“Hello?” Oh good, she’s there.
“Hi, it’s Justin. Hey so how are you doing?”
I still remember her phone number. Still, at 25, I remember the number of both of the girls I had simultaneous perpetual background-radiation crushes on from 11 until about 17. Who even memorizes a girl’s phone number anymore? The world lost something important when cell phones made phone numbers unmagical.
“Um. I am fine. Hey so why are you calling?”
It is Thursday, November 9th, 1995 at 8:31 pm. I am a freshman in high school. I know that this conversation happened on that date at that time, because of 30 seconds I just spent searching the internet. This is possible for a reason that shall shortly become painfully and awkwardly apparent.
“Listen, were you just watching Friends?”
“Well yeah, I was.”
“The thing is, I just had to call someone. I can’t believe that Ross finally kissed Rachel.” I would like to remind you that, like everything else on this website, I promise I am not making this up. “I mean, that’s fantastic. I thought he was going to walk away, because he wanted to be with Julie, but no. He came back and kissed Rachel after all. I’m so excited.”
To repackage a John Cusack line from High Fidelity, was I awkward because I was exposed to hundreds of hours of popular culture in the form of movies, TV, and songs? Or did I have a fundamentally unquenchable need to see people acting out and describing the confident, successful-in-love self I someday wanted to be because I knew that I was unchangeably awkward?
I say yes.
“Uh, yeah. Yeah, it was nice. So listen, I’ll see you tomorrow in school. Maybe. Good night.”
I hung up the corded phone. I felt slightly depressed, as though some part of my 14-year-old self knew exactly how awkward I had just been. I stood up to go to my bedroom and get ready for bed. What if she didn’t want to talk to me? I shook the feeling off as I brushed my teeth. Because, really, who cares. Ross just kissed Rachel.