If you were 17 would you.....

This is going to be one of my new rules: If the birds are singing when I get home after a night out, I probably stayed out too late ..... and yet, what is too late when you're having fun?

My good friend D posed these questions tonight at the pub. He asked, "If your 17-year-old self could meet you, would she like you? And if you met your 17-year-old self, would you like her?"

Immediately I answered yes, my 17-year-old self would like me. Take tonight, for example. She was a basketball jock, so she would like that I went on a 9-mile bike ride during a thunderstorm early this evening. She would like that I'm living in the heart of the city in an old house, and that I spend a lot of time socializing with people downtown and that I ride my bike from here to there on the sidewalks even though it's illegal to ride on the sidewalks. She would like the fresh tuna burger I ate at a trendy little restaurant with my friend the Architect, and the wine-tasting down in the District after. She would like the band playing live music at the pub and the sexy banter between friends. She would like that I still dance with long- haired boys and short-haired girls at a pulse-pounding nightclub. And she wouldn't be at all surprised that I come home with dirty filthy feet that I have to wash in the dewy grass before I come inside. We never liked wearing shoes. Yes, she would like me.

I answered the second question the same way. Yes, I would like my 17-year-old self even though she was a hard-headed little bitch with a mean tongue and a well developed distrust of grown ups ... but I would tell her I was worried about her and there are few things I'd like to tell her that might make things easier. She was a hard-drinking, smoking, kick-ass and ask questions never kind of girl. She left home when she was 17, and on her way out she said she'd never be back. I'd like to tell her it's OK to let people in .... except I'm not sure I believe that. I'd like to tell her those long-haired boys will grow up and they won't still be assholes, but that's not necessarily true --although some of them will be great friends. I'd like to tell her to quit smoking, for fuck's sake. Everything. Just stop it now. And that vodka isn't one of the 4 food groups.

I could go on and on about the things I'd like to tell her, but that's not the question. The question is whether I would like her. And the answer is yes. She was doing the best she could. It's so much easier to like her now than it was then when I thought she was too fat -- and too fat was the basket that held all her other faults.

She wouldn't like me giving her advice.

If the birds weren't chirping out there and I didn't have another bike ride scheduled just a few hours from now, I could say a lot more about this. But I'd rather hear from you.

Would you like 17-year-old self? Would your 17-year-old self like you?

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