After my trip to Chicago, I went to Madison for a few days. There is no place on earth that trips my shit up, nostalgia-wise, more than Madison. I only lived there for one year, barely out of my teens, but the spectacle that was happening in my life that year wins some sort of prize, if I was giving prizes out to myself, which maybe I should. Youth is filled with not knowing what the hellfire we are doing, but the Year of Madison was Peak What-in-the-Who-in-the-Where for me. I was not in school, I had a horrible job, I was poor, I had no idea what to do next. There was a boy from college who was trying to convince me of something, there was a boy from a theater I had worked at (cough cough my Future Dude) not trying to convince me of something, and there was a third boy who was messing my shit up worse and worse by the day who I was trying to convince of something. (Dear Youngs: the more lop-sided convincing that is going on? RUN, FAST, AWAY). I lived in a studio apartment with one small window that looked out onto a brick wall, surrounded by fraternities. Like, when I make a list of all the things during the Year of Madison? Just awful. Like quantifiably, objectively, truly awful. Yet, somehow? I loved it there. I loved getting ice cream and walking to the Student Union terrace and sitting by the water. I loved getting a passion fruit italian soda and going to movies at the Orpheum theater. I loved walking around in the heat, getting overheated, and walking into the Capitol building and sitting on the marble benches just to cool off. I loved strolling the Farmer’s Market. I loved the bookstores and coffeehouses.
As I arrived in Madison and headed out to dinner with dear blog friend Leah, as I later went to Grown Up Work Meetings all professional-like, as I saw all the things that looked exactly the same to me, except out of my eyeballs that feel so, so different, it felt so strange in my guts. Was that really me? Did I really live here? Man, that year was nuts. So glad it’s done, but also, I miss that place. Both.