Saturday, January 27, 2007
Smashing into Neon Lights in Their Stonedness
In fourth grade, my mother chaperoned Katie Mesirow and me to a BeeGees concert. As the pot smoke filled the arena, mom proclaimed to us that it was alright if she inhaled the smoke already hanging in the air. I don't think she and Prez. Clinton would have seen eye-to-eye, though she probably would have dated him, given her attraction to powerful men. This reminds me of a time in '76, when Warren Beatty hit on her at the Democratic National Convention in New York. She didn't know who he was, and was, sadly, married to my first step-father at the time. It's a shame, really (I'm tempted to insert a cheap joke about splendor in the grass). Do you know what Beatty looked like in the era of Bicentennial? Ever see 'Shampoo'? She should have slept with him; my step-father was a piece of work.
Oh look, I just found a pic of him on the internet. Here he is, hard at work on the campaign trail. That would be c. '79. You know, there are some similarities between the two men (requisite 70s side-burns, pointy features, angularity, smile lines, a generally ferrety look), minus a lot of hair.
Anyway, my mother was no stoner, unlike her baby sister and her best friend. Those two lit up in front of me nearly every time we were together - in the house, in the car, bird-watching out in the country. They were both school-teachers, by the way. Although this behavior led to no similar activity of my own, it is amazing to me that both women, who were major forces shaping my ethical sensibilities (believe me, they were tough), thought nothing of constantly breaking the law in my presence. Of course, in Oregon it's only a misdemeanor.
It did bite them in the ass once. When asked by another adult if they were smokers, to which they honestly replied 'no' (because of course she meant nicotine), this six-year-old chimed in, "But what about those 'funny' cigarettes you smoke?"
Is there a point to this? No. Is there a point to flare-legged white and tan plaid polyester pants? I wore those, you know, with my forest green ribbed turtleneck, and bangs mercilessly cropped, an ear or two constantly poking out of baby fine stick straight hair. Was there a point to Betsy Ross quilts (seriously, remember how red white and blue the culture was in 1976?) and lemon yellow tulip wallpaper? Was there a point to shag rugs? Eve cigarettes, with the floribundant pseudo-Mucha iconography? I could go on.
Then came the disco incarnation of the Brothers Gibb, and that era was over, and a new one dawning. I think I was reminded of all this recently when introducing two friends at a party. I mentioned what they had in common, younger sisters with Downs Syndrome. After comparing notes, Lauren remarked on the sad hilarity of little Leah's favorite song, "Let's Get Retarded."
Brian replied, "Well Karen's is the BeeGees' Tragedy, so there you go."
I don't make this shit up.