Nothing is as it seems anymore.
I took a 5 minute "break" tonight to get a Dairy Queen with my mom. I was sitting in our SUV in the parking lot of DQ, thinking. I looked over to the Carius Root Beer Stand and saw the lights flicker off. It was 9pm, and the place was closing. A girl stood by the screened windows slid them shut, locking up for the night.
It took me back to when I worked at DQ. I started when I was 14 years old. Owned and operated by a dear family in Morton who are friends and relation to our own, it was an amazing place of employment. Summer nights would bring scads of people, with 2 lines reaching out to the street corners. Little kids ordering blizzards too big to finish, friends walking up and ordering mister mistys, and friends waving outside the window... all of this would pepper the outer perimeter of DQ. You could work one night and see more people you knew than in 7 days put together. It was lively, fun, and a great high school job.
All of this still seems so fresh on my mind. I feel like I was there just yesterday. Just yesterday. Just yesterday, wasn't my friend and I going out every summer night? This evening, one of my good friends texted me to see if I wanted to go roller blading. Sadly, I had to decline because of my giant to-do work list, but it took me back. It took me back to the warm summer nights when Laura and I would go roller blading almost every evening. We would strap on our blades and take off, owning the street, or so we thought. Sometimes we'd stop at the gas station and get Gatorade; sometimes we'd grab DQ, or sometimes we would just roller blade our 8-mile route and then sit out on my driveway upon returning and talk for hours. Our wheels would often get caught in the hot tar on the road and we'd trip and fall. Once we even roller bladed to Steak 'n Shake in East Peoria, but that's a whole nother story for a different time.
It's the time of graduation parties. What is weird for me is that I feel like that was just yesterday, too. Lately I have been stuck in something of a time crisis. I feel like life has rushed on without me. It's as if I should still be in high school, roaming the halls, stopping at my locker to grab a book, and writing a paper for class. In so many ways I still feel like I'm 16. Is that weird? I hate to say it, but it's almost as if I can't accept it that I'm not that young anymore.
Then I think aout how much I've been through since then and it seems like a really long time ago. We fast forward to early HS graduation. I was out of Morton HS by the end of the first semester of my senior year. That January I started full-time at ICC. It was marvelous. I had class 2 days a week and had M-W-F OFF to work at... you guessed it-- Dairy Queen!
ICC days were fantastic. I loved them. It was a clean slate for my life as far as I was concerned. I remember thinking that people were so different, more "real." All the high school pettiness seemed to fade away and in walked a whole new crowd. And I was loving every second of it. I quickly became a huge socialite with many new friends and activities to invade my calendar. I was also very happy with the Multimedia degree I was obtaining... a lot of really fun classes.
ISU was equally amazing. More great people... living away from home... an awesome Arts Tech program... a wonderful internship at Caterpillar.
Then I graduated from ISU.
Talk about a skewed reality on time. I feel like I just graduated from high school yesterday and in reality, I've been graduated from college for 2 years!
And now here I am. In 2009... just taking the last bites out of my chocolate dipped cone.
Do I have to grow up?
Love you all. T