I am so fucking cool.

And really, I have no idea how it happened.

In high school, I spent pretty much 97% of my time congratulating myself on how I wasn’t like “all the rest of them” and owning my status as a social pariah with a cape of bitterness and caustic wit.

Several years ago my tagline on Match.com was “I am not cool, but I am pretty awesome.” I believed it at the time. Match didn’t go that well for me.

Tonight I went up to campus in what the radar assured me was a period of rain-free skies. After a lecture at the Ransom Center and a quick workout, I called a friend as I walked to my scooter. [Aside: here you may note several elements of uncoolness, namely radar-checking and a voluntary lecture on historical film artifacts, followed by a definite marker of cool: the robin’s egg blue scooter that is my current mode of transit.]

To my dismay, fat drops of rain began to plop on my head when I reached the bike. Cursing, I ran underneath the porch of one of the limestone awnings at the center of the 40 Acres. I paced the walkway listening to my friend talk about her recent trip to my former home, and the sensation of cold rain spitting up at me on a warm night triggered something in the depths of my memory.

Other nights faded in and out of my consciousness as I only half paid attention to the voie on the other end of the phone. I recalled a frantic race down Biscayne Boulevard on my old Vespa, racing the outer storm bands of hurricane Wilma to my apartment in Miami. I reached down for the pockets of my jeans, expecting to feel the heavy weight of sodden denim, remembering a summer evening stuck in traffic at the top of the Manhattan Bridge as water poured down my helmet.

On my ride home that night through the tail end of the storm, I thought to myself “Hey, self, you’ve been lots of places, seen lots of things! That’s cool!”

I’ve also acquired a sense of self-posession and self-knowledge that is another sort of “cool” or at the very least a calm. I used to protest vociferously that I didn’t give a damn what other people thought. Oh, but I did. As a real-honest-true grown up, I can acknowledge that I do care what certain people think (but maybe only certain special people).

I speak several languages, I’ve lived in other countries, I am an artist and an intellectual. I walk with authority in high heels, buy things on Etsy, make my own mole, have black plastic glasses, follow the hot new TV shows and used to write Brooklyn on my return address!

Holy shit, I’m cool.

Maybe it’s not that I’ve changed so much, but that the things that I do and that define me are now all of a sudden cool. I never wanted to tell anyone I read George R. R. Martin books, and years ago had a “dirty little secrets” conversation about it on my last co-ed soccer team. It didn’t matter that I watched Mad Men seasons the year after they aired because nobody else was watching it!

But now these things are “cool.” Hell, working in education is almost cool now, which is officially freaking me out.

My newly-discovered coolness feels odd and is difficult to reconcile with my awkward nature and general tendency towards irreverent behavior including a propensity for non-sequiters. But I’m going to try out this new identity of “cool” and see how it feels.

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