Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Moving Under Ice

for Carl

Oh, those hung over late eighties Sunday mornings of my youth. Waking up to the taste of day old menthols and gin & tonics intermingling with the flavors of my post binge food of Little Debbies and Fritos. They were the highlight of the weekend. Scot was always up hours before me, and gave me 15 minutes before he headed out the door for Unique thrift store, in case I wanted to go with him.
That is, unless I succeeded in dragging my ass out of bed early enough (Damn you MTV!) for us to watch Just Say Julie together. It's funny, I don't remember craving coffee and food, and running to the kitchen in the morning, like I do now, but needing Julie Brown on a Sunday morning, and a thrift store in the afternoon.
On our walk from Sheridan up Broadway to Montrose, Scot would make fun of me by imitating my body posture: arms crossed and hunched over, and accused me of fearing for my life. Really, I was just in pain from all the previous night's booze. Well, maybe I was a little scared. It's still an 'interesting' area.
Even though we went to Unique every Sunday, rain or shine, Scot had to look at every single LP and 45 record they had. Every one. It took him at least an hour. And God help us if he was in a t-shirt mood, he would have to look at every one of those, too. Needless to say, I had to learn how to pace myself in the housewares, Cher, and shitty art sections.
Back in 1990, we were obsessed with all things seventies. That's all we looked for: knick-knacks, t-shirts, flared pants, dishes, purses, everything seventies. But what we wanted most were platform shoes, and those could be hard to come by. And not like the cock roach-brown, sad, single, laying by itself on the sidewalk like I saw in Hartford, Goodbye Seventies platform, nor a clownish Tequila shoe, but a sexy, hey, nice shoes, Tony pair. You know, like the ones we wore in third grade.
One Sunday, passing a shoe repair store, we noticed a sign that read "We Customize Shoe Height" and in the window was an example of their work. Their service was really intended for people who needed two different shoe heights, but we took a chance and asked him to "platformize" both our shoes.
Scot wanted Converse platforms, and I wanted wingtip. To our joy, the cobbler was more than happy to help us.
At first we were conservative with our height, but soon we remembered our brazen ways, and asked for more and more height glued onto our shoes.
Scot pushed the cobbler over the edge one day by asking him for three two-inch soles on each shoe.
"Oh no! Three way high! Three way high!" Was his reaction, but Scot won out.
I was furious I had to hear this story second hand, because he went on a day without me.
Scot has always had amazing taste in decorating, and he did a great job on our place on a shoe string. Everything in this photo was thrifted, save for the electronics. Everything. Yes, I know.
For his bedroom, he turned it into a mini version of The Factory, by making an industrial, four poster bed, and painting everything a metallic silver.
For me, I just needed my room to be cemetery-at-midnight black til noon, so that's what I worked on.

One night at Berlin, this cute guy started talking to me Hey gorgeous you here alone can I buy you a drink you wanna go out sometime? I actually did one of those turn and look behind me moves, cause this guy was that cute.
His name was Skip, and he was ten years older than me, and a weekend waiter.
He was one of those people then, as now, I think about a lot, because I learned so much from him in our few short months together. Oh, the stuff that came out of my mouth whenever we talked! It left his hanging open, and his eyes darting around for an escape route. A lesser man would have baled out long ago, but Skip knew I needed more than that from him.
I had no intention of telling you about Skip now; I tried think of another light hearted story from 1990, but sometimes, stories take a path of their own.
His is a painful memory or me, because I still crave his company and his touch, and the sight of him in his tighty-whities, even twenty years later. Sadly, that can never be, for he is no more, he is as dust.
Skip liked a public place for our (his) amorous actions, especially a parked car. Another place that stands out is the Three Penny, a long gone Lincoln Ave theater. I don't remember the movie, but I sure remember his 'enthusiasm'.
One Sunday I spied on him unseen as he walked up my side walk, on his way to my door. For the life of me, try as I might, I could not read the expression on his face. I took that as a good sign.
With him, I was the most open and honest than any other lover to date. He held my hand the night I confessed, through sobs, how I knew I was destroying myself, and I didn't know what to do about it.
After a while our meetings together became about conversation, because he was trying to get back together with the boyfriend he was living with.
Yes, his ex's emotional outbursts, of which he had no problem performing for me, me the other woman, were frequent and uncomfortable.
Though, I can understand why the ex screamed whenever I was around: Skip was someone worth fighting for. The ex won.
I think what triggered this memory of Skip was seeing a black panther TV lamp at the antique store recently. Black panther TV lamps were always Pavlovian for me, because one sat in his downstairs neighbor's window for years after I knew Skip. That's how he told me to find him, the first time I went to his place. Look for the black panther in the window.
In the late nineties, I had a feeling about Skip. A feeling he may not be around an more. 1999 was an odd year for me, for I had many unusual paranormal experiences. One morning I saw 'him' standing over me, for a brief moment, and I took it as a sign to find out what, if anything, may have happened to Skip. I debated knocking on his door, for I lived just down the street, but I knew the ex wouldn't want to see me coming round again.
Not long after, I saw the ex at a coffee shop, looking really really bad, and that only confirmed my suspicion.
So one night I was with my mom and aunt at the restaurant Skip worked in for years, and finally asked about him.
Yes, he was gone, and greatly missed, they said.
Yea, missed... I miss him too. I said

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1 comment:

Bette said...

Jesus, I fricking LOVED Julie Brown. My roomie, Cameron, and I could not get enough of her. We didn't have cable and would go to his parents just so we could watch her (and then listen to his gigantic record collection and watch Desperate Teenage Lovedolls).

What's that they say? "Youth is wasted on the young..." What a sad story BC.