Secret Pop

May 10, 2006

Full Circle

Yen and I went to see the Starlight Mints on Sunday night. It was more than two years ago that we first went to see them, and that was the first thing we ever did together. Commemorative value.

I wasn't feeling very well, and it was stuffy and sweltering at The Troubadour at first. But we eventually found our spot and took pictures and enjoyed the show. The heavyset lead singer of Dios Malos walked past us, smelling bad and bumping into my drink and spilling a lot of it. But that was the only bad thing that happened. Until we left and went to find my car. And couldn't. We walked for blocks, laughing and talking, and at one point thinking that two gentlemen were getting into my car and stealing it. I noticed that -- for the moments I thought my car was being stolen -- I didn't run over to try and intervene. I actually slowed my pace. Yen was apparently trying to figure out how to best use her shoe as a weapon. When we got closer and were certain that it wasn't my car after all, we laughed about it. I pictured myself hanging on to the hood of the car MacGyver-style. My violin was in the trunk and my iPod in the dash. Could I really let them get away? It's a relief my resolve wasn't tested. I had very little energy and would probably have fallen off right away and been run over.

After that, we walked for even more blocks, strolling past quiet little houses I will never have enough money to own, including one where a shirtless dude was sitting at his computer, his well-muscled back to his floor-to-ceiling windows which were only covered in the most transparent of gauze. I felt uncomfortable seeing him there. He has a hedge row in front, so there is some privacy from passing cars and neighbors directly across the street, but to strolling passersby...well, I'm glad he hadn't found anything on the computer that prompted him to sin openly. Because we would have had no choice but to stand there and watch. All of it.

We passed a house whose red-lit kitchen looked like the abattoir on a creepy whaling ship. We passed houses with moodily lit fountains and flashy little sportscars parked in the driveways. We passed houses I was sure we had already passed before. And I was so grateful it was Yen there with me. Because many other friends would have been angry with me for continually choosing to walk for blocks in the totally wrong direction. But with Yen, I could just be grateful for the extra time to laugh and smoke and whatever. She's one of those people you can have fun doing anything with. She is the easiest person to be around in all the world. And perhaps in juxtaposition to that, I decided to admit to myself -- and to the world at long last -- that I am high-maintenance.

I am high-maintenance.

I really, really try not to be. And I don't like to think anyone finds me so. It has taken me a lifetime to admit it. I have railed against the label since girls became old enough to be labeled in that fashion. I am accommodating and forgiving and generous and eager to help. Even more eager to please. But it's plain to me that I also have all of these expectations. And I wonder why I minded being told so before. I don't need to be brought flowers. I don't need to have the door opened for me. I don't need a great many things. But I'm also the furthest thing from a free spirit you ever did see. I hate that this is true. And then I wonder why I hate it. I guess when a fellow called me high-maintenance in the past, I prickled because I feared that meant I was more trouble than I am worth. But I am clearly more demanding than some people, though far more understanding than others. One of the people in that comparison is a heroin addict and the other is a quadruplegic. You decide which is which. One of them can be unconscious if it makes it easier.

The Starlight Mints had a violinist, a violist (with cute hair), and a cellist on stage with them. I thrilled to that. Mary misses going through the vibrato motions.

In other music news, I saw Grand Ole Party in San Diego on Saturday night with John Meeks, and that was all right. I don't like the acoustics at San Diego Sports Club, but the San Diego indie music faithfuls sure love that band. I need to hear their recordings. Or to hear them in a better venue before I can make up my mind. Great stage presence, but the vocals sounded like they were being sung through one of those old-timey megaphones. The Starlight Mints use one of those in a few of their songs, but they do it on purpose, so it's cool. Maybe I just reward points for deliberation. Accidental awesome is rare. And nearly impossible to recreate.

I also swam in my parents' pool on Saturday, and that was glorious. It reminded me that it is possible to feel good.

And I sang in church on Sunday morning, and I had my dad come up and read something before I sang, and he got so choked up he could barely speak. He's a big baby where biblical things are concerned. It's super cute. We make a great team.

So I missed out on all of my Cinco de Mayo fun plans, but the world kept turning. And as bad a birthday month as this has been so far, it's still my birthday month. And that's not for nothing.

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