Cynical Gen X & Child of the 80’s

If you look over there you will see some of the labels I have given myself. Two of them are Child of the 80's and Cynical Gen Xer.

In the late 80's and early 90's, the housing market in California sucked. If you are taking notes at home, that's spelled: S-U-C-K-E-D.

In fifth grade, some bureaucratic career-enhancing school board member decided to do some residential rezoning. My three favorite classmates lived on that side of the line. They were transferred to the other elementary, and filtered into the other jr. high and high school. I've run into each of them once since then. If they acknowledged that they knew me, I got "Hey", No Good Byes.

When I was nine years old, my next door neighbor and best friend Angela was the youngest of 5. Her father's job was eliminated in California, he was laid off and told he could have a job in Missouri. Up went the Cent*ry 21 Sign. It stayed in their front yard for two years. TWO YEARS, her family of 7 lived off of savings and credit cards. Two years, they talked about moving, selling the house, getting out of California, getting back to work. Every day for two years I looked out our dining room window and watched the top of the For Sale sign. Just before 6th grade, I was packed in the car and told to go to the city Labor Day parade. When I finally got home from that stupid parade, she was already gone. No Good Byes.

In sixth grade I met Amber & Laura, and in seventh grade I met Lee. Laura was too cool for words. She looked older, and had seen it all because she had 2 older sisters. She was just so far above all of the juvenile social drama. The first day of 7th grade, her name was called off the choir roster. A classmate who lived near her said she'd moved back to South Dakota over the summer. Poof. Just like that. No Good Byes.

Whether she liked it or not, Amber was just as goofy as me. We were thick as thieves for a year or two, and then one day she said "You know, I've noticed that a lot of my friends just aren't very cool." Well, you can't fault honesty. She got herself a new crowd, and I hung out with other friends like Lee. Some time around 8th grade, her mother got transferred to Idaho. Her mother was transferred back eventually, but our friendship was never the same. Today, she still hasn't added me as a friend on my*space. No Good Byes.

In ninth grade, another School board Hopeful rezoned the high schools. And, of course, Lee lived on the other side of the line. I clung to her, or at least the idea of her through all of 9th grade even though we were growing apart. After 9th grade, I even signed up to be a Cub Scout counselor so that I could have some time with her that summer. But high school is high school, as we started figuring out who we were; we had less and less in common. Junior year, I was the *last* person to find out that she was pregnant. That still hurts but it was my own darn fault. She ended up moving to Kansas with her (now-ex) husband. No Good Byes.

After high school and college it wasn't so hard. The high school kids a grade older move on, and you never have time to visit the kids a grade younger when your out. It just kind of happens: kids filter in, adults filter out. No Good Byes.

In college, it was only hard to see friends move on because of my childhood experiences. I finally had a little control of my own life enough to be able to visit the classmates who move to another county. It stings when they're farther away, but not so bad because I can plan a 3 day weekend to go see them, and don't have to beg for the parent's permission.

Now, if I screw up my friendship with someone – It's my fault and not some job, housing market, bubble, or parental whim. Why did she leave the state to go find herself without saying Good Bye? Why the hell wasn't she the maid of honor at my wedding? Because I was a sucky friend, that's why. No Good Byes.

Its not fair. This one isn't my fault. Today, California is knee-deep in another decade of real-estate suckage. Plants are closing, gasoline costs more than fancy-assed name brand orange juice, and 300K buys a 60-year-old-teeny-tiny-fixer-upper-starter-condo-that-has-creepy-neighbors-and-no-yard-and-needs-new-plumbing. Can anyone out there prove that God isn't laughing at me? Bring it on! I dare you!

I'm 9 years old and I hurt. All over again. I'm back at the dinning room window waiting for that inevitable sale sign, praying that I don't get forced to go sit at another stupid parade. This time, I'm on strike! No Good Byes.