28 July 2009
I've been thinking about the past a lot because I went to my 10 year high school reunion over the weekend. The reunion was in Oklahoma. Every time I go there I stay in my old room, which hasn't changed since I left. The beautiful thing about reunions--reuniting with old friends or family, reuniting with an old room, or reuniting with memories--is that they don't always mean a return to the past; sometimes a reunion is just a chance for the past to meet you in the present for a brief bit of fun. Sure, there's a whiff of nostalgia, but if you do it right it can be more like sharing a drink and a cigarette with an old part of yourself.
I love my past, but I don't want to go back there. Luckily there are a few things that decided to meet me halfway:
My old backyard. That camper has been there for longer than I can remember. I'm not sure what's in it. At one time there's was bee's nest in it, but it's gone now. This backyard has seen the passing of many a pet: Old Yeller, Charlie (the dachsund, not the brother), Zebulon, that one Siberian Husky, and Bear - those are just the ones in my lifetime. The backyard is now home to a momma cat and her 4 kittens (they form the tiny little black and white spot to the right of the camper).
The football field at my high school. I went to every Moore High School football game they played my senior year. Most people who know me now would not be surprised by this - I have a thing for straight guys in uniforms.
Clothing that I should have gotten rid of ages ago. The white dress was a holdover from the drag show I did in New York with Seth and Leslie. I kept it thinking maybe we would reprise the roles. I never thought about the possibility of replacing the dress with an updated costume in the event of a revival.
The brown shirt and the cardigan belonged to my grandfather. That's all. I have no memory of him wearing either item - I just kept them because they were once his. For a very brief period I had shoulder length hair and when I wore that cardigan people said that I looked like Kurt Cobain. The only other "famous" person people said I looked like was the blonde kid from Step By Step.
And finally, an old picture of me that I found tucked away in my desk. What can I say? I was a little bit country, a touch gay, a healthy amount of nerd, and wanted to travel the globe. Blondes have all the fun.
22 July 2009
14 July 2009
Some highlights from my recent life in Los Angeles:
PRODUCE AND ANXIETY
During the summer I have Fridays off, and use most of them to act like a stay at home mom. I do the laundry, go to Target, get the car serviced, do housework, and of course, go grocery shopping. This past Friday I made my way to Super King, our nearest “supermarket”. I thought that arriving at 8am when they opened would ensure an easy in/easy out situation, only to find a line of people waiting for the doors to open. Upon entering the store, I was faced with a ravaged produce section replete with old men flinging eggplants into the air and women with screaming children thumping and sniffing melons. Everything was covered in a fine layer of corn silk and onion skin.
I managed to white-knuckle my carriage (that’s what real east-coasters call a shopping cart) about 15 feet further into the store when I had to stop short. An immense woman blocking my path was leaning over a bin of plums. As she rifled through the fruit, her pendulous breasts lightly swept to and fro across her discards. I broke out into a cold sweat, knowing something was coming. Sure enough, she caught a twinkle in her lazy right eye and stretched out to snatch a deep purple prize from the opposite corner of the bin. Without fully standing upright, she took a deep bite out of the plum, pursed her lips, wiped a dribbling line of nectar from her chin, and THREW IT ON THE FLOOR. Considering an escape, I hesitated in front of the sign advertising a sale on tomatoes.
I engaged autopilot and the rest of my shopping was a blur. I think I sold my soul for 39 cents a pound. 39 cents a pound!
SQUARE FOOTAGE AND DISGUST
That same day, I accompanied a friend of mine to a number of apartment buildings downtown. The prize for the day went to The Grand Promenade, not for their claustrophobic layouts, nor their dumpy exterior, but for the brutal olfactory assault one experiences upon entering the lobby.
We crossed the threshold of the building and our discovery of a quaint if dated indoor marble fountain was undercut by the pervasive odor of Febreeze, Tom’s of Maine deodorant, and this varicose vein tincture I once used in college (it’s a long story I’d rather not go into right now). But that was only an introduction, an amuse nez if you will. The main course was presented to us when we took the elevator up to the Management Office, and the doors opened into a hallway filled with what I can only describe as a mixture of feces and cheap cologne. I was assailed by the immediate image of a man performing a home enema with Old Spice. The smell was, no doubt, due in large part to the public “restrooms” (much like the Super King “supermarket”, these terms seem…less than apt) located directly between said elevator and the office.
The vision of that old man and his secret spicy perversion haunted me throughout our visit/tour, and was only kept at bay by my full concentration on breathing through my mouth.
TCHOTCHKES AND CONFUSION
A few days later Taylor and I decided to brave the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena to continue our nesting campaign at the new place. We arrived at 9am to find things in full swing. The clientele was a regular spring salad mix. The most visibly irksome individuals were the occasional flea market shoppers/hipsters out to score anything that can be remotely construed as “vintage”. Glasses, clothing, kitchenware, etc. “Yeah, come over and bring some cocaine and PBR. I want to show you these vintage forceps I bought last week”.
Others were a bit more professional. I dubbed these "seasoned flea marketeers". One such fellow was a morbidly obese man whose dark sweatpants had all the right perspiration stains in all the wrong places. He came fully equipped with a collapsible metal cart AND a Bluetooth headset. He was there when we arrived, there when we left, and definitely in attendance for the long haul.
Then there were the real pros, the veterans of the flea market circuit. My favorite of the day was a woman of perhaps sixty, with a breezy white top, classy straw hat, and those confusing sunglasses that are either BluBlockers or those meant for the legally blind. I spied her poring over some Fire King glass. It was her stately “Queen of the Garbage Heap” demeanor and a silver-tipped cane etched down one side with the phrase “Lady Bubba” that tipped me off to her status as a big fish in a little shitty-costume-jewelry-and-broken-Super8-camera-infested pond.
It was only a while later when, passing an old full-length mirror adorned with ratty animal print scarves that I got a good look at the piranha staring back at me, so taken with the bloodlust that accompanies the widespread ridicule of others that he doesn’t realize he’s eating his own kind.
We left shortly thereafter, and all the way home in the car all I could think about was whether or not I’d have “Countess Bubba” carved onto my collapsible metal cart, or my gnarled imitation oak walking stick.