Thursday, August 21, 2008
There is something quite indulgent about sitting around your house, mid-day, with dirty hair and day old pajama bottoms. As you must know, I'm not working today so my mood is upbeat and my mind is clear of nincompoop ideas and foolish tasks to complete. I left yesterday with fairly bad period cramps and although I was in pain, I would rather bleed for a year, full-force, rather than work in Roosevelt Hall, a place that once rattled with spirited laughter and learning and has now been reduced to the cries of a trapped animal, suffering and maimed, about to meet its untimely death. I have chosen to live, therefore, I am home with a dirty body, no bra and half smeared eye glasses that I can't bother to clean. The clincher here is that I am satisfied, complete and utterly pleased with my new fashion statement. I like to call it my "Rough Look" or "How I Simply Don't Give a Shit." This is how I plan to be for the next several months although the hubby may not appreciate my vivid stench and crusty drawers!
I remember living in The Maycomber in Cape May, New Jersey back in 1987 and knowing that I had to climb down 89 steps, plus the front porch stairs...probably another 12, walk half way around the large, clap board rooming house, to do my laundry. You can really see what's going to happen next can't you? My friend Sarah and I once decided to throw our laundry out the window, three stories up and see if that would be easier on the back and the legs. The thought of not having to carry laundry down the mountain of stairs that lied ahead was not only genius but rather savvy. After patting myself on the back for such a ballsy idea, we set out to complete our mission. I tossed and she hand caught whatever she could rescue from the confines of Howard Street and Beach Drive. I think I lost my favorite pair of polka dotted granny panties on a brown sedan's roof that afternoon, never to see them again but it was worth it. After wrestling our filthy clothes into two small washers, we hugged ourselves silly about how easy the laundry was that day and toasted with a nice ice cold Coke.
Our bliss was fleeting when complaint after complaint was filed with our eccentric landlord, John, the son of a multi-millionaire father and pill-popping, boozed up mother. He managed the joint and ran it straight into the ground, never keeping up its grounds or building but managed to polish his fancy Snooker table, almost obsessively, everyday. John was about 40 and lived in the second floor ocean front apartment with his much younger, very attractive girlfriend. I don't remember her name but she was hoity and had the body of a perfect little waif. She only spoke to me when she wanted to bum a cigarette but when I stopped smoking Marlboro Lights and switched to Salem Slim Lights, she quickly terminated our tobacco friendship, moving on to a few other resident not yet wise to her cheap ways. I'm sure she was in it only for the money, since John looked like a bleach blond version of John Denver, sans the guitar and Rockie Mountains. He was the product of Main Line Philadelphia and was a spoiled rotten, do-nothing slob. Apparently he had no other work skills in his sad bag of tricks, so his parents bought him a huge, aging Goliath of a house and asked him to run it as a summer rental. Instead what he did was rent it out to a bunch of college kids, people hiding out from the law, wannabe fishermen, rent-a-cops, drifters and drug addicts. What a group we were, with all our imperfections, living in the oldest seashore resort in the country, on beach front property that was worth a small fortune. The only hindrance was the place was caving in, literally, and was thought to be haunted.
When John approached us on the front porch, his demeanor towards Sarah and I was snooty and oppressive. He thought we were common and bourgeois and embraced the opportunity to humiliate us on the main drag of town in one long winded blast of windbaggyiness that I still snicker about today. Back then I was only 20 years old, big hair, long nails and still in my banana clip stage. I didn't think much about what was appropriate and what wasn't. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't garish and rude or low-class, yet I was a young girl, still a virgin, living on my own for the first time and experiencing the sweet taste of freedom. Throwing my dirty, smelly undies out the window seemed brilliant and returning to college pointless. That was about my philosophy back in the day and I still relish those ideas today. I wanted to have fun and live my life and hated anyone who would try and block that, including my parents.
After such an eventful, eye-opening summer, I made the long drive back to Albany New York, knowing full well that I wasn't going to attend school that fall. I had six hours of driving to figure out how to tell them and as I kept listening to side one of The Eagles Greatest Hits, I realized that being truthful was the only route, direct and to the point. I must have smoked a pack of cigarettes that afternoon but by the time I got home, all that nicotine must have given me the courage and strength of a 1000 women. "I'm not unpacking, I'm not going to school and I'm moving back to Cape May till Thanksgiving!" I clamored. My parents weren't happy with me at all, yet they seemed to understand my predicament and would rather me explore my life than waste their money. I had a job to go back to and a place to live, so they gave me their blessing if you want to call it that and I drove back the next day. It sounds so matter of fact now, so hum-drum but it took a lot of courage to do that and although my decision was quite unpopular with my older sister, I moved forward and set out to search for my life.
The journey continues......