Wednesday, October 17, 2018

I'm Traveling Down the Road and I'm Flirting with Disaster

Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Tuscana
If we're going retro here, then I have to mention that the store that I work for has music blaring in the parking lot, so as I ride up it sets the tone for my day.  Sometimes the song playing it's an old classic, so it mellows me out.  When it's say a bad song from the 80s that maybe I sang in a cover band, it leaves me wondering about life's odd ways.
Sometimes it goes even farther back to my grade school days and puts me back into a particular setting that is either light or dark as hell.  I'm so sensitive to music that a particular song can change me in just a few notes.  Many times for the better but also for the much worse.
Today I rode up on Molly Hatchet's Flirting with Disaster.  I found it fitting, slightly comedic and at first I didn't remember the song connected with any bad happenings.  I do know it was a time of exploring different types of crowds, trying to find my people, so to speak.  There was a period of time where I was hanging with a particular crew of southern rockers, found through friends of acquaintances.  This married couple held parties on Monday nights at their house in a part of town that no one else lived that I knew.  Everyone seemed to be friends for a long time in this group but they took me in, accepted me. The couple had a large selection of vinyl and there I learned more about Bob Seger than I ever cared to know.  I could understand the music and even identified in some ways but it still wasn't my scene, nor were these people yet I loved being a part because they were so passionate about their music and the artists.  They played Molly Hatchet a lot so I bought the album and played it in my car from time to time. The singer's voice felt like someone I knew, it was familiar. It sounded like my town.
I loved drinking beer at their place and how I instantly felt better and relaxed. I knew someone would start telling stories about a band or a show.   I also liked their place because they never stopped changing the records. There was always a discussion about what to play next and why. And they never ran out of beer.  So that kept me coming but sometime in between I noticed a boy that looked way too much like Robert Plant to be real.  He had the same smile and long golden curly locks.  I couldn't believe he existed in our cold grey town, and in an accessible area even. Unfortunately he couldn't sing or play guitar. Well I came to several parties and we exchanged smiles and must have talked a couple of times, nothing of note.  One night he asked if I would give him a ride home and I did.  It turned out he lived pretty far so we talked a bit.  I had no idea if he liked me but I hoped he did.  I dropped him off at a nice trailer park. It all felt very sweet and first-base-y, like junior high, which I thought was odd but also kind of refreshing. I should have suspected something when he asked me to turn my lights out when we pulled up. But we were all so young, I thought he might live with his parents. I did.   Well next party, guess whose wife shows up?  I found out too late who she was so I was puzzled as to why I was getting darts thrown at me all night by this strange new woman.  So far, everyone was so friendly.  The owner of the house pulled me aside and said I better be going.  Why me!?  What did I do?  I thought.  I was just hanging, albeit slightly inebriated by that point. I wondered if I was laughing too loud or something. I was so happy that I actually befriended all these people all by myself. I came to these weekly parties alone, which for me was a big step.  So this was crushing.  I had no idea what was happening but I didn't argue, just got my coat.  It was bitter cold out and I do recall the shameful horrible feeling I had walking out of their Cape Cod.  I may have been a little drunk but I noticed odd stares and attention on me, as if the music stopped as I left.  I didn't get two steps out of the door before Mrs Plant grabbed me by the hair and without hesitation or words, she  commenced to kick the living shit out of me.  Time went out of sequence, like a car accident.  I was walking then I was on the ground in seconds trying to protect my face and head. What I remember is the tiny sparkles in the concrete as she held my face down on that ice cold sidewalk. She kicked my head several times before the owner pulled her off of me.  Then he picked me up like a wash cloth and walked me to my car.  As I got the keys in the ignition he explained who she was and told me it's best if I didn't come back, that he wished it could have been different, how they liked having me over but couldn't have this kind of thing happen. His voice was fading in and out - all I could understand was, he thinks it's my fault. I felt it very important to tell him I had no idea he was married and he sure the hell didn't mention it, but for some reason I didn't. I just sat there and nodded.  He headed back in and I just tried to breathe for what felt like a lifetime. I couldn't lift my eye lids enough to look up for quite awhile. I didn't cry, I just deflated. Eventually I drove off and never returned.
similar house party and era
Hearing the song at 7 in the morning in Brooklyn, New York is so much different than that shit storm that happened almost 40 years ago.  The fact that we can go back to some random moment and remember who and where we were is such a testament to the strength of our brain.  All triggered by a simple tune, showing the power of music.  It also gives a chance to be back in that difficult moment to zap all the electricity out of the memory.  Proof of the even higher voltage of the human heart. 
eating well recipenew feature! my whiny voice as I'm developing a thought on the spot

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