Sunday, August 17, 2014

it is 1970

It is 1970 and I am eighteen years old. I have just graduated from an inferior Catholic convent school. My parents wanted me to go the bigger newer Catholic high school but I balked and kicked my feet. My friends were going to the obscure school hosted by the dwindling Sisters of the Visitation and it was all that was important to me, being with my friends.  Our gym teacher smoked and coughed in a corner of our windowless basement gym and the nuns had us in the convent kitchen shelling corn when we should have been studying logarithms or something.

So I wore the idiotic freshman beanie and the itchy plaid skirts and hoped I would never grow up. My parents wouldn't let me cross the street until I was five years old and then they had to because I needed to go to kindergarten.  I'm not sure why but they always thought I was making the best and correct decisions for myself. And I wasn't, that's how good an actor I was.

I worked at S.S.Kresge's as a cashier in an aqua blue plastic apron cinched at the waist, not an attractive look for a short girl with no waistline. I folded underwear and bagged orange slices for $1.35 an hour. College was on the peripheral and it scared me. I really didn't want to learn anything else. But I bought green pillowcases for the move to a state university along with my Simon and Garfunkel albums and my beat-up Schwinn.

During my first six months of college life I had many new beginnings. Got drunk, got stoned, got laid. Fathers, give your daughters some stretching room. Sit on them too long and they will explode in a fury of passion and curiosity. My first night drunk I got up to leave the bar and three men stood up. Apparently, I had promised all of them they could accompany me home.  Next morning I showed up for my Intro to Psych class, all 1500 of us in a theatre setting and I begged the guy on the aisle to change seats with me. I did not trust my stomach still roiling with its boozy contents. What did Steve Martin say about Intro to Psych? "They teach you just enough to think you're crazy." I already knew I was crazy.

 My roommate, an art major wore a gloriously hand-embroidered navy blue cloak and stored our joints in her paint box and I worried about the toxic stains we were inhaling. My throat was furiously raw on Monday mornings from all the pot and she suggested I take up smoking to "tenderize" my throat. Thus began a lifelong love relationship with menthol Marlboros, like smoking toothpaste. I would watch that roommate draw. She would sketch an apple, pick up that apple and take a bite, sketch it again and so on, bite after bite. I envied that.

I liked the 70's. We were smug and safe in our generation knowing that our sheer numbers would conquer all. My brothers smoked pot in their bedroom and my mother would shout, "what are you burning up there?" Incense, ma, incense. One brother dropped acid and thought about flying out a third floor window. He went to the emergency room and my dad thought he had a bad case of flu. You can't bring that kind of magic back.

1 comment:

Arizaphale said...

OMG Sweetie. You just brought ALL that kind of magic back. And it don't look so good from this angle. How the f*** we managed to survive that sh** when perfectly nice kids fall off waterfalls nowadays. Well. There don't seem to be no justice in this world.
(PS: this may seem like a ramble but DMG knows exactly what I am talking about.)
On the up side: the BA has started Uni and one of her electives is Philosophy.
"I dunno Ma", she whined, "its all a bit over my head this philosophy stuff."
"Just remember kid: it's not getting the right answer that counts in philosophy, it's understanding that there is a question...."
She seemed to take that on board.