May 22nd, 2003


A poorly structured letter to someone I don't even know.

I have an online friend who I 'met' Freshman year of college and still keep in touch with. He's in the Air Force, and a number of months ago started dating this ''girl he knows from work,'' who he absolutely loves. I've never seen him talk about anyone the way he talks about her. It's really sort of refreshing.

And lately he kept asking me to write her an e-mail, to talk him up, to say hi-- she's not currently in a place where she gets a lot of letters. So I did and as soon as I got her response back it was so grown-up and formal that I actually felt myself getting younger as I read it, until, at the end of the letter, I was about nine years old.

I can't even remember when I've had occasion to speak to anyone who seems that grown up, (I don't run with a real mature crowd) but the closest I can remember was in fourth grade when everyone in the class had to write a letter to a veteran and mine was this brilliant piece of work that went, "I'm ten years old in Mrs. Bridenbach's class and we're reading 'Strawberry Girl' and eating chinese food. Do you like being a veteran? What other things do you like? (Really classic, this pathetic card I sent out) "I really like badminton and reading but I wish I had more friends in school and my favorite teacher is Mister Marino."
And I got back this really nice response (I was the only one who got a response) that was so pleasant and formal that I thought the person I had written to must have been about a million years old.

So this is what her letter felt like to me. Like it was written by a woman of the world. And my friend keeps saying, "She really liked your letter. Write her back." And I want to because she seems like an extremely nice, decent person, and yet she's a fucking intelligence officer and I'm a 23 year old who spent 8 hours stuffing envelopes and working my way through two eighteen packs of Trident. And I guess it's just another 'what do I want to do with my life' slap in the face, since she's only 5 or 6 years older than I am and has a job with the word 'intelligence' right there in the title.

Anyhow-- I'm sure I'll give in eventually and write her back. And I'm sure her well thought out response and finely structured sentences will make me feel all of five. But whatever. I'm tough. I'll stick it out and take it like an eight year old.

If you need me, I'll be in the backyard, playing badminton.
(Which I love.)