you'll have to forgive me; its 2:30 in the morning and i am very tired. i just wanted to say that tonight, watching my 7th cty talent show, while i can repeat and firmly believe that there is life after cty (and there really is, i've seen it and it is good), that 'other' life is certainly not the same life in which a kid on a trumpet can play 10 solid minutes of video game jingles and get applause, and where a single guy can play indian drums and violin and lay down a mean indian rap, and where 3 girls can put together a song so emotional and true that it makes me cry. yes, i officially left cty 4 years ago. but obviously i never quite got over it, since i'm back now and i'll keep coming back as long as they'll let me, and i'm glad i haven't let myself lose something that was such an essential part of my life for so long. i dont like to romanticize and dramaticize things unnecessarily, but theres something to be said for hearing 'american pie' in a college cafeteria a total of 20 times over the past 8 years, and knowing that it will still give me chills when it plays for the 21st. i'm sure people think i'm crazy when i say that i really do love this place, and what it stands for, especially as things are changing and the nature of the institution has shifted dramatically from what it used to be. sometimes i feel like i lived in the 'good old days,' when i could cross a street by myself and watch my RAs dress up in drag and *gasp* even order chinese whenever i wanted. but at the same time, the evolution of the program is just that: change in the interest of self-preservation. becoming a more legitimate program has allowed cty to attract more people and gain the trust of more parents, so that we can invite more kids to have the same crazy experience we've all been having for years. i dont like it either, but i know its necessary, and while i'm disapointed that so many of my favorite kids are (at the moment) choosing not to return next year, i know that when they go home and see the alternative, they'll want to come back. i did. i really dont think they trust me when i say that when i was here, i felt just what they're feeling, and to a certain extent, i still do. i dont think they believe me when i say long-distance cty relationships can work pretty damn well, and that canon really is sacred to us old folks (we do all still know the words to 'end of the world,' dont we?), and that jon good really did exist and his name has no 'h'. i know that because i knew him, and everytime they (we) yell his name during american pie, i shake my head. he got his legend by loving people; how perfect. i dont think my kids know how seriously i take them, and how much i respect their opinions and their ideas and their friendships and relationships, and my friendship with them. i dont think they believe me when i tell them that i'm still best friends with people i havent seen in years, and that i expect to be best friends with them years from now. i dont think these kids notice me when i cry during stairway, and i'm glad they dont, because its not about me anymore, its about them. but i hope when they're almost 20 that they remember how vividly cty struck them, and how much it changed them. i hope it has changed them. how could it not?