In which I reflect on changes in places and people I knew when I was younger.
My theme song is “Pluto Vs. Neptune” by Driftless Pony Club. You can buy their albums from DFTBA Records
Hello, Earthlings. You’re watching Adam the Alien. As I’m recording this, it is October 20th, 2016, and today we’re going to talk about change.
You can’t think you’ve won,
sometimes I’m closer to the sun!
So last night, instead of staying home and watching the debate and giving myself a headache and hating myself for watching it at all, I decided to go to the first ever Canby Film Festival.
Today, I mentioned that fact on Twitter.
And that is when an old friend of mine, CJ, replied that he was really surprised that Canby had a film festival. And to be honest? So was I.
I grew up in Canby, and it definitely has that 50s suburban small-town feel. Or at least it did when I was growing up.
It has by no means shaken that, neither the positives nor the negatives, but it has made progress in joining us in the modern age.
Back when I was in high school, I would have compared Canby to the fictional town of Bomont.
Don’t know what Bomont is? Watch Footloose.
Not the new version. The old version. Why would you want to watch any version without Kevin Bacon? He’s…he’s Kevin Bacon!
Anyway, as an adult, I moved away from Canby. And when left, it was still this place that I didn’t really want to be. And while to a great degree I’m still uncomfortable there, I found when I moved back to Oregon that Canby and the other small towns in my area aren’t quite as backwards-feeling as they felt when I was younger.
For instance, it used to be that the only thing to do in town, really, was go to the bowling alley. And that made it all the more like Bomont, which also joked about just having a bowling alley to go to.
By the time I moved back into the area, I found that the bowling alley was gone. There is an auto parts shop there, now. It’s just gone.
But! There was suddenly a movie theater! A movie theater! Do you know what I would have given for that as a teenager? A movie theater IN TOWN?
There was also a cool little cafe called The Place To Be, which is sadly also gone now. That change came and went very quickly.
But I’ve been thinking a lot about so many changes in this area. For instance, there are in the nearby town of Molalla…which is actually closer to me than the town I think of as my hometown…Molalla has two marijuana dispensaries, which shocked me. I never, ever would have thought ONE would have popped up there, let alone two. And as I get to know more people in this area again, I find that the area is slightly, SLIGHTLY more socially liberal than it was when I left.
Which is something I am just immensely grateful for, because this place often made me feel like I had to hide who I was, and I feel that less now. It’s not gone by any means, but it’s significantly less.
Now CJ, upon realizing there was a film festival in Canby, said he didn’t even recognize the place anymore.
Which is interesting because, frankly, I almost don’t recognize CJ anymore!
Now, CJ and I met in preschool. He was probably the first real friend I made who I wasn’t related to.
Don’t fact check me on that, I can’t confirm that. But that’s how my memory tells it.
Not that anyone other than my parents could actually fact-check that.
Now at this point in life, I feel that CJ has made a fairly respectable name for himself as a political reporter in Washington DC. He’s been an editor for BuzzFeed News, his work has been featured in such places as Vice and Vanity Fair…
The thing of it is, this is so far from the various CJs that I’ve known over time. I never, ever would have imagined this as his future. Now, having worked alongside him on a college paper, I do know he is an incredible journalist. He’s very capable, he’s a great writer, but I just never in my head envisioned him being a respectable, tie-wearing professional in Washington DC.
Because when I think of CJ, I remember things like when we were little kids, and I watched him allow a chihuahua to chew on his ear until it bled.
Or the many birthday parties I had in which we made up fake daytime talk shows, at the end of which everyone died.
Or as one of the scruffier teenagers in high school.
Or a multitude of memories in college when he would do things like eat food out of the trash. Or, for an article, participate in a drag show hilariously badly.
CJ is a wonderful person, and I am immensely happy for all the success he’s had, but it’s still…it’s, it’s weird. There’s some kind of disconnect when I look at the versions of him that I’ve seen in the past —when we were kids, and teenagers, and college students— to the person he is now.
And I’m having that same kind of realization about the area that I grew up in. There’s so much change. All I have to do is look around me.
This place alone is so vastly different, both in actuality and in how it feels, than how it used to be.
Now I am not by ANY means the first person to come across the revelation of, “Oh my God, things are changing around me! Nothing stays the same!”
This is far from even the first time I’ve thought of it.
But I do think it’s something important to sit and, and reflect on.
We are so afraid of change in our lives. But change is THE most inevitable thing in our universe.
And it’s easy to want to resist it, to want to keep things the same.
I think that’s a lot of what we’re seeing in our political environment, right now, with Donald Trump and supporters.
They just want things to be, you know, the way they used to be, back in a past that never really existed the way that it’s imagined to.
All of us —you, me, every single one of us— we love to de-complicate our past.
We love to imagine that the past was so much…better. So much more golden, more pristine. “Oh, THESE things never happened.”
But that is NOT what’s happening at all.
I will confess, there are a lot of complications of life that bog me down more and more as I get older.
What’s actually happening is we’re just becoming more aware of what’s going on around us.
And yes, things are not the same as they were when we were younger.
But they never will be. And they never would have been, no matter how much you cling on to the past.
The past is always going to be part of us, every one of us. Whatever built us is part of us, even if we are not the person we once were.
But it’s not our present, and it cannot be our future.
We have to embrace change. And we also have to accept that the changes we want aren’t necessarily going to happen as quickly as we want.
But when I look around at the…the area I grew up in, and how much it has changed, and how much it is slowly progressing towards something better…
I can’t help but feel just a little…a little tingle of hope.
Change is inevitable. And change is slow.
If something has changed and it makes you uncomfortable, I would urge you to analyze why.
Does it make you uncomfortable because it’s different? Because it’s unfamiliar? Because it’s not what you remember?
Does it make you uncomfortable because you are now more aware of problems you could previously ignore because they didn’t affect you?
Or —and this is the only time I think we should resist change— is it change in the wrong direction?
I can’t answer that question for you.
But! I can tell you that I hope you will see the difference between those three options.
Just because something is different, just because it’s not the same, does not mean it’s change in the wrong direction.
Nor does my saying that mean that there IS necessarily a right or wrong direction in all cases.
But as you go through life, and help make the world the way you want it to be, I hope you will recognize that there is no resisting that change.
Something is going to change, and you get to help decide what that change is.
Until next time, I’m Adam the Alien. Fare thee well.
Go by truck, go by truck, go by truck, go by truck, we don’t like you here. No trucks here, no, go away. Go away. You are noisy, and we don’t like you.
…journalism…damn it, Shadow!
The dog just bumped the tripod.
The things that dog will do for attention!
BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! This is what I do when I don’t know what I’m doing. AAAAAAAH!