, this is our world! It’s our turn!

But you know what made me think of all this. I was at this club in Tokyo where two twenty-five year old friends were doing this electronica show using a rack of sequencers and obscure devices they’d dug out of bargain bins in Akihabara. Before them these two British guys (both twenty-five) did a hip-hop set, and after them a skinny Japanese guy (who looked twenty-five) did this great set of clicks and beats on his laptop. And earlier in the evening a friend had everyone he knew there together in a circle and made them say how they old they were when they first got laid, and we were all twenty-five and we’d all been laid. There were all these people that said fifteen and sixteen and you can see them remembering it as they talk and wondering where that person is now, how they are doing at twenty-five, but there was this one shy little couple and they both answered twenty-five and after everyone else it was just about the sweetest thing you could imagine.

I remember going to jazz clubs as a sixteen year old music freak and looking at these strange creatures who drank calmly, knowledgably, habitually, and they would probably all go back to their city apartments to make love or kiss on street corners and do things like that and here I was drinking ginger ale with my nineteen year old buddy (in college!), and we were just there for the music, y'know. But here I am, twenty-five at the club, sitting and talking to the girl behind the bar and ignoring the musicians, and even the musicians are ignoring the musicians.

There was this girl down at the edge of the bar who looked twenty-seven and had her hair up and this classic black dress and heels on amid all these baseball hats. She looked like she'd stepped out of a Dashiell Hammet mystery, trading double entendres with Sam Spade. But you know, not like she wanted to step out of a novel, but that she already had. She'd been flirting with just about every guy in the place and they all knew her and knew her routine and they just talked but I was the new guy, so she talked to me. And we were just making conversation, and she was a bit loud, a bit pushy, but she was alright, pretty much everything wrapped up for her, she had her steady job and her dress and her Friday night and a new guy to talk to. And she asked, or I asked:

How old are you anyway?
Twenty-five.
Really, I’m twenty-five. I dunno, you look older.
I get that a lot.

4 comments:

Rachel said...

I like this post. like the reflected beginning and end.

but not everybody is in their midtwenties and unremarkable...
ha. I talk about that "learning to speak adult" thing all the TIME.

miss you, dude.

Jamie said...

Thanks, figured this one would get a comment, mostly been writing scenic travelogues lately, nothing particularly insightful or biting. This one just poured out of me.

I actually agree with you, don't think twenty-five is unremarkable, I just wasn't able to right very gracefully that twenty-five isn't seen as a milestone like twenty-one or thirty or whatever, but in a way it's seems like the first year when a lot of people become unselfconsciously adult.

Anonymous said...

So maybe 25 is a kind of milestone after all. As I look back (lo these many years) it was a turning point. Like maybe it's time to get serious.

Anonymous said...

I'll be "being twenty-five" in one month. It feels like a milestone, I agree, the turning point of the twenties. The looming birthday was a big part of my decision to finally apply to l.s. last year, when I was still extremely new to "being twenty-four." -Tarika