Image courtesy of Carolyn E Brown. Licensed under CC BY SA 2.0.
Last week, as a pre-birthday gift to myself (today marking my official entrance into either my very early mid-twenties or very late early twenties), I attended the Atlanta stop of the Welcome to Nightvale tour.
Welcome to Nightvale for the most-of-you who don’t listen to it, is a twice-monthly podcast that is probably best described as Prairie Home Companion written by Lovecraft. It is narrated by Cecil Baldwin (voiced by Cecil Baldwin), who is both the cypher for the town’s own weirdness (there are angels that don’t exist, a dog park which is forbidden, and librarians who are scaly and to be feared) and himself the sort of person who would volunteer to be a public-access radio host.
It was a lovely hour of live theatre, with some charming folk music thrown in for good measure. This I had expected. What I hadn’t expected was the completely delightful people-watching options afforded by attending an event full of nerdy, nerdy 16-year-olds (said, as a former 16-year-old nerd who is now the sort of person at nearly-23 who attends live recordings of podcasts by herself, with all the love in my heart).
So, this past weekend, I turned 22. Taylor Swift released a new single about just that thing. Coincidence? (Yes.)
And the thing is, I like it very much. It’s silly and fun and easy to scream along with while drunk, like Kimya Dawson without the addiction problems or depth. I mean, lyrics like:
We’re happy free confused and lonely in the best way
It’s miserable and magical, oh, yeah
Are painfully dumb, but they’re also really descriptive of the tail end of growing into an adult human being, which as a process is also pretty dumb. I mean, last week, I went out with coworkers and drank fancy bourbon in a cool bar when–not 10 minutes earlier–I had totally failed to parallel park in a non-embarrassing way, which is something that I should really Know How to Do by now. Continue reading
So this weekend was my little sister’s birthday. It was celebrated, as all good family shindigs are, in a house in the hills. This particular hill house was in Helen, GA.
Helen, for those of you who are Not From Around Here, is best-known for its epic Oktoberfest and–during the slightly less beer-soaked rest of the year–an agressive attempt to stay on theme. (The theme being twee and German.) Helen is the sort of place that is horrifying if you’re between the ages of 14-18, and absolutely weirdly delightful if you’re not.
There’s just something about Ye Olde Fudge Shoppe (and its 18 rivals, the Slightly Less Olde Fudge Shoppes and the Look At Our Fudge Innovation, We Learned This in Europe Shoppe) that is delightful. It’s probably the man in lederhosen outside, strumming his tiny banjo and renting out his parrots to children. As long as you can overlook the Confederate kitten t-shirts (it happened, I swear to you), the whole town is a weird escape from anything approaching real life.
But Alpine Helen eventually wore me out, and it was then that I retreated to the hill cabin to drink.