So I’ve been getting my Ace of Base on. In special needs repeat.
This brings joo-joo joy because:
- I’m special needs
- I’m ooold (to be said like Joey Tribbiani)
- I’m instantly transported back to being 17 years old
I’d just moved outta home into a stu-stu-studio with stained-glass windows and kitsch kitchen. Still in high school, I was the same Wuc you almost know today – freckled and forthright, with a penchant for daggy music and eveready dancin’. My mates’d tell tale of hanging at houses with parental sentinel, then camp out at mine – clubbing til dawn under the beats of Boyz II Men, Kris Kross and Marky Mark & The Drunky Bunch.
Good (illegal) (yet strangely innocent) times.
In those days (voice tilts like old codger with one hand on his testicle, the other on his toast), ID was easier to fake. Armed only with dark hair, red lips and a bogus birth certificate (via typewriter and a minimally-criminal brother) … BOOM! Shake the room! I was in.
‘Twas also in my seventeenth year that my love of movies brought its first tradge and lamentable lesson: never know thy neighbours.
Sure, it may seem a wonderbar situation – a beauteous community of possible beaus, barbecues and perennial cups of sugar. In truth, living abreast of you at any given time is a salty sea of schizos and a crackin’ lack of sweetness (proverbial or otherwise).
My first neighbour (cuckoo) dropped by one dog day afternoon as I was hanging washing, my little kitchen watching over me like a white ‘n’ wide grandmother nearby. Baggy in boob and balance, Heretic Hippy paused to borrow some food of iconic import and instantly, puffs of possibility floated above my head as it dawned: I’m living in a real movie moment!
Thus. Taking my lead from every lead in a motion picture, I accepted her invite for coffee and entered her flat (aka Hotel California) with filmic faith.
So began a siege of Pacino proportions. Our camaraderie cooling with our coffees, she came at me like a Jodie Foster film, friends. In minutes I was whisked down the rabbit hole of her youth, a tragic tumult of trauma and abuse. Then onto boyfriends of bulimic past and bash-full present. As she talked, one arm lay over her head like a halted hula, exposing in earnest her left armpit. A bush of hair charged forth as if freshly freed from a turban and, in rhythm to repartee, her free hand serially strummed said frizz like a frenetic harp.
Work the armpit. Work, work the armpit.
Hours passed. The sun and my hope retreated behind a darkened skyline … and each edging towards exit was met with new reasons to stay. Stuck in the Swamp of Sadness, there would be no Artax to take the fall. Beverage turned to bolognaise, dinner to dessert, and talk to Miss America. She waxed loony lyrical on how revolutionary and intelligent the women were. Sufferin’ suffragettes (to be said like Sylvester). Then. At midnight.
“I have to leave sometime, you know.”
“You don’t, actually. You could sleep over there.”
You know the dolly zoom in Jaws, just before the kid bites it? When she pointed to a dark ‘n’ defeated divan in the crusty corner of her consciousness – I felt it in real time, Brody baby.
You can check out, but you can never leave.