I did not live here my whole life. No, I have onlylived in this town since 1994. Thank God for that. I was not born here; I have noties to the area. I did not learn to eat Cheerios or dunk Oreos in milk in thishouse. I did not take my first steps here, or watch "Sesame Street" or"Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," or celebrate birthdays one through 12 here.My life was not condemned to such useless meaning before living here. I have notenjoyed myself here where Friday nights are spent in parking lots waiting forpeople to call on their cell phones to find something, anything, to do. Saturdaynights are spent much the same way, but after the previous night's lack ofevents, hope is low. Hitting the hay early is usually the way I go. And Monday,when everyone is recapitulating what they did over the weekend, I keep my mouthclosed in certain horror that my youth is being wasted. This town does not holdweekends of block parties, carnivals, concerts, ballets, theatrical shows, streetfairs or cultural experiences. Instead, my time is spent in diners, at thebowling alley or at the mall. This town is where I did not celebrate my teenagelife, I simply endured.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.