May 14th, 2006

Abby Robitaille must read this.

Duties of Neverland.

I've been constantly running words and sentences through my head as I walk anywhere on the sidewalk or the road or even the carpet of my floor. They're words about Burlington; I'm trying to convey them to myself in a way that makes sense to me enough to merit an invitation to this book that doesn't exist. With every step I'm trying to imagine a long table, or maybe it's round, but it's big, and it seats every one of us. I'm trying to imagine if we are all situated at that table and trying to figure out a successful means of learning the secrets of the foundation our generation has made so that we can further it, better it, and make sure it lasts forever. We're all there; the people whose voices never went unheard in this town, and we are assigning each head a task so important to the heart and backbone of Burlington that one task ignored grants our entire civilization to the generation that follows us, whether they be good for it or not.

With each step I take on the sidewalk, I think about the gathering of those people and I wonder, of all of us there, of all the tasks assignable, why do they turn to me when documentation is concerned? Why should they? It's as if in those steps, nobody outside of that place cares about the inner workings of it, and nobody inside cares about the outside not caring. At that point it's too valuable to overlook and something must be said, even if nobody ends up listening but the people who are saying it, and those that are a part of the story. I feel as if the task is unthinkably impossible, as I am but one person with one perspective that must somehow find a way to explain a place that not even those that have been selling hot dogs in the same place for the past twenty years can explain, which explains why they're still going to that same place every day to sell hot dogs. IS there even an explanation? Can I, as the girl that everyone knows sitting at that big table as the one who writes forever about the place she never leaves, find the mental capacity to not only fathom the unfathomable, but make it perfectly clear to even those that have never stopped to fathom anything?

I sit there at that table as they consider my name for the task in question. "Someone must write about it. Someone must write the book about Burlington," they say, and it is a debate between me and very very few others. Everybody has their task, and they're able-bodied for their assigned undertaking, perfectly equipped for the job from birth and upbringing as if Burlington made sure they focused on one thing in particular to prepare them for this very task. There are those who drink wine to the very last taste bud on their tongues. Those who love more than anyone around has ever even imagined. There are those who draw and paint and take pictures. Those who smoke weed from the depths of Vermont's most vibrant crops. There are those who step like no others on a six-block dance pad taped to the floor, those who were known in high school for their sadistic, slutty, or stupid tendencies. There are those who are infamous for their undying hatred for that very place, and those whose names are widespread simply because they hold the record for most steps taken on Church Street. There are the heads of each crew, and each of their independent nemeses from other rival crews. There are those who can skate faster down a hill than anyone has ever experienced, or those who have swum the furthest out into the depths of lake Champlain, or maybe even those who have given the most head out on the piers at night. There are those who work at certain infamous places, those who play in certain infamous bands, and those who always end up at certain infamous situations. There are those who can play better than others, and those who can work better than anyone.

There is one body, and a mind to go with it, for every single element of that place, because not a single being seems to go unnoticed and unannounced, and that's why it's impossible not to know the people you've never even met; that's why everybody knows everybody else's business and that's why we are always ahead in the game of lasting forever and building an empire that is an essence of our generation. And I feel I am important, because while I cannot skate the fastest or dance the hardest or burp the loudest or rock the coolest, I am the one that writes, and that means if I choose to accept the task granted to me at that imaginary table that I see when I walk the streets of another city, I must learn, understand, and explain all of those aforementioned elements and the thousands more that make this empire valuable. I must do it in a way that is monotone enough for the unknowing to understand and care about, yet in a way that pleases the neon faces I'm describing and sitting before. And if in the end it's a bomb, and we realize that indeed nobody outside our little world cares about who we are and what we've done to guarantee our undying youth, it'll be OK, because it will have always been valuable enough to us, or at least enough to me, to make sure its immaculacy is documented properly.