The idiom “swan song” metaphorically refers to the last work a person performs before death. It is a morbid usage, but perhaps appropriate, considering this is my metaphorical death in regards to the Technique. I’ve written editorials, reviews, features, interviews and news stories on the entertainment industry. But there’s one thing I’ve yet to do until now.
I’m going to tell a story. Cherokee County, Georgia is so red that if you grab a handful of dirt and squeeze you’ll watch it bleed between your fingers. Sunday traffic crawls hungry families to barbeque restaurants and the word “dialect” describes everyday conversations. For me, this place was home.
Atlanta might as well have been a foreign country. The tallest objects in my hometown were trees. Gazing up at skyscrapers kissing the clouds left me with that special concoction of excitement and fear that signifies the beginning of something new.
Here, if you grab a handful from the ground and squeeze, the blood will most likely be your own due to pieces of broken beer bottles or shattered urban dreams. I knew my roommate from high school, but I can’t honestly say we were friends going into our first semester. Essentially, I was alone; the stranger in a strange land.
It didn’t take long for me to accrue my first menagerie of mistakes. Freedom is a double-edged sword when it’s newly acquired. Learning the only person you actually have to answer to is yourself is a potent drug when first tasted. To mimic the dash between birth and death dates on gravestones, I’m going to gloss over a few details.
Exactly what coming-of-age trials I had to overcome are not as important as what happened next, because everyone goes through something similar. And I really don’t have to tell you that life is difficult. We all learn that.
What matters is this: I got here. I’m at a moment in my life where Tech will soon be something I talk about nostalgically. That concept alone frightens me.
I’ve reached the age where I can look back. In high school, nobody reminisces about childhood. It seems too close, and the word “childish” turns anathema. Now, high school seems worlds away. Childhood is a dream. And in a few short months I’ll be drinking a rum and coke on a Sunday, remembering how I used to have something called “homework.”
Maybe that’s the point of this meandering plot. College can, to put it colloquially, suck. A lot. But one day it will be something to look back on. Right now, as a fifth-year student on the cusp of graduation, I sit on a blade-thin line between eras of my life. It isn’t satisfactory, but this is a story without an end. The college era wanes, and waxing in the distance is a future I view with uncertain eyes.
“It’s a wonderful world,” little Calvin tells his imaginary tiger. And it is. There are friends. And beer. And naps and Disney songs and inside jokes and full moons and puppies and the smell of bacon.
I don’t know who you are, eternal reader. But I’m glad to be living in the same world as you.
Let’s go exploring.