Category Archives: leah
One time, when I lived in Texas, I had this car. My parents and grandparents bought it for me after there were a bunch of rapes in my neighborhood, which was very generous of them, and I appreciated their concern. Anyway, this car was a gold Toyota Camry from 1991. It had no interior door handles except on the driver’s side, which led me to believe it had perhaps been previously owned by a criminal, or just someone who didn’t want anyone to leave his or her car. The car had a CD player, but I only had one CD, which was R.E.M.’s “Out of Time,” so I listened to that a lot. The car’s tie rods had a very bad case of tie rod osteoporosis, which made the car an adventure to drive, especially when the motor decided not to work too. You just never knew what was going to happen in this car. Still, I loved it. I loved having a trunk in which to store my hula hoop, and I loved drinking a Diet Coke while driving and then throwing the empty can into the backseat.
When I left Texas I sold the car for $50 less than my bicycle (granted, it was a very nice bicycle). I miss them both dearly to this day. I walk everywhere now, and I try to buy a lot of shoes to make that experience of transporting myself more fun. But it is not the same.
I stumbled across, the other day, my favorite thing I have ever written. For some reason there was a copy of it in the Drafts folder of my Gmail, which is where many of my secrets happen to be, FYI CIA. This piece was the first thing I ever wrote for a thing, the thing being the Bard College Free Press (November 2005 issue). I was so young then — ah, weren’t we all. I wasn’t even really cognizant of the patriarchy yet. Imagine. And yet, I knew. This is called “Making Out With the Band.”
Early in the morning last year, while waiting for my wisdom teeth consultation, I read an article in Spin magazine detailing the life of Connie Hamzy, aka “Sweet Connie,” America’s oldest and presumably most accomplished living groupie. The picture that accompanied the article showed her, leather-skinned and toothless, wearing several yellowed backstage passes around her neck, the trophies of her life’s work. She was a woman for whom the last thirty-odd years of life had been spent with her mouth on the likes of Neil Diamond and Robert Plant. “Ha, ha,” I laughed to myself. “How sad. How utterly philistine! The value of this woman’s life is based on the number of blow jobs she’s given to pseudo-celebrities. How pathetic.” I threw the copy of Spin back into tooth-shaped magazine rack and reached for the Reader’s Digest. Just then the dental hygienist, Pauline, came out to greet me, and I forgot all about Sweet Connie. That is, until recently, when my life began to slightly resemble hers.
Through a fluke social connection this past fall I ended up serving as part of a makeshift hospitality crew for visiting indie-rock bands. Band X arrived on campus already substantially inebriated. Days prior to the event, the hospitality crew and I joked about possibly “hooking up” with the band mates, all attractive, all in their twenties, much-written about Canadian wunderkinds. In our girlish awe, we went so far as to each choose which one we would spend some quality time with should the stars align in such a way. None of us banked on anything actually happening; it was mere childish wonder. Still, all throughout dinner, eyes darted across the room. The one I had set my sights on was married, so I let go of the notion that anything romantic might occur. Nevertheless, I ended up engaging in some nice conversation with a member of Band X’s entourage that I assumed was their merchandise guy, based on the fact that I hadn’t seen him in any publicity pictures I had searched for online earlier that day. He turned out to be the new guitarist for the band. We argued about the validity of a liberal arts education, compared our favorite Canadian lakes, and of course, talked music, all of which eventually led up to an incident on the soccer field. “Wow,” I thought, while he practically ate my chin. “This is pretty weird.” I reveled in that moment for a while, savoring my connection as Vassar girls threw themselves at him after the show. Even though he ignored me for the rest of the night, I was proud of what had happened. In some odd way, I was elevated to the level of the band. I was a Groupie.
Two weeks later. Band Y. All attractive, all in their twenties. This band was even nicer than the last, less drunk and arrogant, college-educated, and quite sincere. However, they were also part of the noise-rock genre. Regardless, we all had fun together, and the night was full of tension — you know, sexual tension. Realistically, it makes sense that such tension would exist. These are guys cooped up together in a van for the majority of their days, text-messaging their mothers and thinking about how they will update their blogs should they cross a wi-fi threshold somewhere in Iowa. When let loose on a college campus with girls tugging at their guitar strings, of course things are going to happen. I just never expected them to happen with me. I’m not the type to consciously throw myself at potential mates. Also, due to a medical condition that is a separate article in itself, I am physically only seventeen years old. I feel this removes me from the scene to a certain extent. However, perhaps my disorder gives me some sort of novelty value, because this time I found myself in the woods with Noise Rocker #2. It was his idea, go figure.
While making out with bands is a fun extracurricular activity, I have to say the comedown is quite melancholy. Making out with bands is not an activity for very sensitive people who worry about mistreatment of animals, babies, and other soft things, or expect to receive something from Bath and Body Works for Valentine’s Day. Making out with bands can be a harsh experience. You make out and then the next day they’re gone, onto Oberlin or Sarah Lawrence to meet people exactly like you and do what they did with you with those people. After making out with a band, if you’re lucky, you get an illegibly written e-mail address on a gum wrapper and an awkward goodbye pat to go along with the memories. All in all, though, my two weeks of being a groupie was fun. It was most instrumental in destroying the mist of celebrity that usually surrounds bands. Not entirely exciting fruit, I know, but what else can you expect from such endeavors but a staggering philosophical realization? I mean, Sweet Connie kept going for thirty-five years, and all she has now is an endless cache of dinner table conversation and a song about her by Grand Funk Railroad. In the end, it’s most important to know that guys in bands are just guys, and the songs they sing are never about you.
Thirteenth anniversary of my appendectomy today
One time I walked up to a bagpipe band and yelled “Is anyone here a Finnegan?” and two of my third cousins stepped foward
When I was a kid my dad and I took Taekwondo together. Not wholly unusual, except that I was the only female and the only person under 30 in the class. I remember sparring with a man named Scott. He had long toenails and his dobok smelled of gasoline. My roundhouse kick barely reached his waist. In retrospect I feel bad that he had to fight me.
My dad and I made it to purple belt — “The color purple represents the changing sky of dawn, as once again the student undergoes a new change and prepares for the transition to advanced student” — before we called it quits. Somewhere in my closet are the boards I broke with my child hands during advancement exercises. The grandmaster, who was very kind, said to hit the board as if your hand was going to go right through it. Good advice for life.
Hi blog. This is an old blog, as blogs go, and you can’t teach an old blog new tricks, as I heard once during a blogging seminar in Saratoga Springs, NY. Or maybe it was the opposite. It was a long time ago and I wasn’t really listening. Anyway, I have been wanting to write more on my blog lately, even though I am not a part of any blog society. So i am starting my own blog society: Society of One. Anyone can join.
In Society of One we can talk about things we do at night, after working at our jobs, if you have a job. If not you can just talk generally. Tonight I looked at old bank statements, which was sad, because money is sad, and then checked for software updates on my computer, of which there were many because who ever updates his or her computer. I also had two popsicles. It was a pretty average and fun night for a young person in Kings County. I am content.
“Ah, distinguished ladies and gentlemen” — this is how Nigerian pilots address passengers — “I’m sorry, but I’ve missed my landing. I’m going to have to try again.” [via]
I recently finished Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss. I enjoyed learning about our president’s lineage and how he found himself at age 27. That gives me one year to reasonably find myself, which is great, because I already found myself when I was 22, somewhere outside Fort Worth, Tex. But that is another story for another time. Anyway, I thought the following passages from the book were very touching, so I typed them up for you.
1. The main man in Barry’s life then was his grandfather. For all his idiosyncrasies and failings, for all his eruptions after his daughter announced she was pregnant, Stan was devoted to the little boy. It was Stan who took him to see Gordo Cooper, Stan who carried him down the hot sands of Waikiki Beach, Stan who bought him his first shave ice. Who was this little kid at his side or on his shoulders with a darker shade of skin? Stan had his own line that he used on strangers wherever they went: “this boy is the great-great-grandson of Hawaii’s first king, Kamehameha the Great,” he would boast, urging tourists to take out their cameras. “I’m sure your picture’s in a thousand scrapbooks, Bar,” his grandson remembered being told by him later.
2. Barry was not ready for school, though his grandmother thought he could have handled it. “Before he could walk, Madelyn told me he was a genius,” her brother Charles Payne recalled.