Friday, September 19, 2014

An Open Letter to the Universe

Dear Universe,

I generally assume we're on pretty good terms. I am a born and raised Unitarian Universalist, after all, universe is in the name. Sometimes I stare, wild eyed, into the void and wonder what it is that you require of us, but for the most part, I tend to just take things as you throw them.

Recently, you've thrown quite a lot at me. Moving, classes, running a club, working for the girl scouts, bed bugs, infections, an inability to find a job that pays more than $100 a week, constantly washing and re-washing every article of clothing I have while wrapping everything else up in insect-proof plastic...but, you know all this. You gave me all of this. And I'm sure that, somewhere down the line, I will learn a tremendously valuable life lesson from all of it. I'm not here to ask you to change your MO. I would just like to ask for a simple amendment, to whatever cosmic plan you may have in place for me.

Have you ever listened to Janelle Monae? Her talent as a musician is such that I am skeptical that she originates from this universe to begin with. So, I thought I'd ask. If you, in fact, have not, take a look.

Did you see that? That is a life changing experience in three minutes and forty-four seconds. That is the face of the woman currently occupying a significant chunk of my ipod; the song I have sung so many times in the shower that I'm surprised even the bedbugs are willing to live with me. This is a performer who wrote an album so good that I once spent three days trying to download it from a mountain in Peru. Her lack of a grammy nomination makes me physically angry.

What I'm saying is, her music is important to my life.

And you know that, as the universe.

And yet, for reasons I'm fairly certain I'm not supposed to be able to fathom, you have yet to give me the opportunity to see her live.

Now, I understand that you are an ever changing force. I currently inhabit a world where pictures and videos are often more important than the experience itself. I get that. And, I understand that you have provided me with a wealth of such things to keep me going through the good times, the bad times, and those times I hear that she's going to be in New York when I'm with my family/in another country/at a wedding/showing turtle skulls to girl scouts. You know I'm grateful for this.

But, I suppose I'm somewhat old fashioned. I am rarely of the opinion that the "good old days" were actually as good as people say they were, but I do find myself with a distinct attachment to live performance. I like the thrill of standing in front of a stage, the feel of over-amplified music aggressively chipping away at my sense of hearing - I'm even a fan of that strange, awkward moment when you accidentally lock eyes with a random stranger beside you and you realize that he has no idea what's going on. You can't get these things from YouTube. Not without expensive sound equipment. And kidnapping. Probably.

Tomorrow, sometime after two, Janelle Monae will be performing at my school. This is the one time I have ever had any real interest in a visiting musical guest. It is my senior year. There are many, many reason why I should be in attendance. But, of course, I understand. I understand that, especially recently, you've had a lot for me to do. I understand that there is purpose in seemingly random things. I understand that I am supposed to be learning.

But given that you have been interacting with me quite a bit recently, and I have, in fact, been doing the best I can to carry out the things that I am supposed to carry out, I would like to - with great courtesy and respect, of course - ask for Saturday evening to myself.

You can have the morning. You already have the morning. But once the exterminator leaves, and I'm finished with the three hours of Spanish homework, and I've washed everything own for the third time in a week, is it at all possible that you could just give me those last few hours? Just those. Just while Janelle Monae is onstage. I don't need the rest of the concert.

Thank you, Universe, for taking the time to read through this. Should you need me, I have a feeling you know where I live. I have not enclosed a resume since, again, I'm fairly certain you know all that, and most of it isn't really relevant.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Nelly Nickerson

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