Sisters, today I felt what I realize is but a taste of your pain.
A few minutes ago at work, I totally got gamed up by a girl. That is to say, I feel like a girl effectively did to me what I usually (at least attempt to) do with girls. I approached my friend Leah (of birthday song fame) with mock-jealousy after hearing that she planned to allow one of our co-workers to take her out to see the movie "Notorious", and before I could even blink, she had shut down my accusations of infidelity (in the context of our fictional relationship) with a series of well-worded, calmly and sincerely delivered, flattering and (more than likely) completely empty statements designed to reassure me of my place in her heart. Among them were the sentiments that the guy she was going out with was someone she "was just using in a way she would never use me" and that the dude in question *had* to pay for her time, whereas I "could spend time with her any time free of charge". It was so smooth and so unassailable that I really had no choice but to stammer for a little bit, wonder how the hell that just happened, and then fall for it. I felt totally outfoxed, but I was cool with it. This conjured, for the first time in my life, the idea that if dudes really want to learn how to be smooth operators, a key move would be to study certain kinds of girls. Leah should write a book on this. I know several no-game-having clowns who could learn loads from her.
Everywhere I look, I see Obama's impending historic inauguration being exploited commercially in a shameless and unrelenting way. On the one hand, I imagine that it must pain him on some level to be commodified so insistently, but the on the other, I'm sure he anticipated this kind of fervor if he has actually believed he could win from the beginning. I saw a dude with a John Kerry bumper sticker driving past me on my way home, and the sight of it provoked a reflexive reaction of contempt the way a fashion savvy junior high queen bee might look down on a math team captain's choice of long out of style jeans. I felt more than a little ashamed once I caught myself, but I guess this is what happens when politics and popular culture cross-pollinate.
One of the first episodes of Nickelodeon's quirky nineties sitcom "Pete and Pete" involved little Pete's favorite song, which was some tune that he heard the band on the opening credits play once in a neighbor's garage, and due to some mildly complicated circumstances I can no longer remember, he never got to hear it again, or at least not until the end of the episode or something, right? So the premise of the whole thing was something about hearing a song that you absolutely loved on first listen but would never get to hear again. Possibly because seeing that episode and internalizing it's theme primed me to do this subconsciously, I have had comparable experiences with two different songs. Once, when I was fifteen and on vacation with my family in (on maybe?) Emerald Island, North Carolina I heard the coolest fucking Smashing Pumpkins single *ever* in some random souvenir shop while I was alone, and I have never been able to figure out what it was, nor have I been able to recall a note of it.
All I know is, it was the perfect song to hear when the rest of your family is out doing some kiddie activity and you are dicking around in a gift shop somewhere alone in a town and state where you don't know anyone and cliques of teenagers who remind you of your friends back home are laughing and having fun nearby and you know you're gonna lie awake chatting up the girl you're crushing on from home on the phone all that night when you get back to the beach house and you simultaneously know that as soon as you get back to your town for more than a few days it'll be old to you again and you won't even want anything to do with your real crew that the counterpart group in the gift shop reminded you of. It had this epic instrumental opening that caught my attention immediately, and I knew before the vocals ever came in that I was going to love it. Maybe the vocals were distinctly Billy Corgan or something but I know when I heard it that I immediately assumed it was the Pumpkins, but I know for a fact the song is not on their greatest hits cd. My only theory was that maybe it was an album track that some maverick (John McCain perhaps?) dj was giving run for his own reasons. A friend of mine once suggested that maybe it was a single from Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlain's post-Pumpkins project Zwan, which would totally make sense, but I almost don't want to find out and ruin the mystery/fun. I've never heard it once since.
More recently, I have heard a song at PF Chang's at sporadic times over the last two or three years that I totally love but sounds completely unfamiliar to me and no one who works with me ever pays enough attention to nail down what it is. Not to get all dick thumpy about it, but I'm reasonably knowledgeable about pop music and the fact that this band or artist caught my attention so easily but rang no bells of recognition completely boggles me. It sounds kind of like it may be an alternative piano trio-that isn't Ben Folds Five- but with a pop punky kind of vocalist who is somehow vaguely reminiscent of Matt Thiessen from Relient K. I can sing the chorus melody and can even remember a stray word here or there, but not enough to successfully google it or even communicate it well enough to my colleagues that they might know what the hell I'm talking about. All of our music is streamed through a series of satellite radio stations, but none of the managers have been able to tell me what format it might've been on or how to track it down, largely because I can hardly tell them anything about. Funnily enough, when I heard the lead-off Motion City Soundtrack single ("This is For Real") from their latest album for the first time last year, the first thing I thought of was that something about the bass line reminded me of the piano progression from the mystery Chang's song.
But wait- it gets worse than that! I've had a similar phenomenon with a mysterious flavor of Doritos that I had on one occasion the weekend of my twenty-first birthday when I was celebrating my pal's twentieth birthday (which was three days later) at my apartment with some shitty horror movie and Ledo's pizza. Whatever flavor they were, these Doritos kicked ass in a way that none others ever have. I spent all of 2008 checking for them in the snack aisles of every convenience or grocery store I might've stumbled into with no luck, but of course, part of the problem is that I might not know them upon sight only. Currently I am eating "spicy sweet chili" flavor Doritos which are really good themselves, and might even be the ones in question, but alas, I may have idealized them so much from one experience that none will ever compare to what they taste like in my feeble mind.
Where ever you may be, my dear sweet Dorito variety, know that I will remember our sweet but heatbreakingly brief time together forever.