Wednesday I found myself reminiscing about my best friend in elementary school, Andree, who has a new business website. I asked her before I left if she'd mind if I feature the site on my blog, as I like to do when friends are doing cool things that deserve notice. We met in second grade, I want to say, and were best friends up through sixth. Her family introduced me to Acadia National Park and to Chinese food. Andree lived downstreet, and I lived in the country on the bus route, and when junior high came along, our relationship gradually changed, but some of my fondest memories are of us two child philosophers hanging from the monkey bars during recess, talking about... well, kind of grown-up things, questions like who we are and why we are here, in an individual sense, but with an eye on a broader picture, too. And one of my favorite kid stories to tell is when one Sunday we were alone at her house, and we called people randomly from the phone book. We'd take turns ringing a little hand bell and asking whoever picked up the phone on the other end, "Why aren't you in church today?" Well, why the hell weren't we, I'm sure more than one irate grown-up wondered, and where were our parents?- as they hung up on us.
Anyway, here is Andree's new website, for her wedding photography enterprise. Check it out: http://www.andreekehn.com/.
Then, today on the way home I was thinking again of the past, but more recently, about my time at The Pharmhouse. More specifically, I had pushed in a cassette (that's right, Verdi doesn't play CDs, or tell the temperature, or have cruise control) that I had made sometime in 1999, the year after I left Dave. In fact, I left at this time of year, in 1998, though I didn't physically leave, but slept on the couch and was glad he was on the road most of the time, until January, when Gabe and I got The Pharmhouse.
So, the music on this tape: Everclear, Stabbing Westward, Catherine Wheel, Eve 6, Ben Folds Five, The Foo Fighters, The Flys... contained a large proportion of bitterness, and I realized as I was driving and singing, after not having listened to this particular cassette in a long time, that I was listening from a different angle, maybe more removed than before. While at the time I made that tape, I was gliding on giddy wings of freedom to be myself, safe with my family of friends at The Pharmhouse, there was the same bitterness and anger puffing out around the edges, even if it was sometimes morose, as was the social mood of the day among others listening. When people associate the apathy and loss of direction apparent in the clothes, music, and actions, or inactions, to those of us who slacked off to that stuff, did they miss the latent bitterness and disappointment and anger that there didn't seem to be anything worth an aspiration at the time, unless one wanted to don a suit and play for The Man?
I was secure in my job at the time, actually, the best I've ever held in terms of challenge and satisfaction, and I was safe in my new home, one week watching foreign films on DVD with Gabe, the next eating steakbombs and partaking of grade B horror flicks with Michael. I'd pull on my boots and down coat and stand at the bonfire while groups of friends in the Valley picked and sang, or would crawl into shorts and out of my tent at outdoor festivals to sit on the grass and listen to the best live: Bela Fleck, Medeski Martin and Wood, Dr. Didj, Ozo Matli, Sound Tribe. Then alone in my palatial red-walled room, I'd listen to That Other Stuff, the stuff I put on the tape I listened to today.
One of my roommates during that time, and someone I haven't seen in years but whose friendship I still treasure, along with the purple Patagucci shirt she gave me that's raggedy at the sleeves now, is Nickie Sekera, previously mentioned as my Vice Presidential running mate, and also in conjunction with her hard work and commitment to US Campaign for Burma. Nickie sent me a coffee mug recently, that showed up by UPS on Election Day, no less. It's the one pictured here, and it came with a letter on aubergine paper. The story is, "I spotted this mug on my second visit to Japan. I liked the kitsch factor of a mug with our nation's capitol that was manufactured in an Asian country. The colors were 'off,' so to speak, and the White House- Aubergine. Tacky is cool. Do I have foresight? Did you unknowingly choose me for VP on inuition, that is based on me possessing this mug?" No; I chose you actually because I thought it a good idea for two smart, good looking blonde women who can get things done to be on a ticket together.
Of course, the problem currently is that only one of us is getting anything done these days, it seems, and that's not me. But I had plenty of time to think about that while driving, too.