Saturday, February 25, 2012

Down Memory Lane

This week was one of those weeks where it was Monday night and I already felt like I might not make it. I think we all have those weeks sometimes, although this one was particularly stressful since it included not one but two trips to the Fulton County courthouse to renew my passport. Judging by the amount of hoops the U.S. makes you jump through just to renew your passport, it's a wonder anyone ever leaves this country. Also, to whomever formatted the street layout in downtown Atlanta: no one likes you. Also, thank God for Steve Jobs and the iPhone or I might still be in Grant Park, hopelessly lost (I could have sworn I was heading north, not south). Suffice it to say I got lost several times in the labyrinth that is downtown Atlanta (even with my iPhone).

It's all over now though, so there's that.

But as I studied for my two tests and quizzes this week, struggling to remember the difference between the format file data took whether or not I used readline() or readlines() in Python, or the difference between the "foot in the door" and "door in the face" psychology techniques, I got to thinking: how much valuable, relevant information is being pushed out of my brain because my stubborn mind refuses to let go of the the name and order of every episode from The O.C., thousands of Friends lines, and the lyrics to N*Sync's "Pop"?

I admit this week was somewhat of a trip down memory lane for me. When I went home this past weekend, my mom gave me four DVDs that contained all the music on our (very) old home computer. The music I listened to in middle and high school. So, basically, every song that was ever on The O.C. (Hey, I'm just keeping it real here.)

I inserted one of the DVDs Monday morning and was quite literally overwhelmed with joy when I spotted several Patrick Park songs, close to all of The Shins' albums, and a few lost jems ("Good Day" by Tally Hall, where have you been the last five years of my life?!). It was very nostalgic. And only slightly embarrassing.

Just a few days later, on February 22nd, marked five years since the series finale of The O.C. You'll notice most of my nostalgia centers around The O.C. and if you knew ninth-grade-era me, you wouldn't be surprised. I clearly recall that day five years ago when I, curled up in the fetal position, cried until I couldn't breathe as the final credits rolled, not even comforted by my own mother. "I can't... believe... it's... overrrrr," I wailed. My mother probably thought I had finally lost my mind.

Even as I type this now, I can't help but laugh at how totally obsessed I was with that show. I made it my personal mission to convert nearly everyone I knew to devoted O.C. fans, calling my mission "paying it forward." I even, for a brief period anyway, was convinced that I wanted to become a television writer. Every time I went to Barnes & Noble I made a beeline for the TV Writing section and intensely read every "How to Become a Television Drama Writer"-type book I could find. I compiled a master O.C. playlist filled with 95% of the songs ever on the show, in order. I made it a life goal to amass the other five percent, although I never could (oh, Alexandra Patsavas (the music supervisor, for those out of the loop, and yes, of course I still remember her name!), you made it so hard). I also memorized the scene in which every song played.

I wrote fan fiction.

That alone should tell you how invested I was in this series. And I'd be lying if I told you that I don't wish I could still read it. It would be simultaneously mortifying/awesome.

But I digress. These days I find myself more obsessed with food blogs and schoolwork than teen melodramas. How did I ever have the time to become so devoted to a television series of all things? These days I find it hard enough to just keep up with one show.

If there's one thing I'm not, it's a casual viewer. If I get into a TV show, I really get into it. I re-watch the seasons over and over again, read all the viewer forums (never actually commenting), and follow all the cast members on Twitter. It's a sickness, really. But it makes me me. It's my underlying passion and desire to know everything about a subject that I can (which also manifests itself in my love of reading and re-reading every Cook's Illustrated magazine and cookbook until the write-ups become comfortably familiar).

So this morning, when I caught ten minutes of an O.C. episode (episode 1.15, "The Third Wheel," and no I didn't need to look that up), I felt transported back to the eighth grade, when my biggest life dramas were wondering whether Ryan and Marissa would ever work things out (and also when I would ever get my braces off). It was the best way to start my day.

Time flies. When did I become so old?

P.S. My manifesto, circa 2008, only shared because I value truth and honesty. Warning: no tl;dr version is available.


  1. time does give perspective. I really enjoyed sharing the O.C. with you - those songs are part of my soundtrack, too. music transports me back in time like nothing else. (glad I found those DVDs!)

  2. i make it a point never to go south of PDL in atlanta unless steve is driving and i think there are many who share your opinion of the streets of atlanta-overuse of p'tree anything?! trips down memory lane are always a good thing to me.