Reliving My 20’s…And Not In A Good Way

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Hindsight is fantastic, no?  Actually, no.  What is the point, really?  So you can say to yourself, “Oh, now I totally understand why those events happened and why I reacted the way I did, but it’s 10 years later and I don’t know those people anymore and cannot explain or apologize to them.”  Thanks for being so helpful, hindsight.

Recently, I’ve gotten myself into debt after years of being debt free.  This is due to unforeseen and quite outrageous vet bills, as well as my need to relieve the stress of having huge vet bills by shopping.  I haven’t been this broke since I was in my 20’s.

Back in the late 1980’s, I always had at least one spandex-wearing roommate (not including the cockroaches…who only wore spandex on special occasions) just to be able to afford a studio apartment in a shitty part of the city.  But I was living in Manhattan!  One dim and dank apartment was robbed twice.  Along with our few valuables they also availed themselves of a box of Corn Flakes and used the toilet–LEAVING THE SEAT UP.  Another apartment on the Lower East Side caught fire after the landlord of the squat next door paid a neighborhood kid to set fire to his building (allegedly) because he had been unable to evict the squatters.  The madness that ensued is an entire blog post all its own.  Even with roommates the rent was never paid on time and the rest of the bills were always juggled with at least one left unpaid.  I had a job as an assistant (back then it was known by the less sexy term secretary) that paid around 14K after taxes.  I never had enough cash to take the subway to and from work, and taxis were an unaffordable luxury.  I would occasionally work a second job; the hardest and best paying was as a bar back at a club called The World, where on any given night you could run into Keith Haring, Madonna or one of the fabulous drag queens that inhabited the East Village like Lady Bunny or RuPaul.  The bathrooms were unisex and there were no doors on any of the stalls.  Back then my constant worry was lack of money, not who saw me peeing.

My friends and I knew the bouncers and bartenders at every club and bar south of 14th Street and rarely had to pay to get in or buy drinks.  Night after night we would dance and drink until the wee morning hours, coming home only to shower before heading off to work.  Back in the day I may not have had any money, but I certainly had stamina.  Now it seems I have neither.

Honestly folks,  I’m just bitching when I know I should be grateful.  My apartment is cockroach-free and I have a doorman — something I never would have dreamed of in my 20’s (doormen were for fascists, Republicans and socialites who spoke through clenched teeth). I currently have a good paying job which affords me the wherewithal to pay my bills, even if that means I cut back on everything else.  In my 20’s I found a way to survive on ten bucks a week.  I learned to make do and that’s what I shall do again!  Suck it up, sweetheart.

Perhaps hindsight does provide a sense of perspective…

My First Memory

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If your first memory is of being held in your mother’s loving arms while she looked at you adoringly or of playing under a bright summer sky with your pawpaw who was the greatest man that ever lived, you can stop reading now.  This posting is for the rest of us.

Everyone has good memories and bad, although the bad seem to have more staying power than the good.  Perhaps that’s just me?  I have many wonderful childhood memories of spending time at my great-grandmother’s house at the beach where my brother, sister and I spent a lot of time chasing gulls and sandpipers, collecting sand dollars, making forts from driftwood, and poking at various dead things that washed up on the beach after storms.  Yet one of the most vivid memories I have is of getting stranded on a small rock when the tide came in, bawling my eyes out and being rescued by a surfer.  There began my love of surfers (that means you, Kelly Slater).

My very first memory is from a time when I was learning to walk.  I am unsteady on my feet, teetering back and forth as I learn to balance on my unbelievably fat legs.  Seriously, I think my mother must have fed me lard.  Wrapped in bacon.  Wearing only a diaper, I step and sway my way from the coffee table to the side table, attracted by the shiny orange object laying atop it.  My mother is in the kitchen, fixing supper.  There was no “open concept kitchen” in those days and so she keeps peeking her head out to make sure I am not getting into trouble.  Apparently, the orange thing is a favorite target of mine as my mother admonishes me, “No no.  Keep away from that.”  I look at her then back at the orange object, aglow with bright promise in the late afternoon sunlight.  I slowly pull my hand back…and wait for her to disappear back into the kitchen.  Now is my chance!  I reach into the shallow ceramic bowl and grab the owl sitting in the middle of it.  It doesn’t budge.  I try again.  Still won’t move.  I want it so bad.  Oh but look!  There are other goodies in the bowl.  What can those be?  I grab a chubby fist full and squeeze.  I drop those and pick up more.  So fun.  “Lori!”  My mother is back and clearly not happy.  “Get your hand out of that ashtray right this minute!”

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(Sorry to throw you under the bus grandpa and grandma but the only other pic I could find that showed the ashtray also featured my sister at age 9 dressed as one of Charlie’s Angels and she would probably stab me for posting it.)

Please post a comment with your earliest memory.  I would love to know!