Saturday, June 11, 2011

Somethings You Never Outgrow


Walking into the lobby of my apartment building, I saw an unfamiliar face pacing in front of the elevator. I hated that damn elevator. It's doors, and it's insides, for that matter, were covered in fifty years of ugly grey paint, and it stuck out like a sore thumb against the lobby's deco era neoclassicism. Putting in the new elevator in the 50's was probably the last and only improvement done to my building, and I'm sure it was something they had to do; I'm sure it was the old hand operated type; and I'm sure they got sick of paying someone to run it. I stayed at The Jane a few summers back, where they happily pay young men to operate their elevators. In round red caps in hundred degree weather, no less.
Anywho, the man who was pacing in front of the elevator immediately started talking to me when I stood near him to wait for the elevator.
Do you know who you look like? He asked. No I responded, already afraid where this was going. Jesus! Jesus Christ! You look like Jesus Christ! He said. No, no I don't, I said. Yes! Yes you do! I look like John the Baptist. Well, I've been told that anyway, so maybe you and I should get together and talk to people! He said, as we rode up the elevator. No, I can't do that, I mumbled as I jumped off at my floor. I knew I shouldn't have worn that Jesus Loves You t shirt around the neighborhood.

I'm at the start of 1993 in my story right now, and the start of my twelve step life, and needless to say it was a time of great change for me, all of it monumental. This year, 2011, has also held a lot of change for me, great and small, some of it too heart breaking to ever put into words, and some of it as seemingly small as the closing of my video store Nightstar, and the passings of Elizabeth Taylor and Poly Styrene. I guess I equate change with pain, though the two aren't all that synonymous.
'93 held a lot of painful change for me, most of the time it overwhelmed me so much all I wanted to do was drink black coffee from Starbucks and smoke Bull Durhams, a cheap yet tasty cigarette brand. I was in a fog most of the early nineties, a painful one at that, but it was the pain of building my life back up, in stead of tearing it down. Sometimes I miss the earthy crutch of a day started with coffee and cigarettes.
I began with small steps, like buying a bookshelf and a table and from the Great Ace. (I loved that store, and was sad the day it closed and opened as a Borders. I wonder what will take it's place now?)
I literally had nothing in my apartment, and my soul for that matter, and I needed everything!
I bought some dishes at Pier One, and got some thrift store finds, and tried to understand what it meant to be 'powerless' over something. Over everything. The distraction of shopping helped a lot back then, but as I had little spare cash, I had to do it in thrift stores. That is, til I reopened my Marshall Fields credit card, and felt the soothing caress of Gaultier and Ralph Lauren, even though I was still in a major early 70s phase, fashion wise, and I was taking more inspiration from Bobby Sherman than Jane Forth. I have a sweater from Gaultier's 93 collection; it still looks great
I saw Party at the Theater Building (a place in the future I will perform many plays) when Scot came for a summer visit; it was a hit play about modern gay life, and all the actors were nude by the time the curtain fell. I hadn't a TV for a while, and Scot could only handle one visit without it, and brought his on all his next visits until I finally got one of my own. He started our tradition that summer of watching his taped copies of MST3K, one we held for many years. Renee and I saw Liza and Sandra Bernhardt; Sandra asks a question from 'Brian Vanderbuilt' (me) 'a fellow jew', as to 'why Madonna recorded Fever, when you put it in your act first?' Where she replied ' cause she's a fucking bitch, that's why!'
And I went to Duran Duran with Erin and Greg. I also saw Suede in 93, but I'll tell you more about that later.
Looking back on those times with my friends, I'm reminded it wasn't all bad during those days, as I seem to think it was, and I also had a happy/sad little affair with a guy named Gordon. He was a guy I wished I liked more than I did, or was at least in a better place emotionally than I was, and whom I wished had a better life than he did, or could see himself in a different light. He saw himself as having absolutely no potential, and only seemed to take what he could get, on all fronts, and it wasn't much. He needed someone to lift him out of the morass he didn't know he was in, but one that was immediately apparent. I hadn't the courage or nerve to tell him how I felt, and walked away from our short relationship praying he could one day figure it out for himself.

I got inspired to write this post tonight after beginning to read Just Kids, Patti Smith's latest book. It is so beautiful and heart felt, I already don't want it to end! But I also just bought the latest 33 1/3, Marquee Moon, so I guess I'll have to put it down sometime...