THE ALBUM IS DONE!
US Tour Day 236 Part 1: Our Own Little Heros. Amherst, PA.
I never really got into reading online diaries. There are many reasons why. But, the two most important reasons are that I haven't ever had the time or the interest. I like to write. I like to take photographs. I like to make music. I like to see my friends and family. I like to travel. I like to have sex. After these things, reading online diaries comes quite low on the list. So, I don't read them.
But, some years ago there was an exception. There were a few months when I religiously read localaura.diaryland.com. She was hilarious; she was genius. She told the truth. She made me laugh. I felt like I knew her. Or, more accurately, I felt like I wanted to know her better each time I read her words.
Life got busier. I stopped reading her diary. Andie and I broke up. I started the life of a nomad. Eight months flew by. And, that brings me to present day Amherst, Massachusetts.
A freshman student here offered for me to stay in her dorm for a few days on my long journey back to the West Coast. I was excited to get to visit what I had heard to be a quaint college town in New England. And, it's always great to meet a new person—especially someone who's been reading my web site for years.
She greeted me with a hug and exclaimed how I looked just like the pictures. Only shorter. Ok, she didn't actually say 'only shorter'. I just imagined that she did, or, rather I assumed that she did. Everyone else says that, so I just hear it now no matter what anyone says. (In fact, recently someone I met through my web site said that it wasn't that I was shorter than they expected, it was just that I 'photographed tall.' I love euphemisms!)
We moved my things into her room, had lunch, and then walked into town. On our walk, she mentioned that she used to write a lot on Diaryland, as well. I asked her what her address was. I nearly peed myself all up and down when she said that she was localaura! "You're localaura?", I shouted. "I'm SO excited to meet you!"
Then, I proceeded to gush about all the times when I laughed about her words or when Andie and I talked about her as we got ready for bed together.
She asked, "Wow, so are you going to treat me different now that you know that that was me?"Well, duh. Of course the answer was yes. That would be like finding out that the person you were hanging out with was actually the Unabomber or a milk cow. You'd of course want to find out how to make cool ass bombs or what it's like to have your nipples sucked all day, respectively.
It's nice to have my own hometown hero—a person whose creations and ideals I respect, a person I can reach out and touch. We spend so much time showering models, actors, and athletes with adoration, respect, and collective psychic energy. But, those people will in the end give nothing back to us. You won't get a thank–you card from the Yankees for buying their t–shirts. And, the model on the front cover of Vogue isn't going to invite you to stay with her on your cross–country trip. The money we spend on these people will disappear into the black hole associated with their bank account and the bank accounts of their management companies.
And you get nothing to show for it.
But, there is a kind of hero that is very real—a type of hero that is worth investing in. They are your neighbors, your family, your friends. They are your teachers, your students, your co–workers. They are the local band that knows your name and says hello each time they see you around. They are the internet writer that always takes the time to respond to your emails. They are the old lady across the street who never forgets your birthday, even after you move away.
They don't make twenty million dollars each year. They may not even make twenty thousand dollars in a year. And, you may not see them on television. But, the contributions they can make to our lives is so much more real. And, the contribution we can make to their lives is so much more meaningful.
And, I'm happy to be sitting in the dorm room of one of these people, here at the university in Amherst, Massachusetts. She's real to me. And I'm real to her. And, we're both excited to be hanging out with one another.
That's something you can't get buy at the mall or the sports stadium.
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