Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Cue the Rembrandts Song

I spent the weekend at my parents' house, sleeping in my former bedroom which hasn't been changed since I moved out. Curling into the comforter there is like Quantum Leap-ing to 1997, a time of ill-advised 'Rachel' haircuts* teased high enough to snag traffic helicopters, Blackstreet CDs, and a disturbing number of accessories with flames stitched on them. The walls are still decorated with David Duchovny pictures** and a large collection of Nick Faldo*** clippings, arranged with such precision that it's one more '96 Masters headline from being that Laces Out, Dan brand of creepy. The showpiece of the room--what really ties those Thrasher-stickered dressers together--is the collection of Absolut bottles each filled with a glowing yellow liquid, courtesy of dissolving a highlighter in them. This was the ultimate high school collectible, one that said both “I have access to empty liquor bottles” and also “I enjoy wasting office supplies."

Anyway, I was rummaging through my closet trying to find my copy of The Great Gatsby because I thought reading about disillusioned rich people would make me feel better about being disillusioned and unable to pay my phone bill. I never found the Fitz but I did unearth a rhyming dictionary with a Post-It marking the page suggesting that I rhyme Druid with fluid, proving that I would be the worst rapper ever. Pushing back several of my father's retired sports coats, I found a stack of high school yearbooks sandwiched between a number of texts from one of my college acting classes. If there was ever a perfect Lunchable of literature, that would be it. What else is high school but eight semesters of pretending you're something you're not? I spent the first two years trying to convince myself I wasn't a golfer and the last two convincing everyone else that I wasn't a lesbian.

More than once I've caught myself doing the same thing, trying to reinvent myself as Version 2.0 when I start a new job or move into a new building only to realize within a few weeks that it's pointless, that I'm always going to be categorized with the same set of Breakfast Club-y labels like The Princess or The Basket Case or The Girl With Bad Skin Who Insists On Wearing Nothing But T-Shirts Promoting Bands That No Longer Exist or Those Whose Diluted Version Featuring One Original Member Plays Riverboat Cruises or the State Fair.

Yes, that means you, Jefferson Airplane Starship Airplane.

Speaking of concerts, I got home last night in time for my neighbor's nightly piano recital, unpacking as she enthusiastically pounded out Patsy Cline songs, accompanying herself with a distorted croon loud enough to attract a stray whale. She's turned her bedroom into a concert hall and claims not to even own a bed--as if that's some point of pride even though most people who sleep sheetless are either homeless or on suicide watch. Since learning this fun fact, I've pictured her hanging upside down batlike, her snugly bunned hair danging like a Lady Clairol-ed chandelier above a number of sweater storage boxes from the Container Store.

So she plays for a couple of hours at a time, beating out Nashville's B-sides to herself like Jerry Lee Loser, although last night she branched out and either attempted to compose something moody and ominous or she was trying to swat a moth off the keys. It's distracting, but it also provides a cinematic score to my life, making everything I do seem more dramatic, whether I'm finishing a bottle of Gatorade, alphabetizing my failures, or cutting out another picture of Nick Faldo.

* I so wanted to be Rachel Green, underemployed waitress with overlayered hair. And look at how I turned out: an underemployed shoe sales associate with a haircut I borrowed from Clay Aiken. Sigh. I probably should've watched more Murphy Brown.
** Was anyone else shocked to see D2 go to the 'hab for sex addiction? Maybe I should've followed up on that letter I wrote him shortly after he was in Playing God. I like to believe he'd remember it, if not for the sharp prose then because I was one of seven people to actually see that movie. Or maybe because I ENCLOSED A PICTURE OF MYSELF. Read that sentence again. In the picture that I sent to a television personality, I was wearing not only a minor-league attempt at The Rachel Hair but also a t-shirt that said "Bubba Gump Shrimp". And a silk vest decorated with a pastel hued map of Europe. I still can't understand why he didn't respond.
*** If any large media outlet would like to send me to the Ryder Cup to cover Nick Faldo with my scrawny limbs international golf, send me an email.


The Dutchess of Kickball said...

I know of plenty of people who announce they don't own a tv because it makes them all bohemian and earthy and rightious, but I'm pretty sure having no bed just means you are poor.

Nate said...

Oh, Blackstreet. Nothing brings back memories of high school than suburban white kids pretending that they, more than anyone, identify with the urban plight by playing Blackstreet and, to a lesser degree, the Beastie Boys. Makes me want to eat at Olive Garden.

punchlinewalking said...

Hell yeah, I had the Rachel. That was right before I got the Sliding Doors haircut. I currently have Nicole Richies' haircut. What can I say, I'm a sucker.

Laura said...

I upgraded in college: I used an empty bottle of Absolut as a base, filling it with decorative colored glass stones (like those ones in fishtanks), and attaching a bulb and lampshade to the top.

thecusp said...

I just received a 'save the date' email about my next high school reunion. Yeah, I'm really going to 'save the date' for something that's not happening for a year. Especially since I've not attended the last two due to the following happening on the same weekend:
1) Someone died
2) Getting married to an A-Hole
Maybe I should simply go ahead and 'save the date' so I can be better prepared for something sucky happening?

Sarah said...

one more '96 Masters headline from being that Laces Out, Dan brand of creepy

"Ray Finkle's is my Graceland!" (instead of working on my senior honors thesis in college I memorized every line of this movie.) "Obsess much?"

with a haircut I borrowed from Clay Aiken.

Please tell us it was this Clay and not this one (god, could he look any gayer there?). Please for the love of God.

Was anyone else shocked to see D2 go to the 'hab for sex addiction?

Yes. Yes, I was. My obsession with Ace Ventura was rivaled only by my obsession with Dave and the X-Files. I think I cried a little when I heard he married that tall skinny broad.

ÄsK AliCë said...

I love the idea of having a dramatic soundtrack to your life! Though, it could get old pretty fast I would imagine...

Vanilla said...

Your room hasn't been changed since you moved out? I always thought that just happened in movies when the main character needed a reminder of how unjaded they used to be or how big their dreams were. My parents couldn't wait to re-do my room when I moved out.

sassafrasjunction said...

My dad, to my continuing horror and shame, has delegated my childhood pad to be a shrine to his new combined interests. Ergo, my old room looks like a cross between a Florida Gator Nation hideout and the local Republican Nat'l convention site. My yearbooks? Probably under his pile of collected near-naked pics of Rush Limbaugh.

WendyB said...

I want to see that photo.

JustinS said...

I need a ruling on something.

Which is worse: the T-Shirts Promoting Bands That No Longer Exist... guy or the guy I passed the other day jogging around in a turquoise "Word to Your Mother" muscle shirt?

It's a battle for second place, though. Nobody beats the middle-aged woman wearing a Gryffindor letterman jacket.

R.J. Cookenboo said...

Dear Lord, Blackstreet. Rollin' with the phatness! Ugh now I'm going to have that sh*t in my head all day. THANKS.
Our idea of decor was making it look like Spencer's exploded in our room- complete with glow in the dark posters, lava lamps, and a blacklight. We were hippies listening to hip-hop I guess.

Falwless said...

I'm not even kidding when I say I would totally hire you to write something, if I owned something where I could totally hire people to write stuff. Like, seriously. You'd be kissing those shoes goodbye and saying hello to the high life, lady.

But, for now, I'll just go back to this banking job and you go fit those Aerosoles on that plump middle-aged lady. We'll meet back here at a later date and regroup, what say you?

Tracer Bullet said...

Ah, yes. Blackstreet. One of the 437 bands that sounded the same and existed solely to keep Teddy Riley from working as a stock boy in a Broward County Piggly Wiggly. Like he's doing now.

P.O.M. said...

Just catching up. I'm sorry about Peru.

And I think I still have the "Rachel" hair cut.

Do you watch "Californication?" Art follows life. Or is it life following art?

Tuffy said...

It's one thing to be enamored by accents; it's another to be so obsessed with them that even a mumble passes as sexy.

Craig said...

Having first read this entry on Facebook, I now realize that the lack of strikethrough tag there really kills some of the best funny. Well played.

nrichie2345 said...

your posts are always so well written and entertaining! I always come back to Great Gatsby for some crazy reason and I love Patsy Cline!

nancypearlwannabe said...

Uh, I once sent a picture of myself to Ricky Schroeder. Just sayin'.

Alya said...

OMG, noisy neighbours are the worst! On the other hand, you are one of the rare breed of people who have a soundtrack to their life..

Alexandra said...

I know you get this all the time, but I just wanted to say how entertained I am by your blog. I have to be careful when I start reading something because I inevitably end up backtracking and reading all the posts I haven't read before, laughing my ass off in inappropriate places (ie the library) and generally procrastinating way beyond what is considered healthy. But thanks :) I love it every time.

aoc gold said...

O Sailor, Come Ashore

(Part I)

O sailor, come ashore

What have you brought for me?

Red coral , white coral,

Coral from the sea.

(Part II)

I did not dig it from the ground ,

Nor pluck it from a tree;

Feeble insects made it

In the stormy sea.

~by aoc gold