Blame It on Rock and Roll – An Apology
I did eventually meet my b-mom. She blamed my very existence on rock-n-roll. The first thing she wanted to know was if I had any musical talent. I said, “No.” She sighed and replied that I must take after her. She said, “I thought when I met you I’d know who your daddy was, but damned if you don’t look just like me.” I’d grown up in a suburbia that I’d been told was sterile and hadn’t yet learned to appreciate its positive aspects, after all peace and prosperity are not bad things for a child, and I exulted in the addition of this colorful Americana. Suddenly, I had a great-granddaddy who had been shot to death by a sheriff during a poker game – and I was born from Rock-n-Roll. Under age girls, too young to even know what a condom is let alone to ask a man to use one, getting knocked up by guys who play guitar. We know it’s gotta be someone, so it might as well be me. Too bad I can’t sing. I think it’d make a good song.
At that time in my life, I was twenty-four, exactly half the age I am today, I was spending much of my time in the East Village, mostly in nightclubs and bars that hosted bands. Luscious, Stone and I would meet at Luscious’ place in Manhattan. We’d down a six-pack between the three of us, that would be two for Stone, one and a half for me and two and a half for Luscious. She’d complain that I drank too slowly and that it was time to get going, grab the bottle out of my hand and chug-a-lug the rest. She’d do this all night long. Luscious was tall, gorgeous, brilliant, secretly in love with me for some reason I couldn’t fathom, and more gonzo over rock-n-roll than anyone I’d ever met. Stone was an audio engineer whose particular area of expertise was rapidly becoming live broadcasts of bands. Me, I was the little one who tagged along after them.
It was a different world back then. “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”
I used to joke that I wasn’t really a liberal; I was a libertine. We drank and smoked and danced until dawn with great gusto and regularity. I’d ride back to Brooklyn with mascara staining my cheeks, going against the morning rush hour crowd. We were denizens of the night, working shitty jobs during the day and turning into something entirely different when the sun went down. “You look like a star – but you’re really still on the dole.” We never asked what was hip, or trendy, or cool. We were the answer, at least in our own minds. No one had yet heard of bottle service. Styles were different then. It took more creativity than money to look good.
“All of your friends are married, vanished or just left a note.” Some songs can make me cry – just not love songs. Then again, who’s to say which songs are really love songs. Maybe at some level, all songs are. Somebody turn up the volume before I get sentimental. It doesn’t flatter me.
Stone, he went bankrupt, left his apartment on the eve of eviction, and moved north. Me, I moved south. Luscious – who the fuck knows. She didn’t even leave so much as a note. Stone has wondered whether she’s alive or dead. Somewhere, I think she’s alive just to spite me.
I look around me and see a world I don’t know. I feel like I live in foreign country. With each passing day I feel more and more like a refugee from the past, a displaced person with no place to call home. I can’t go back. Home doesn’t exist anymore. New York has gotten absurdly expensive. The cost of living just went up and up while our incomes stagnated until we couldn’t make ends meet anymore. Even if I could afford New York, it’s changed. The East Village is clogged with trust fund babies pretending to be what we once were. Eurotrash now lives in a Brooklyn that’s “cool.”
I’ve been told that we live in a meritocracy, the rule of the people with merit. The gap between the haves and the have-nots grows, which means the gap between the rulers and the ruled grows. Some days it seems that everyone wants to prove that they have merit. Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Eat right. Exercise. Recycle. Turn out the lights. Avoid red meat. Work hard. Be monogamous. There are no more libertines. Where did my people go?
Better yet, where did my apology go?
Shortly after I started this blog, someone came by and liked one of my posts. When someone likes my posts and I don’t recognize him or her, I usually look to see if he or she has a blog. At that point, few people had liked any of my posts, so I was still especially thrilled when someone clicked the like button. I don’t recall which post it was, but it was probably about atheism because he also writes about that, far more often than I do.* I signed up to follow his blog. Since then, I’ve unfollowed a whole host of blogs because I was following too many and couldn’t keep up. His was on the chopping block.
That was Daz. His blog is called The Dixie Flatline. He can be funny and clever. Better yet, he puts up a music post every Friday night. I really liked his taste in music. It reminded me of Luscious. Weirdly, he reminds me of Luscious, however I doubt his tits are as beautiful. He did, however, once write a post about how the word titbit had been bowdlerized and turned into tidbit. Ever since, I’ve been looking for an excuse to use the sentence: Americans might have cute little chickadees but Europeans have great tits.
I became a regular lurker on his music posts. After a poor start, I began participating regularly. But you see, I had a problem, I was constantly getting my nose out of joint. Yeah, I can be an a-number-one asshole sometimes. Unfortunately, it’s not a pose. I wish it was because it can be an emotional roller coaster for me. In any case, I stopped hanging around his blog.
Then yesterday, I looked up WordPress blogs tagged with atheism. I do that from time to time. If you write about atheism and I’ve liked one of your posts, there’s a high chance I found it that way. He doesn’t believe me and I can see why, but that’s how it happened. Over the years I’ve gotten pretty inured to the romanticization of American Indians. What I saw on the page of posts tagged atheism was an embedded video of the “Cherokee Morning Song.” I almost certainly would have ignored it had I not noticed Daz’s little avatar. As usual, I got my fucking nose out of joint, and I wrote a post about it. I won’t rehash that point. However, Daz feels that I portrayed him as a “stereotypical atheist who can’t stand anything with any connection to religion.” If I did so, then I gave a very incorrect impression. I barely know him at all, but from the little I do know I’d be surprised if he was a stereotypical anything. He is, most certainly, a unique person with interesting viewpoints or I wouldn’t have hung around his blog as long as I did. I feel that it is entirely my loss that I am too sensitive, too thin-skinned and too bad tempered to continue to enjoy his posts, especially his music posts, which I miss.
Daz, I apologize for misrepresenting you. It was not intentional. I should have been more thoughtful and explained it differently.
While I’m at it, I owe Daz another apology. When I was buying a ticket with my sister looking over my shoulder, she commented on the spelling errors because she didn’t recognized British spellings. Apparently, “everyone” doesn’t understand that the British, as well as many other Anglophones, spell some words differently from people in the U.S.
When I first started blogging you were threatening to stop and worse things. I am sooooo glad you stayed a Libertine. Me too.
I check out blogs tagged atheism, god or free will to see what other people are writing usually after I have read those on my reader.
I like your stories, really do.