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Rant & Rave

By Nicholas M. Wong

Tuesday, July 4, 2000

Encounter shows
how we’ve grown

WHEN I woke up this morning, everything felt normal. The sun wasn't shining too brightly, the birds barely sang and the makapiapia on my eyes was nice and thick. Just a typical day I thought. However, it wasn't.

For some reason, June has been a month full of philosophical catalysts -- for example, graduation and its parties. But the catalyst du jour was more real than any others that came before.

Nowadays, I barely do anything productive. The job market has not let me in and I'm taking a break from summer school, so basically, I "shoot the breeze." I mean, I sleep 'til 9 o'clock, if not later, and then only shower and work for an hour or so on "my collection" for the University of Hawaii. Then I eat brunch and go exercise at the Nuuanu YMCA in the afternoon.

Around 12:15p.m. today, I walked to the bus stop down the street from my house and, to my surprise, an elementary classmate and her sister sat there.

Also to my surprise, this once skinny girl had a belly! But not because she was fat, for she isn't, but she looked as if she was pregnant. I was so surprised at this sight that I practically forgot to say "hello" and instead just coughed out the question, "Are you pregnant?"

Luckily, she was, and I didn't get my family jewels shattered. As we talked, she told me how other classmates whom I have not seen in years are doing and what they are planning to do in the future. She also told me how excited she is to be having a baby, and how this child will be well cared for.

Eventually, the bus came and we went our separate ways, but because of our chat, I realized how far I've come since elementary school.

In elementary school, things were a lot different. Things were simpler, and days more relaxed and leisurely. Thinking up a scheme to cajole your parents into getting you the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figurine or Nintendo game outranked thinking about what you'd be majoring in in college, or what'd you'd be doing with your life. Hey, we were kids, we weren't supposed to think about serious stuff like that.

MY days were filled with begging my parents to buy me more GI Joe figures and fantasies of my life being like Kevin Arnold's (from "The Wonder Years.") But like Nintendo, Ninja Turtles and GI Joe, you grow out of it, and change.

In high school, I found myself shedding interests of old, like a snake shedding it's skin. I was soon abandoning my like of rap and R&B for other genres of music like alternative, pop and oldies. Even my choices in clothing changed! I gave up mainstream stores like T&C and H.I.C for second-hand stores like Savers and Salvation Army.

I saw others changing, as well, for better or worse. I think everyone I knew underwent some kind of transformation. Some friends of mine changed from the nice, cordial boys from down the street into tough faced, bellicose men. Or just the opposite, the crazy wild kid who ate glue became tame.

At first I never considered these changes to be changes at all. I thought they were just "phases." But all these phases were slowly adding up to the adults we are becoming. Before today, I never really realized any of this. I never took the time to stop and reflect on these changes. I just kind of accepted growing older, as a blur.

Now, I feel a greater nostalgia for summer and the summers of my childhood.

Thanks, Lia.

Nicholas M. Wong is a 2000 graduate of the Academy of the Pacific.

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
allowing those 12 to 22 to serve up fresh perspectives.
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