Time-delay Existential Crisis: Were those the best days of my life?

10 Oct

For all that you all know about Latte Boy and my quarter-life crisis, or what Polly and I did last weekend, you don’t really know all that much about the millions of important little things that make me, well, me. (The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Florence and the Machine, Grüner Veltliner, Talisker, and English Toffee are Book, Music, Wine, Whisky, and Sweet, respectively.)

But you also don’t know one really really big thing about me. I mean, hugely defining.

I did a cappella in college.

No, I WAS a cappella in college.

(This is not an exaggeration. My four years spent as the human embodiment of an activity will be confirmed by both Circe and Polly, should you care to inquire.)

For four years I spent upwards of 30 hours a week singing or thinking about singing with a group of girls that I loved and hated on alternate days. Three of those four years I spent as not just member, but musical director.

At graduation, I calmly boxed this experience in a mental storage unit labeled College Extracurricular Activities and went on my merry, newly adult way. In some ways I was even relieved to be graduating. Three years is a long time to be musical director of one of these groups. A long fucking time.

Since graduating, I’ve been pretty good about the whole letting go and moving on and transitioning to valued/respected alumna status. I try to give only solicited advice. If I share songs with one or several of the girls still in the group it’s more because I have a problem with needing everyone to hear my new artist of the week and less because I think they should add the songs to their set (though, I will admit, this is sometimes an ulterior motive/added bonus).

So, yea. I have grown up and moved on in a lot of ways. I rarely watch our old YouTube videos. BOCA (Best of College A Cappella) is no longer a playlist on my iPod. But I still beatbox in the car (much to Circe’s chagrin) and imagine arrangements in my head. I probably always will.

So, imagine my excitement when the Pitch Perfect trailer hit the Interwebs.

No joke, I set the date to see this movie on it’s release date (Oct. 5) all the way back in JULY.

So I sat in the theatre with two other a cappella alums after a delicious Mexican dinner high in both calories and alcohol by volume and proceeded to watch my entire college experience play out on the big screen, only remastered and with more projectile vomiting.

We giggled. We sighed. We maybe even cried a little.

We over-identified a whole heck of a lot.

We loved it and seriously contemplated staying to see it again at the next showing. And the next… And the next… And the next…

Instead, we left the theatre humming “Just the Way You Are” and annoyed passersby with our rusty attempts at harmony.

Evening well spent.

That was Friday.

In the meantime I have gone to Oktoberfest with Polly and a street festival with several of our friends and just generally had time to digest what I saw and what I felt between Anna Kendrick stepping out of the cab and the final credits.

A little more personal info: If I were a character in the movie, I’d be an amalgam of Aubrey (uptight director bitch who always thinks she’s right) and Beca (awesome newcomer with Big Ideas and the guts to pull them off played by the delightful Anna Kendrick). I was a good musical director, I think, but definitely a flawed one. Like Aubrey, I thought I knew best all of the time (and if I ended up being right 99.98% of the time, well… knock me over with a feather). Like Aubrey, my patience with the girls often wore thin – they were never as committed, never as driven, never as pitch perfect (ha) as I imagined in my scheming. But like Beca I was easily frustrated by the group’s seeming reluctance to be daring, chafing against the confines of campus preconceptions. Also like Beca, I was tossed a pitch pipe only to have it land in a giant puddle of vomit. No, not really. But there was some ceremony involved.


Monday morning a friend popped up on Gchat: The Pitch Perfect soundtrack is on Spotify!!!!

Done. Soundtrack to my day. That movie was awesome! My weekend was wonderful! The loveliness cannot help but continue.

So. Much. Melancholy.

Is this the real reason BOCA is no longer a playlist on my iPod?

Can I not listen to a cappella music any more because it reminds me of all the late late late weekday nights I am no longer spending in a basement room with a half-tuned piano and a bunch of ladies in leggings?

Do I not want to attend their concert this December because I am old and it’s time to move on or because I’m afraid that I’m old and haven’t moved on at all?

In other words, were those experiences encapsulated in a 90 minute comedy the best years of my life that I will subsequently purchase and watch over and over and over again in an attempt to vicariously relive the glory days through fictional characters, as if somehow this is less pathetic than making a YouTube playlist of my own triumphs and failures?

Polly is self-actualizing with voice lessons (and I am more jealous than I care to admit). But where do I go from here?

Professional a cappella is, for me at least, not an option (not least because it would feel like a regression, an admission of defeat – it would be tantamount to proclaiming to the universe that college was, indeed, the best four years of my life). Singing in the shower just isn’t cutting it and my Beltway Belting audience is more inclined to look askance than applaud my performance…

Looking up used keyboards and open mics on Craigslist. Brb.

(Actual Review: Go see Pitch Perfect RIGHT NOW because it is hysterical and Anna Kendrick is AWESOME.)


3 Responses to “Time-delay Existential Crisis: Were those the best days of my life?”

  1. Molpadia (Molly) October 15, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    YAY I can share this with you. A Cappella was a BFD for me, too, until it wasn’t at all.


    • Penthesilea (Penny) October 15, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

      How did I not know this Tumblr existed?!

      • Molpadia (Molly) October 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

        It is absolute perfection.

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