Rolling Stoned

Well, it’s 12-12-12. Hot damn! That is a string of highly similar numbers, if I ever saw such a string! Not only that, but today, somewhere, maybe even at 12:12, someone is turning twelve. Insane, clown posse!

So what am I doing to celebrate, you ask? “Enough,” you say, “Enough about catfish and other demon-scourge! Enough of jellyfish and the other immortals, like Bob Hartley and his everlastingly hot wife Emily! Let’s hear about you, AVR,” you clamor. “What are you up to on this fine day?”

Ah, peeps! Thank you for asking! I have acutely felt, of late, a void- nay, an abyss – that has broke under my feet and threatened to consume my soul; and the maw of oblivion is, indeed, my lack of opportunity to talk about myself, to elucidate my glories and to gloss esoteric about my vast cache of ideas and life gleanings. (My mom recently read one of my essays – yeah, I write essays! “Spouting some verbiage,” she commented. “Like an Orca,” I replied.)

So, here’s some of what’s been going on.

1. I’m in college. Did I tell you that? I quit my job, dyed my hair, and went to school to get my Masters. In debate. Master Debater. Just kidding. Already had my degree in that. Just kidding. Inappropriate. And TMI. Still, a girl gets lonely. Wait, what are we talking about? College. So who do you know that is currently in college and has a 4.0 GPA? Me! I made an “A”. That’s the highest GPA I have ever had. Let’s face it, that’s the highest GPA anyone has ever had. Doesn’t get much higher than that, nosiree, Bob! I have only taken one class so far. In that class I learned that you don’t HAVE TO do all the readings, and that truly, I am not a very good student, on account of my fair-to-middlin’ work ethic. But none of that matters, cuz my my bullshit is bedazzlin’ and I MADE AN A!!!!! Yay, me!

2. I quit listening to music. I don’t know how it happened. One day, I’m tap dancin’ in the shower, and the next day it’s nothing but Diane Rehm. It took my awhile, but then I realized; ain’t no sunshine in my life. Made me real – wah, wah – sad. But I didn’t get the music back until I watched a documentary on the Rolling Stones called “Crossfire Hurricane”.    I loved it. It was filmed right before the tour that celebrates their fiftieth year in the business. The documentary people went into a room and interviewed the Stones about the whole strange trip of their careers, but with no cameras. The interviews were then synched with archival footage and ephemera; it was so cool! (Did you know that ‘ephemera’ is plural for ‘ephemeron”, and that it probably is not the correct word to use here, but who among you is going to look it up in either of its forms? Not you, stinky shoe!)

I’ve been a fan of the band for years. My dad had some Rolling Stones albums, mostly early ones, and I discovered them when I was about twelve. It was the first music I found that was my own. Nobody told me it was cool; I just heard it, and it struck a chord. A D Major 7, I think. Anyway, I felt it was all mine.

My first real high school boyfriend was also into the Stones. His friend Jamie had a Trans Am, and we would ride around, getting high, and I would watch them pretending to be Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, preening into the side mirror and singing to me at stoplights. “I wonder what it is…C’mon, little baby…you make me feel all right…you make me feel…so GOOD! Yes indeed! I feel pretty good! I feel pretty good! I’m all right!”

When I went to college, my best friend ditched me and I was left to a dorm room all by myself. She joined a fraternity as a little sister and I didn’t know anyone, didn’t totally get the concept of higher education, and didn’t really know how to be by myself; I had always had my family around. Needless to say, I was floundering in sea of angst and insecurity. Whoa, whoa, woe, woe! I listened to “Moonlight Mile” from Sticky Fingers every night as I fell asleep: “Now I am sleeping under strange, strange skies/ I’m just about a moonlight mile/ on down the road…”

As I got older, the Stones remained a part of me. I’d bring them out when I was sad or happy, when I was cleaning the house or on road trips. But not too long ago – was it five years? Ten years? Who knows?! Some years ago, I went to a big Rolling Stones concert,  in a park, maybe at a lake. It was a big concert, with tons of people and a huge stage. I went with some great friends, including my best friend from when I was in middle school, Weenie, and it was in Austin, my vacation playground; good times!

Because the concert was sold out, you couldn’t park anywhere near it.We had to take a shuttle bus that dropped us off at the the edge of a grassy area and form there it was a long trudge; nay, it was a slog, a slog to a bridge, that led over a paddock to a prairie to a field to a huge wall of port-o-potties to a large grassy areas where all manner of old and infirm were slowly and deliberately making their way. I was enchanted.

Now, I quit smoking the ganja long ago. It’s not that I have anything against it, and I raise a lighter to those states that have decriminalized it. One day, I just lost the desire to smoke out, and that was that. But every once in awhile, on a few blue moon occasions, it seems like the right thing to do. And in that field, with kindly gray cotton candy heads nodding their grizzled encouragement and approval, smoke the ganj I did.

Here are some lessons that can be learned by toking it up after a long interlude of not getting high, from the point of view of the subject:

A. When one is high for the first time in a long time, everybody in the vicinity will want to know how the experience feels, as all those nearby may have forgotten what it’s like to be high for the first time. It is the duty of the newly-wasted to tell everyone else what’s going on, blow-by-blow and minute-by-minute. Tell them. They want to know. Say things like, “Wow, I don’t think I have ever been this thirsty in my entire life,” or, “Don’t you think ‘kizmit’ is a funny word?” or “Run? I can’t run! Running is crazy!”, or “When I get high, I think my eyes get squinty! No, really? Isn’t that weird! Look at them! They’re so small I can’t even see you! What? Open them? Oh, right!”

B. It is possible for two people to have a long, in-depth conversation with each other at a loud, rock and roll concert, that can last upwards of twelve minutes, with many meaningful back-and-forth exchanges, gestures, raucous laughter, and significant glances. After such a warm human experience, it is also possible to realize that one or both parties was unable to hear and therefore understand any of the discussion, but enjoyed it perhaps more than any other dialogue they have ever had.

C. It’s fun to dance, especially if you are in a big crowd where everybody is having a good time. Part of the fun is that there is no right or wrong when you dance. All you have to do is just feel the music and let your body take over. But wait! What does that mean? Feel the music? Which part? The bass line? The drums? Heavens to Betsy, am I supposed to be feeling the back up singers or the guitar solo? Am I dancing a melody? Was Melody the name of the drummer in Josie and the Pussycats? Why am I thinking about this? And what am I talking about, let my body take over?! How? Which body part? My hands? Am I fist pumping to the piano? Do I look like I’m at a Dead show? That would really piss me off! Does my body have to piss RIGHT NOW?  Are my feet supposed to move AT THE SAME TIME as the rest of me? What does it mean to ‘keep the time’? What time is it? Isn’t it time for me to NOT be high anymore? How do you dance? It think her name was Melanie, not Melody.Who knows? She didn’t dance anyway. She was the drummer. She got the beat! Wait, am I still moving?  Am I just standing still with my head in my hands in the middle of a huge field full of old hippies because I can’t figure out dancing? Is everyone watching me? Where is the bathroom? I wish I could unstick my tongue from my top teeth so that I could ask someone to dance me over to the port-o-potty… 

D. If one is at a concert and one gets confused about dancing because one is too high, one should calm oneself by trying to relax and just listen to the music, especially if the music has always been a source of pleasure and comfort. There…that’s better.You know this song! You know all the songs! I’ll bet you can tell which song this is from the first five notes! Try it!

And that is when smoking marijauna ruined the Rolling Stones for me. I started really listening to the music and discovered that many of the Stones songs kinda sound alike. I mean, they have hundreds of tunes; some are bound to be similar. But here’s the thing – I never noticed before. I was so disappointed. And then it was just not the same to me. I felt like I’d lost a friend.

Until I saw Crossfire Hurricane. Damn! That is one good documentary! And while a lot of Stones songs sound the same, lots of them don’t. Yay! Welcome back, you dear old bastards! I missed you!

3. I started listening to music again! There is so much great music out there! Right now I have Herbie Hancock, Divine Fits, Diana Krall, Pleasure Club and Tom Waits in my cd player. I’ve been dancing in the living room, and guess what? It’s easy and fun!

 Me, in the living room. If it was 1978. And I was someone else.

  This is one of my favorite movies of all times. Here are a couple of interesting facts: Gene Kelly had a fever of 103 (Hot blooded!*) when he did this scene, and he had to be wet for so long that his wool suit shrunk!

*If you can link this reference to the band Foreigner, you are cold as ice! Well played,  70’s dork!

4. I’ve just started reading two good books. The first is This Side of Brightness, by Colum McCann. You know how much I love him! I’m only on page 97, but, as always, the simple poetry of his writing is equally as fascinating as the story he is telling. This is an early novel, from 1998, and it’s interesting to see the stylistic things that have changed or remain in his more recent books.

The second is by William Gay – that’s his name, don’t wear it out! It’s called i hate to see that evening sun go down, and it’s a collection of short stories. (He didn’t capitalize that “I”, so neither did i!) I’m really enjoying it, though it is pretty darn dark. So far the characters are all Southerners with sad, dusty lives, but the narratives are all really well laid out and compelling. I’m all sucked in, and I love his style.

5. I haven’t been watching much tv, but I did catch the 12-12-12 concert that was on to raise money for Hurricane Sandy. I liked it. The Who was my favorite band. They said “Fuck” twice. Kanye didn’t say it once. Pussy.

6. I saw a really good documentary called The Flat. It’s about this guy who finds out all of this weird stuff about his family when he helps his mom clean out his grandmother’s apartment after the grandmother’s death. In addition to that, it’s about how people  accept/acknowledge/understand information while simultaneously and subconsciously rejecting/forgetting/denying it; what Orwell called “doublethink” in 1984, and relationships, and ripples of time.

Here’s a trailer:

It’s not what you expect!

Also, if you didn’t get a chance, watch Beasts of the Southern Wild. It’s about families, too, and mythology, and creating narratives that help us to make sense of the world.

So, there you have it! Me this week! Pretty fabulous, right?


NOTE- I started writing this on the 12th, and planned on finishing it in a timely matter, but that didn’t happen. When the massacre at Newtown happened on the 14th, I didn’t feel like writing.Today, a week later, I’m still upset, but it’s Frank Zappa’s birthday and the end of the world, so I thought I’d go ahead and finish it up.

Live good lives, everyone. Tell people you love them. Be happy. Be nice. Peace to us all.