I have been lovingly creating this post for two or three days. It’s taken me so long to post because I seem to be having some issues with my Mac at home and Safari and WordPress. Some combination keeps kicking me offline. Thank goodness we have a PC at home also.
I never thought I would be this grateful for a PC.
It was at the Rex Theater, on the South Side, my old stomping grounds. Walking into that concert was like going to 1996. Except everyone looked 15 years older (go figure). Oh, and instead of dating The Ex (more on that in a moment), I was with my husband of almost-seven years.
Attending the concert (if I can use so high-falutin’ a word to describe seeing the LA punk band from the 1980s) made me feel young. Primarily this was because everyone else around me was obviously older: a lot of gray-haired or balding punk guys, many of whom I was acquainted with (no, not like that) back in the day. The women, including myself, seem to have aged much better.
Although low lighting, make-up, and hair dye may combine to cover a multitude of sins.
I don’t know what I was thinking, but I wore a white shirt with my dark jeans. I stood out just a little bit in that sea of black. I partly attribute that white shirt to a lot of the looks I got that night.
But, if I may take a step away from the modest, self-effacing persona I affect: I also think I looked damn hot. And not just damn hot for a 37-year-old mother of two girls. I was just looking good. It must have been an excellent night for bloggin’ Burgh moms.
X was amazing. If I closed my eyes, I could have easily believed I was hearing them in their heyday. They were tight, they were loud, they played the hits and then some.
With my eyes open, it was a bit of a different experience.
This was my only time to see this band. Guitarist Billy Zoom… let’s say he has an odd stage presence. He stood at the very, very front of the stage, legs spread as far as 60-year-old hips would allow. Sixty-years old, looks about 45, silver-blond pompador and cold blue eyes — Rutger Hauer with a guitar. He smiled and nodded, and winked, and smiled and nodded — honestly I thought maybe he was stoned on something.
But, crikey, he played the hell out of that guitar.
John Doe looked pretty good for a 60-year-old punk bass player. He had great stage presence, too, talking to the crowd, being relevant and funny. Pretty good for a guy whose debut album dropped in 1980.
D.J. Bonebrake looked very good for a 60-year-old punk drummer. Although very, very bald.
Exene Cervenka looked like the creepy psychic from Poltergeist. DearDR actually leaned over and said, “This house is clean” when she walked onstage. The years have not treated her well.
This woman has a child with Viggo Mortensen, people. I don’t know what she’s hitting these days, but she should stop it from hitting her back.
The weirdest, most time-warped part of the evening was after the show, when a number of people with whom I spent the most of my time in 1996 spontaneously assembled in front of the Rex. There they were: The Ex (married the same year I was; wife was home making cupcakes); The Drummer Guy (now divorced with three children); E (still a good acquaintance, married — his wife attended the show, too — with a 7-year-old).
And then we went down the street to the place where I drank more beer and spent more time than almost any other place in the years from 1991 to 2000: Dees Cafe.
And the weirdest part of this weird part was how The Ex was raving about how gorgeous I looked, and how I was getting the … love-sexy vibe from him.
The Ex — if I can call a guy I broke up with 10 years ago that — is a good guy. But, in the words of Douglas Adams, “He’s just this guy, you know?”
Ten years ago — well, to be honest, more like eleven years ago — I thought I loved The Ex. We lived together. There were times during that time I figured we were going to get married. There were times during that time I thought I wanted us to get married.
In retrospect, to be perfectly honest, I cannot adequately express how relieved I am that we did not get married.
The Ex is not a bad guy. He did not beat me; he did not cheat on me; he did not bilk me out of a lot (or any) money. Yeah, he smoked pot (I did too back then) and occasionally — like once a year — did heavier drugs (this very behavior was the thing that lead to our first of two break-ups). He was a fantastic cook.
The thing that lead to our second break-up was me figuring out what I wanted in a partner and finally recognizing that The Ex wasn’t it.
I wanted someone who was interested in me. I wanted someone who was interested in my life, my family, my passions. The Ex liked me, he said he loved me, and he never went out of his way to ever hurt me. But he really wasn’t interested in me, in being my partner.
To give you an example, here’s a conversation we had at one point when we were living together. The Ex was talking about buying a house. How much he wanted to own his own house. The type of house he wanted to buy, and where, and what he would do to it.
Me: So, would I be living in this house with you?
Ex: Well, yeah, if you wanted to.
Me:…. Well, do you want me to?
Ex: I would be happy if you lived in a house with me.
Me: I wouldn’t live in a house that you owned as your girlfriend.
Yeah, that’s kind of how it was. If I wanted to do what he was doing, he was perfectly content. If I wanted him to do something I wanted to do (i.e. attend one of my cousins’ weddings, go to one of my poetry readings) there were problems. Big problems. When I finally wised up and realized that he was not interested in a life together, I dumped him. Literally, almost, as I had to drive him, at 3 a.m., from the hotel at which we were staying (out by the airport) after my brother’s wedding back to his car (on the South Side).
My last words on that night were not very nice. There were two. One started with F. Do the math.
That was ten years ago. I didn’t talk to him for a long time. I had zero interest in being his friend, in seeing him at all really (I could tell that story about walking into the Big Bird on the South Side about a month after our break-up and seeing him in line with a big-boobed girl and what that did to my body, which felt simultaneously feverish-hot and ice-cold, and how I almost walked out, but figured I was going to have to deal with catching sight of him, and went ahead and did my shopping).
But now we see each other in social settings. He and DearDR occasionally play poker together. His wife is very funny (and chesty!), and pretty, and — I get the sense although I don’t know her well — can be sweet. He has a huge “crush” on Monkey, which cracks me up.
But it’s always weird because there comes a time in the night when we are saying good-bye, and he gives me a hug, and murmurs “I love you” in my ear, and I’m like, “Me too” because what the hell else am I supposed to say. Friday was one of those nights. His wife wasn’t around; he was kind of feeling me up with his eyes and going on about how great I looked (and I did look great, did I mention), and how lucky DearDR is (damn skippy) and when he sat down next to me in a booth at Dee’s he muttered something about not throwing me out of bed for eating crackers.
Yeah, so, that was my Friday night last week. The band rocked.
The time warp was weird.