When Magic Came to Boren -
08-30-2011, 07:21 PM
I lived in Boren, USA. What's it like? Well, the name says it all--it's borin'! It's one of those so-called "bedroom communities", with nice, neat suburban homes that look all alike, built on what used to be someone's family farm. A few churches, three schools, a public library with not much to offer in the way of anything new, a single strip mall that passes for our "shopping district", a small park with an even smaller play area, and a "civic center", which houses our fire department, police station, city hall and district court. We all go to work or go to school, and come home to eat and sleep, then do it all over again the next day. It is the same old, dull routine day after day after day.
I was bored most of the time. Scratch that--I was bored all of the time! Bored of this pathetic one-horse town, bored with the same faces I saw every day, bored with my parents, who themselves are boring. They are so predictable, it's maddening. I could tell what we were going to have for dinner simply by the day of the week. Sunday: pot roast. Monday: meatloaf. Tuesday: chicken pot pie. Wednesday: spaghetti. Thursday: beef stew. Friday; fish fillets. Saturday: leftovers. No variation, except on Thanksgiving or Christmas, when we had turkey.
And speaking of Christmas, even that had become boring. I got the same things every year, despite the list I gave my folks. A sweater, a bath gift basket, and money from my parents, a pair of crocheted slippers from Gran, and a McDonalds gift certificate (they are now issuing cards instead) from Uncle Mike, who is a manager at the local Mickey D's. At least with the money I could get what I really want. The only good thing was the food, the only break in the routine, as I mentioned before.
Oh, excuse me. I forgot to introduce myself. I was a little embarrassed at first because my parents gave me the most boring name in the world. Jane. Plain Jane. Jane Marie Terrell. I'm twenty now, but this story I am writing took place during my high school years. Bear with me. I am no Jane Austin, but I am pretty good with the written word.
Anyway, as I said before, my parents are boring, even by Boren standards. Every Sunday, we'd go to the same little white church and listen to the same dreary sermons delivered by the same dreary minister, the Reverend Quentin. I confess I had nodded off a few times. So did the rest of the congregation, for that matter. Every July, it was the annual family reunion in some God-forsaken field, with too much potato salad and too little shade from the sun. I'd come home with a wicked sunburn every year, despite my best efforts to cover up. It's a wonder I haven't had skin cancer! And every December, we'd stand out at the civic center, freezing our butts off, listening to our mayor blather on about the Christmas spirit and civic pride as we waited for him to light the big Christmas tree at the annual Lightfest. Every Memorial Day, the family held its holiday barbecue in the garage because it always rains on Memorial Day weekend where we live. And every birthday, I'd get a card or two and a grocery store birthday cake.
Oh, geez, I'm probably boring you myself! As I said, bear with me. I want you to get an idea of just how boring Boren and my life there really was, before he showed up.
There were, however, a few highlights in my life, a few breaks in the routine. 9-11 for example. True, it was a tragedy of massive proportions, scaring us all (I had nightmares for a week), but it did shake Boren out of its complacency, if only for a week or two. I was in junior high school at the time, second hour social studies, when the announcement came on the PA system. We were all bewildered, wondering just what happened. I remember a few jerks who were happy just to be let out of school early. Only when I got home and turned on the TV did it all sink in. Boren pulled itself together and collaborated with the other cities and townships next to us and held a fundrasing carnival, with games, food, crafts (all red, white and blue, stars and stripes) and a Corvette raffled off. I don't remember how much money was raised, but it was quite a bit. Still, it was a welcome relief from the same old same old. Three weeks later, Boren fell back into its familiar patterns.
We also had a series of arson cases, set by some local teens who were just as bored as I was, if not more so. I mean, I was bored, true, but not enough to set someone's house on fire. It did show how dull life was around Boren. People will do anything, even break the law, for a little excitement in their lives.
So how did I cope? What did I do to alleviate the boredom in my life growing up in Boren? Well, I had one escape--the movies. Man, I lived for the weekend guide in the newspaper to find out what was playing where. The best theaters were in other towns, like St. Georges or Motton. Boren had a theater, but it went out of business when the big megaplexes came into being. At first, I had to beg my mom to let me see this movie or that, but she always had to read the reviews before she gave permission, which was rarely, because she was trying to "protect" me from "unfit material", whatever the hell that meant. When I turned fifteen, and started earning my own money (babysitting or whatever), I stopped asking permission and just went. Just like that. And it was the most exhilarating experience of my life, doing what I wanted to do for the first time! The movies became my life; I wanted to go into film when I graduated from high school. My parents, true to form, sought to discourage me from my dreams and go into a more "sensible" career, like nursing or teaching. Something with benefits, they said. The arts had no real future as a career, they said.
But the movies were an escape from the dullness of reality for me. I could lose myself in the plot of a really good one, become one with the characters, only to be jolted back into the world when the credits rolled. Then I was plain Jane again. No future, no life to speak of, just existing in an endless grey void until the next movie came on.
But there was one time, during my junior and senior years of high school, when magic came to Boren, in the form of a man who went by the name of Criss Angel...