When I was maybe three or four, I wept upon seeing my mother after she returned from the hairdresser. She’d clipped a few inches and in doing so, irrevocably altered her visual context, and, as it seemed to me at the time, transformed into another woman who was not my mother. Later that same day, already devastated by the slight change in my mother’s coiffure, I announced—loudly—my displeasure at the way the ivy was placed on the clock that was hanging in the kitchen. Maybe it seemed oddly parallel to my mother’s haircut (the ivy hung down the sides of the clock, somewhat like hair); maybe my childhood eccentricity was [...]
When I was thirteen, I participated in an after-school activity ambiguously—and generously—named “Lifetime Sports.” At my North Carolina private school, a place particularly dedicated to social hierarchy, your position on a team was determined as much by popularity as athletic ability, and as I was fundamentally lacking in both coolness and hand-eye coordination, I thought I might as well try life-sporting. Participation would involve periodic trips to a local roller rink.
This was 1998, when roller rinks were just becoming passé. My friends no longer held their birthday parties at the local rinks, and, generally, they smelled kind of funny (the roller rinks, that is). But the activity seemed [...]