where the writers are
Chasing thirteen

                    Belle Yang’s comment about finally getting an IPod has me admitting something: I’ve only had an I-pod for two weeks now. Yes, I am behind the times.          

 I had many excuses for not getting an I-Pod. Why do I need a thousand songs?  I don’t need to watch The Colbert Report wherever I go. I did have Itunes, which I used to make CD’s for myself and friends. I’m just fine without my Ipod, thanks very much.                   

But then I would see people walking around with their earbuds, moving their head back and forth, getting their groove on. People running on the treadmill, listening to whatever was playing, probably “Gonna Fly Now” or “Physical.” I started to want a Ipod to not only listen to music, but also to listen to audiobooks. I grind my teeth at night, and my physical therapist suggested I should do something to relax me at nights before I go to sleep. So after I do my book reading, my audiobook reads me to sleep. But my stereo was getting old and sometimes the narrators sounded like they had one too many at the local pub. I started to desire an Ipod.   

       Finally, I got one. I received a bonus at my work and after doing the responsible thing (paying bills, getting a Mother’s Day gift) I marched over to Circuit City and bought myself one.          I’m in love. Seriously. My Ipod and I are meant to be.  I forgot it one day and I felt naked without it. I can’t believe I went without one for so long. I realized why today.    

       When I was thirteen, all the girls had Guess? Jeans. Guess jeans were around forty, fifty dollars back then; a lot in 1985. We always were short in money. I was stuck with Gitanos jeans. I felt so deprived. Never mind those kids in Africa, what about me?         

 But then I thought, well, I don’t want Guess jeans! You can have them! I’m just fine in my Gitanos, thanks very much. Eventually I did get a pair of Guess jeans, but then everyone was wearing stonewashed jeans.        

   There are times when I still feel like I’m in middle school. Up until recently, people always seemed to want something, desire something, buying something.  Birkin bags. I-phones. Trips to New York, Paris. I had to stop watching the show Weeds because it got too much: having the right kind of car, looking a certain way, wearing the right clothes. Do we ever get rid of being thirteen?       

   I don’t know. What I do know is of course it’s good to desire the best things. But of course, the old saying is true. Your stuff isn’t who you are.
          Have to go. I’m going to exercise and sing  “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats badly. 

Here's the lyrics for one of my favorite songs, Big Star's "Thirteen"

Won't you let me walk you home from school
Won't you let me meet you at the pool
Maybe Friday I can
get tickets for the dance
and I'll take you
Won't you tell your dad, "Get off my back"
Tell him what we said 'bout 'Paint It Black'
Rock 'n Roll is here to stay
Come inside where it's okay
And I'll shake you.
Won't you tell me what you're thinking of
Would you be an outlaw for my love
If it's so, well, let me know
If it's "no", well, I can go
I won't make you

                                          Alex Chilton