Call Our Generation What You Will…

Occasionally, I run across a piece of literature that embodies the tone of a chunk of my life. I don’t go looking for these; they just arrive and surprise me. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about–that moment of recognition when realize your perception of reality isn’t isolated. Some writer out there went through it, too. This happened to me recently on The Writ. Nicole Elizabeth Chapin’s Tiger Chai describes my late teenage years–if not word-for-word, then at least in intention. If you identify at all with the path I took to get to where I am, you’ll probably see a piece of your own experience–genuinely inspiring and fashionably constructed as it was–in this reflection, too. I give you the piece in its entirety:

Tiger Chai There was a time in my life that I actually felt I had a little something special over the next person walking down the street.I drank my tiger chai. I read my Kerouac and Bukowski. I sang poetry in my room late at night.The smell of Nag Champa eases the burden of my discontent.Inquisitive, I was. I was a writer. I played guitar. I belted out sensual blue from the depths of a bari sax, man. I wrote at his computer with my legs crossed. I smoked cheap cigarettes. I had to smoke to write. And smoke the other so sleep. I drank cheap beer. I wrote cheap lyrics. Wasn’t I nineteen?I spoke Japanese in the park. I studied symbols and people, nestled deep in my special cafe booth. I was invisible. I served coffee in that cafe. I had a red bow and a black apron. I loved tips.I loved road trips. I loved a late afternoon drive to a polluted lake with a thousand other people watching. I loved changing in the car. And a cooler full of snacks. I miss getting lost. On purpose.I am lost. Without purpose. I work. I play. I get high.I have lost me. A cloud of smoke, my memory, me. Exhale. Go drifting by, bye.I stopped reading. I stay at home. He took my guitar and the sax and her car keys. I have a real day job; I don’t think. I still smoke. I smoke too much. I stopped to think; stop thinking. No inquiring mind here.I think I’ll go read. Get me my wine. —Nicole Elizabeth Chapin

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