Let's not be strangers

Hi there. JJ here. I'm no longer updating this blog, but I'm starting fresh over at http://jjkeith.net/blog/ and you can subscribe to the new feed at http://feeds.feedburner.com/JJKeith. I also update on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, including copious kid pics.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sex and Candy

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I have a perverse habit. I like to put music on while playing with the kids. That's not the perverse habit, but I'll get to it. Give me a sec. It's been well documented (by me because, yeah, who else would?) that I have dubious taste in music. And I'm not even linking to all the articles I wrote about questionable bands for PopMatters in the mid naughts because I don't have to and I wrote them under a different name.

When I was in junior high and high school, I loved show tunes. True fact: I once owned nine different cast records of Les Misérables including the original Reykjavík and Israeli casts on cassette tape. Do you know what you had to do to get crazy shit like that in the early 90's? And remember, this was pre-Glee. There was nothing cool about the countless hours I spent locked in my bedroom listening to the original West End recording of "On My Own" while I played along on my clarinet.

Then, when I was in college I got into what I termed *ahem* "cunt punk," and then later on I got into other stuff, both dubious and otherwise, but that's not really point. (Who the fuck cares about my journey through music over the last few decades?) Anyway, what you need to know is that during the late 90's I was listening to Bikini Kill, Sleater Kinney, and Bratmobile on repeat, which, as you can guess, made me suuuuuper popular with my housemates. See, I had this thing where I wouldn't listen to any music primarily created by men... because feminist.

So yes, that was me: I was the feminazi bonerkiller. I am the one who killed all those boners with my feminaziism. If you lost a boner between 1997 and 2001, I probably killed it. Mea culpa.

So the perverse habit: when I'm outside playing with the kids, I use Pandora to sonically transform my yard into a late 90s frat party minus the red cups and the freaking. All the music I dubbed douchy, fratty, tool rock for fledgling patriarchs when I was in college? That's what I like to listen to. It started with Cake (which was always my secret patriarchal indulgence), but now I've moved on to Sublime, Weezer, Semisonic, Presidents of the United States of America, Lit, Everclear, Matchbox 20, Harvey Danger, Marcy Playground, Barenaked Ladies, etc. -- all the music I rebuked while I was still actively killing boners. I mean, before my husband's. Amirite, married ladies?

(Sorry. God, I hate myself for that one.)

It seems I'm nostalgic for an era that I hated. But that era I hated? It was mine. Even though I never listened to any of that music myself, I heard it at parties. I danced to it. I tolerated it when other people played it in their cars. There are memories attached to all that music because that was the radio-prescribed soundtrack of my brief youth, back when the world was full of boners to kill. Those are my golden oldies! Which -- forgive me -- is a jagged little pill to swallow.

(I did listen to Alanis Morrisette because she's a lady and bonus points for being angry.)

The other day I was chatting with my 19-year-old cousin-in-law Timmy, as I am wont to do. I was cooking dinner for my family and bemoaning the fact that I'm a grown-ass adult with two kids who has to Google how to broil chicken breasts. And Timmy, in his finite but measurable wisdom, was like, "Maybe that was covered in one of the grades you skipped. Way to fuck up being a teenager."

Ouch.

So yeah, I graduated from college when I was 20, something Timmy knows very well because I like to point out that he was a senior in high school at the same age I was a senior in college because I'm a huge, unforgivable douchebag who will gloat about anything if given the chance.

A sentence with two becauses? That just happened.

If you had told me when I was 20 that there would be lasting consequences of beginning my adulthood early by choice, I would have laughed in your face and then said something incoherent about the patriarchy. But Timmy was right, albeit brutal (turnabout is fair play). I fucked up being a teenager and now I'm an adult hobbling along with a missing developmental stage. I had a live-in boyfriend when I was 17. I married when I was 23. Oats were sowed, but I'm not sure I let them sit long enough to reap all of them.

What? Did I just drop a crop metaphor? Shit is getting serious. This is basically the Bible now.

My fragile ego wants you to know that I'm not an overgrown child. Actually, I'm pretty good at being an adult despite my juvenile sense of humor and shortcomings in the kitchen. Most days my family's pajamas are washed and back in the drawers by tea time. I arrive places on time. I pack enough snacks. I back up my harddrive. I have a superb credit score. My weed is a legally obtained prescription for anxiety because I'm taking care of my mental health like a fuckin' adult. Not like those cretins in other states who smoke it illegally. Sheesh, guys. Grow the fuck up and follow the law, will ya? Dope is for dopes.

But touches of adolescence seep in around my usual mom/hausfrau-related activities. Now that I'm nearly 33, I'm ready to admit that not all late 90's alt-rock hits were slouchy missives from the patriarchy and it's pretty fun to recall that weird "Sex and Candy" song and the way it was errywhere.  But lest I get carried away with romancing my lost adolescence, I have Timmy to remind me of some of the things I was fleeing when I fast-forwarded through my teens -- plans dependent on flakey friends, no cash, crappy booze, filthy co-ed bathrooms, and crippling uncertainty.

Funny the way certainty and uncertainty are equally crippling. Shit goes full circle, yo. And a coupl'a decades later and I still like sex and candy. Though the order may have changed.

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