Secret Pop

Nov 29, 2003

Where Troubles Melt Like Lemon Drops

I don't know if I will remember today intact. Something about it felt disjointed and surreal. Just a series of moments strung together. Plans looming. Catching up afoot. The occasional misty moment. The hot, dry Santa Ana winds blew soot and ash all over yesterday. In the morning, before turkeys were carved, my father was out hosing down our cars and the stone walk up to the house. He said the skies looked the way they had a couple of weeks ago when so much of the county was on fire (and not in a disco way). It was still grimy and grey this morning when I headed out into the unseasonal warmth of the morning.

Although, I don't know that it's unseasonal actually. There seem to be Santa Anas at this time of year more often than not. I remember a November long ago when I was sitting on a bench at Mesa College, waiting for my Japanese class to start. I was wearing all black and reading Stephen King's The Stand. And it was way hot. And I remember thinking, "Christ! It's November. What gives?" Back then, the term "Santa Ana conditions" didn't really mean anything to me. Not so today. I've been in Southern California long enough to have learned. In a way, I wonder if that's good. I had a very transient childhood, with my family hopping from continent to continent every couple of years or so. And as I grew older, I found that periodic wanderlust to be inescapable. These days, if I don't actually up and move to a new city, the best I can do is maybe rearrange my bedroom furniture. But it's hardly the same. I am often convinced that a change would do me good.

It was too warm for my tastes last Thanksgiving, as well. I remember wanting to make a fire in the fireplace but finding it stifling even with the windows cracked, what with the cooking and the drinking we were doing. It's peculiar. I can remember last Thanksgiving so vividly I can nearly not believe that it was a year ago. It's in my head and in my mouth and in my memory like it happened only moments ago. I remember preparing that last dish and scrambling to create extra table space with a few TV trays. I remember what I was wearing (as I always do) and what it felt like to hover over that stove all day. I remember washing dishes while Martín, sitting on a stepping stool in the doorway of the kitchen, kept me company and helped me choose what containers to put lefotvers in. I was surprised to be less exhausted than I would have expected. The preceding days -- and the day itself -- had been so taxing and arduous. But I put all the food away and settled on the couch to watch Eddie Izzard with Kevin, who had not yet seen the DVD. That makes two Thanksgivings I've not managed to have a midday nap. Crimes!

Too too warm. I want to throw on a scarf and mittens and take wintry photos, but it would be a ruse with sweaty underpinnings. I may have to wait for February.

It might as well have been last year today. Standing at the Cingular store, waiting for assistance, it might just as easily have been that day in December right before Christmas last year when my phone display stopped working and I had to get a replacement. It was the same sort of temperature. The same sort of light. The same swarthy guy who couldn't grow a very convincing beard helping me. But as much as it was like other days I've had, it was also unlike any I can recall. I had a couple of important talks with my dad. And I took stock of how quiet and empty the house is now that Beulah and Justin and Tasha have made a new home elsewhere. Sometimes you get used to having certain things happen. It's hard to unlearn the habits.

I had a lovely salad lunch with Jenny at La Vache. Then I met Karen and her friends Reyna and Jan, and we made a grand effort to make something of the San Diego scene but were met with adversity much of the time. Jan wanted house music. We never really found it for him. The bounce staff at On Broadway was ruder than can be excused. And the demographics of the Downtown clubs left a bit to be desired. But Jan and I gabbed about physics and grad school and films and politics and the way things are in his native Germany and whether Jews are liberal or conservative by and large. And Karen complimented my dance moves, which was outright flattery considering what a hot hot hot dancer she is. And my outfit received raves on block after block. I will certainly take it out for a stroll on another night. If only for research purposes. I even batted my lashes for the door staff at the Bitter End and saved us a steep cover, something I nearly never do. Feminine wiles must be used carefully and with reverence for the cosmically inestimable powers they embody. Sometimes a gal just doesn't know what she can do. And that smacks of danger.

Jan and Reyna are going skydiving in the morning. I remember a time when that was an adventure on a list of those I intended to have.

When I hear songs these days, I make an effort to think of what they meant to me when I first heard them. Where I was. What my life held. I noticed that I have a tendency to commute my sentimental attachment to things across time and space and assign great significance to things that never existed together in the same moment. And there's no need for that. There is enough opportunity for sweet remembrance in the moments themselves. I'm sure of this.

Down in the basement, listening to the rain
Thinking things over, I think it over again
I think it over again

She slips into the night, and she is gone
Gone to settle the score, gone into the town
Rain shining in her eyes

I'm riding it down
Listening to the rain
She'll be here soon
I lie back and drift away

A thought to pass the time
To occupy my mind, while I'm waiting for her

I'm feeling so alive, feeling so real
On a stormy night, the rain is coming down
Rain like never before
I've got some records on, some bottles of wine
On a stormy night, the rain is lashing down
And I'm waiting for her

Reyna was astute enough to tape Justin Timberlake's NBC special tonight. I was not. I caught a few minutes of it while we were waiting for our cab. I don't know what it is about that boy, but I think it's worth looking into.

Last night, I fell asleep with the South Park movie playing, and I dreamed I was in an eating contest in an office I was working in. The things we were to eat were largely the contents of our desk drawers. In my case, it was a lot of M&M's and Reese's Peanut Butter Cup minis. And some books.

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