Secret Pop

Jun 29, 2008

Cry Baby

I was on the treadmill at the gym yesterday, and CNN was playing a story about the gorillas murdered in the Congo. I had heard the story on NPR last week, but I saw the pictures of the gorillas with the leaves and grass stuffed in their mouths and noses to suffocate them and the murderers triumphantly carrying a dead gorilla on a stretcher, and I just started crying. Right there on the treadmill. Tears sprouting out of my stupid eyes while I ran to George Michael singing Freedom! '90. That story just breaks my heart and infuriates me.

Later on, I was watching The Paradine Case, and a commercial for the ASPCA came on. It's that one with Sarah McLachlan singing Angel and showing all those cute, needy pets, and I totally started crying again. Later in the night, I signed up to donate to the ASPCA. And you should, too.

Jun 20, 2008

Last night, the moon was full and low.

It was hot all day and warm all night. Tepid and still. Frustratingly still. In the absence of a breeze, everything feels like waiting.

I have gotten used to nighttime walks on my street. Maybe even bored of them. When I first got Audrey, every walk was an adventure. Another door I'd not really looked at. Another sound or smell coming from a building I'd driven past but not really noticed. Indian pop music or the TiVo prompt. Garlic or onions or both. An interesting light fixture. A curious mirror on the ceiling. A boy washing dishes. There was no end of things to notice and no end of my wanting to catalog them. Now, I make the rounds perfunctorily. Confident that nothing will have changed. Occasionally noticing when a For Rent sign goes up. A tiny part of me envying those who are moving. If only for the change of scenery.

Everything I throw away leaves room for everything I'd forgotten I have. Discovering. Rediscovering. Putting everything away. Spreading order with an iron fist. An iron fist clenched around a paper towel damp with Windex.

I've never given points for sitting still. Especially not to myself. Once I've done with cleaning it all up and putting it all away, I fully expect the onslaught of the old wanderlust. It's just that there are so few places with garages these days.


I keep singing "Why Bother" by Weezer to myself. But it's not about relationship angst. It's about the election. I'm an avid and outspoken Democrat, but something happened to me in the 2000 elections. Recently watching Recount brought it all flooding back. That sickening sense of helpless frustration. It's funny. When you watch a movie about the election debacle, you know how it all turned out and you know it isn't going to turn out differently, but for a spell, you can allow yourself to get caught up in the drama of the story and hope that things won't go awry, as you know them historically to have gone awry. It's peculiar and irrational. And it's how my mother watches movies. Movies about Dillinger or Bonnie and Clyde make her so angry. She just wants the protagonists to get away. And history be damned. When I was watching Recount the other day, that habit of hers suddenly made so much sense.

I was rooting for John Edwards. And then he dropped out. So I was rooting for Hillary Clinton, and now that's over. I completely support Barack Obama and will vote for him come November, and I'm not at all unhappy that he is going to be the candidate. But for some reason I don't have the stomach for any of the debate. I'm even reluctant to write about it here, because I know if someone posts a comment that rubs my Democrat nose in anything, I'll probably burst into tears.

Why so fragile? I have no idea. I was almost disenfranchised when I went to vote a few weeks ago. My polling station had changed, and I didn't realize it. So I strode into the old folks home around the corner and presented my drivers license and was promptly turned away. I asked the volunteers if they knew where I was supposed to go, and they pointed to a number on a map, but didn't know the actual street address. And they were very pissy about it. In the end, I had to walk back to my car, drive home and get my voter's pamphlet, drive to another location (which I would never have found just based on the area they were pointing at on the map), park, wander around looking for a sign that would indicate where I should go, and then wait several minutes while a volunteer with absurdly long and curved fingernails tried time and time again to prize a single ballot from the stack. In the end, I got my "I Voted" sticker. But it just didn't feel like it mattered anymore. And that saddens me. I have many impassioned opinions about the electoral process, but I no longer have the fortitude to assemble them and say them aloud. This seems like something to be ashamed of. The up side is that I no longer have to vote at that old folks home. It's much closer to my apartment, but it always smells like a roast beef dinner in there. Causing me to note that old folks homes always smell like roast beef dinner. No matter what time of the day you go and no matter what anyone is actually eating. And if you know me and food smells, you know I am willing to go a few extra blocks to not smell like anyone's dinner. Ever.

Jun 8, 2008

"A body has to move gentle and speak low when wild things is about."

My upstairs neighbor seems to be listening to a Barry Manilow greatest hits album. There's something oddly nice about that to me. At very least, there's one person in this town who won't try and outband you when you tell them what the last concert you saw was. One person, at least, who doesn't only know a song after it's been covered by the Walkmen or the Wrens. Or Scarlett Johansson.

I turned on HDNet and watched The Searchers and then The Bridge on the River Kwai and then The Outlaw Josey Wales and then Dirty Harry. I guess I'm officially a man, now.

This hardly seems worth having written it.