With a strong sense of restless uncertainty, snow-cone girl Denise watched the amusement park crowd passing before the snow-cone stand. She recognized several people—some nodded or waved—the minister of the Lutheran church, that kid who rakes leaves, that retarded guy Morris. In her head she was endlessly playing and re-playing music from the Pink Floyd Album–Dark Side of the Moon–

“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day

You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way”

She wondered why she was at the stand again after being fired last season for smoking pot behind the stand with the delivery kid. But 1974 was a new year and maybe the “establishment types” that ran the park had gotten over some of their up-tight, bullshit paranoia.

Or maybe somebody just screwed-up. In any event she was back behind the freezer case in her tie-dyed muu-muu and waist-length hair. But the ever-present smile from last season didn’t make it back this season.

The last year hadn’t gone well. After losing her job at the park she spent the rest of the summer watching re-runs, drinking wine and riding around in somebody’s car. She really wasn’t sure what her major would be but in the fall she went off to a college that somebody at the record store a year before had said was cool.

Since she was a little girl in middle school she had looked forward to college and being a college girl. College girls were so pretty and smart and cool—parties, nice clothes and cool guys with new cars. It was her dream. She had meditated on it and the universe said her dream would come true. It would work out. Things always worked out.

Things did not work out. It was a disaster.

Away from home—on her own for the first time—she generally stayed up all night every night hanging out with friends, slept through class (if she made it to class), drank far too much beer and smoked enough pot to kill Bob Marley. Every evening after supper there was always that choice—to study, go over notes, work on a paper, read some stupid book she wasn’t interested in or—go to the student union or a bar.

She failed every class the first semester but promised herself the second semester would be different.

It wasn’t. If anything it was worse.

At the end of the 2nd semester she came home having totally blown the entire year.

Her parents who usually were very supportive and communicative with Denise said nothing.

Standing there behind the snow-cone stand, watching the milling, restless park crowd living their countless, random lives, Denise was confused. She kept looking, looking for something out there. She didn’t used to be confused. It used to be she never worried about anything—never had to plan very far ahead. She just did whatever popped into her head—whatever seemed like fun.

Things had always just worked out.

Sure, there was the occasional bitching by her parents that started several years ago—about thinking ahead and goals and plans and all that crap. And weirdly enough, even some of her friends had started saying similar things of late.

But she had understood what was going on. They meant well but they were just wrong.

It was all a matter of flowing with the universe rather than resisting and trying to control circumstances and chasing after some vague and silly illusion of happiness. Happiness was simply a matter of doing whatever came to mind and whatever felt good so long as you didn’t hurt anyone.

At least she used to think it was.

Standing there watching the crowd, trying to see whatever it was she was trying to see—she felt something she had felt more and more in recent days—a surge of anger & indignation.

Why the hell should she write some bullshit paper or read a book she didn’t enjoy?

The more she thought about it the more it seemed like the height of stupidity. She realized she just didn’t want to learn to think differently. And trying to understand new things was a stupid pain in the ass. What was wrong with the way she thought and what she understood now? She just wanted to earn enough money to have fun—do what she wanted to do. What’s wrong with that? The dream she had was a child’s dream and stupid.

Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Kathy—the other snow-cone girl—made her uncomfortable. They had worked together last season and had been like sisters—sharing secrets, borrowing each other’s clothes, hanging out at the beach.

Kathy had gone off to school too. They wrote back & forth for a few months but that faded.

Now there was this awkward distance between them. Both knew why—Kathy had done well her first year at school.

Denise continued watching the crowd. All those lives in motion—all those people doing stuff they wanted to do—not dumb crap some professor wanted them to do.

Denise could sense Kathy standing immediately in back of her. It was kind of sad and weird—even though at the moment she was only a few feet behind her Denise could feel Kathy—who she had loved like a sister—slowly moving away from her. Was this some sort of new message from the universe?

She continued staring into the changing, surging crowd of nameless humanity—all of these people going about their anonymous lives—moving forward into the rest of their lives—and in her mind she continued playing the song from the  Dark Side of the Moon album:

“You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today

And then one day you find—ten years have got behind you

No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun…”

Click here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1YI8QeKGWo

FacebookTwitterDeliciousGoogle GmailGoogle ReaderDiggShare

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge