The KyleJacobean Era: in which I should have mentioned Arsenal
Yikes! So this needs some work. But it is an experiment: I've been reading a lot of Tom Wolfe. He wrote in the late sixties about various groups and their lifestyles. At first I wondered (in dismay) why we Westovarians did not live more like THAT, but I decided that, though we are not hooking down LSD until we are out of our gourds, we still have a lifestyle. This is my shot at documenting some of it. I'd love to hear your comments.
They are a part of the first generation since World War II to be worse off financially than their parents. The money-soaked air of the sixties and nineties has dried up.
Previous generations have been able to slough adulthood—they live the LIFE. Hippies, Surfbums, The Whole Sick Crew. Escaping the job market—meat market! humans as goods—by working only occasionally and making it because there was money in the US bloodline and oil in the ground.
Whitworth grads! Bright-eyed straight out of an incubation of Mind and Heart. Children of intentional development who know words like mentor and s, d, or t groups. S.T.D.? not an issue with this crowd. An education not extended so far as the curious ailments of Body.
Three sit under the florescent lights of the kitchen. The Westovarians or Satellite Persons (WOSPs) expand to fill houses and duplexes built in the seventies—wallpaperophiles, have landlords ranging from uninvolved to bedfellows. They put down their 300 a month and have space, ah space enough to fit their crap... smooth their crap to a fine dusting over everything. Annie Dugas and Amy Brown had spent a month after graduation looking for a job—willing to take almost anything. They considered serving coffee as bikini-clad baristas, diapering and bathing the elderly, and booking hotel reservations for truckers. Dugas went from one interview to another churning through her vast assortment of sundresses and brightly-colored scarves. Amy researched obscure companies and slid between job search sites in hope that some sorry menial position might accept her with open arms. Carrie Bowers talked to some folks she knew and got seven jobs.
But what is there to afford? WOSPs know the kindly benefits of approving parents: plane tickets home, cell phone and car insurance covered, a quick influx of money if it really gets That Bad. But of course, there is beer to afford. Really good beer. From towns that ducked away into the mountains. Beers with body and complexity—oh the deep love of complexity. Beers from the bottle and on tap, from Germany, Belgium, Colorado, and Oregon. Porter, Stout, Hops! bliss.
The best of consumption for this crew.
Jon Fox sits in the coffee shop. He wears earmuff Houston-we-have-liftoff-type headphones—the kind that block the outside howyou’vebeens? and goodtoseeyous which is necessary because WOSPs listen to music with full concentration. Lyrics, composition, complexity (Complexity!), and unintelligible words make good music. They focus to enjoy it. Their music habits are quite free thanks to grooveshark and Jon Fox, whose source of the tremendous bulk of his collection is a touch mysterious. They speak of it with reverence. You think Jon has more Bony Bear?
Dugas thumps her hands against her Subaru steering wheel to the likes of Keisha, popular. . . state-school music. The WOSPs concede to this as a quirk of hers on the account of her big hair (a muggy spot in the brain the same area that would cue her for appropriate times to laugh). Jon Fox hopes that she will someday drop her defiant Taylor Swift fanhood and get down to the serious business that is listening to his Top Ten of the Decade.
And you should see the books they read. Ones by verbose theologians and existentialists, by authors with gaggles of consonants in their last names, and by the rascaliest new eggheads and the dustiest old stuffs. They read for pleasure, sure, but they read to EXPAND. To become, ever increasingly, the coolest and cleverest person they know, with the best sounding questions and comments in class. ... er, life.
See, that’s the thing. They work hard. Concentrate. On the things that other people consume in their time off work. The WOSP thinks, “Once I am cool enough, clever enough, well-rounded, bolstered Heart and Mind with the right tastes and insights and topics of conversation, then OH THEN! The rest of the best people will come find me with opportunity, with a job, and with a fine recognition for what I’ve accomplished.” The warm and encouraging $30-thousand-per-year light from Whitworth persists in their memories and self-perceptions.
For now, the false work of minimum wage jobs to cover expenses—somebody’s got to buy Spaten Optimater. And the occasional eeking out of a résumé, but what’s the use? The only way this crew looks good on paper is if they are creating a piece of art—if they’re writing something that’s worth reading in the first place.