prom night

by olaf hajek

I’ve been sitting at Starbucks for the past half hour waiting for the line to get shorter. No dice.

It’s prom night tonight. Corsages delicately placed and ties awkwardly fixed bounce across the cafe. I’m deep in thought about everything and accomplishing close to nothing.

True story: I went to prom by myself. My boyfriend (at the time) and I had a huge fight, and for some reason or another, he decided not to go. I already had my ticket, so I went to prom anyway. It was on a three-story yacht somewhere in Long Beach. I dorkily ran around pestering people during slow dances. I came home early.

Felipe tells me that he never had a real prom either. His entire high school class planned a trip to Nicaragua instead. Fair trade.

Before I even let myself feel a morsel of relative poverty in regard to all the spiffy prom memories these kids are going to have in comparison to mine, I remind myself that life’s too short, and I have found romance in other, less conventional places (away from hip hop music blasting at maximum volume).

This, I can live with.

Gary Shteyngart wrote a book that I already love, and I haven’t even read it yet. He did an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air about it. ( The book talks about a dystopian future in which “books no longer exist, Americans spend the majority of their time watching videos on their iPhone-like “apparats” and the country is on the brink of complete collapse.” As a lover of books and of Jews, I am particularly excited to delve into this one.

I also finally watched Y tu mama tambien, directed by Alfonso Cuaron. It was long overdue for someone who took a Spanish cinema class and wrote a 25-page paper on the Latin American Film Movement. (Just so you know, I came to terms with my nerd-dom ages ago!) Along the same lines of prom night, the movie was a thesis on adolescence, self-discovery, adventure, and sexual curiosity. It’s wild and confused and naive, but at the same time, it shows you how to be a part of life around you. What I love most about Latin American films is that the story is more often about the journey of the characters as opposed to how succinctly you can tell the tale.

The line is finally down to one person. That’s my cue. Lily out.

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