Thursday, May 16, 2013

No Direction Home

I had a day off after a particularly long week of extreme retail nonsense. All I wanted to do was loaf around and eat, lick my wounds and sulk. So, I have this thing about hamburger meat and my childhood. I've always loved it. Used to eat it raw for some unknown reason before I got caught. I remember grabbing little hunks out of the package before my mom slapped my hand. But not before I got my sweet reward. I can still taste it when I close my eyes, its super soft and a little fatty, no salt, just raw meat. Maybe it appealed to me because I've always felt part wolf or wild dog. Anyway, ground meat soothes me and I had some in the fridge on this day. I woke up early so hunger was working already at around 9am. I figured since I've been off the pasta for awhile, I'd do a huge plate nice and early and reward myself a bit without too much backlash from the gut. Like many women, I've made quick spaghetti so many times I do it almost without thinking. The onion, garlic gets sauteed, the meat goes in, the mushrooms, the canned tomatoes and paste, spices. I had some good olives, so I threw those in. Fast spaghetti has been with me all my life, beginning with boxes of 'the kit' from Chef Boy R Dee. The Complete Spaghetti Dinner. It came with the can of meat sauce, a can of Parmesan cheese and spaghetti all in a box with directions. Since my mom and dad had to work at the restaurant all day and night and I was too young to get too excited yet about my upcoming endless take-out options, my mom would leave money for 'the Chef' and a bag of Seyferts Potato Chips, a coke and maybe a few extra nickels for some penny candy for me and my sister R. I'd haul ass up to Hep's Dairy and fetch all the goodies. Later, my sister T perfected a family sauce and me and my other sister R began carrying the tradition of making that sauce regularly. T was always experimental and would put different extras in the sauce like mango to keep us on our toes. We'd visit her house through the years and it was expected we'd be treated with 'the special sauce', beers and always the best weed. T always had the best weed, as an old sister should. She'd take her time and simmer the sauce, and somehow it was always better than mine. Back then, at around 19 I would certainly have imagined that I would be working 30 some years later at a retail job. That wouldn't have been depressing at all. I'd probably ask if it had bennies and that would be bonus. That was security and the less you had to worry about finances, the more freedom you could have just living your very simple but happy and satisfying life. You could have a Cape Cod or a Dutch Colonial with detailed wood molding along your stairwells. Maybe even get yourself some original pieces like wall sconces from of the 40s. Dreams then would be in the form of a nice tricked out deck in your backyard and a kick ass grill. I'd marry some guy that perhaps had a good factory gig himself with bennies. That would define success at that time. Just a couple of years up the road and much of that same contentment and ease would dwindle down to nothing and suddenly I felt the need to blast out of that town like the roadrunner. Instead of being cool and just settling in, I started having all these wild dreams. Dreams of becoming famous. The word celebrity didn't even truly exist yet. MTV was brand new but us restless youth out in the Midwest were just getting a taste of 'what could be'. I was taking my guitar lessons. I knew I wanted to play lead in a band along the likes of Led Zeppelin. No big stretch. My expectations were reasonable, I thought. Up that road, that life I had been standing in line to begin was feeling like a lie. That town was feeling like it was run by accountants in bad shoes and people that didn't want to hear any new ideas. I was feeling like these new dreams were starting to sound very reachable. All you gotta do is just head out to California and things happen. Madonna was only inventing her first self out in New York, not yet a reality. But in a way, it was as if all of us goofball dreamers were in a trance, heading to the 80's in a bad hair crusade to ultimate stupidity. Everything was wrong with the vision but all I knew is that it was better than where I was headed. Dreams can be dead wrong. Dreams can be misguided, off-target, faulty. Every award show someone says to 'always follow your dreams, don't ever give up, blah blah. Well I'm here to proclaim, 'welllllll.... maybe sometimes its okay to trash some of those 'far-fetchers'". Sure, I wish I would have become an accomplished guitarist but in reality after years of practicing, I barely had enough talent to mock others riffs and melodies. I never had it in me to make music. I wasn't a true musician. It still kills me but at least I know it. And I was just dumb enough so that if I had any real success, I'm almost positive I would be face down in the gutter from years of bad choices accompanied by enough money to allow it to be so. Maybe for most of us schleps dreams are meant to remain in constant flux. Just a road sign for anticipated miles ahead to the next possibility. We don't have to make it our final destination. It's just important to shoot for things and to keep looking ahead. I'm glad my dreams did not come true. Mostly, my dreams were pretty stupid and shallow, not thought out or murky. Like I really wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer but hated all the cornball choreography even as a kid. I just wanted to dance!

 Most of us don't know what the hell we want or need at the time we're in it anyway.
  Some of my favorite life moments are walking home from that Hep's Dairy on a muggy summer day mesmerized by the water running down the side of the road and the shiny rocks beneath, completely fulfilled just being me and having everything and nothing specific to look forward to. That's what I shoot for now, live in the moment like children do naturally and allow contentment in when it comes. After that great pasta breakfast, for dinner I made a big dinner salad with baby spinach, onions, avocado, feta, sunflower seeds, cucumber, the works and some of that Creamy Tomatillo Ranch Salad dressing. A dream meant for consumption.

1 comment:

Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home?