Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Song for an Election Tuesday

[EDITOR'S NOTE: I am shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you that no one, a single reader today has noted the gross - in every sense- typo hiding in plain sight on the first line of this post. While I'm sure there are many "pubic" services in Chicago, ranging from your the run-of-the-mill OBGYN to "The Ticklefest Pleasure Fountain", I was not referring these. My post is in reference to the many PUBLIC services our fair city has to offer. I will leave the typo there, and in red, for posterity. My proofreading grade continues to decline.]

Yesterday, I was at the library (a pubic service that I have rarely taken advantage of in my life...I think I'm going to change that. I got a Library Card!) and on my way out, asked for the key to get into the women's restroom. As I approached the door, a woman scooted up behind me and asked if it was a single bathroom or if there were stalls. I gave her only a cursory glance. She was wearing a purple top and black stretch pants, and straight cut black bangs.

"Um...I think it might be a single." I lied. How would I know? This is the first time I'd ever been there.

I cracked the door and peered inside as the heat from her body hovered over my neck. There were two stalls.

The flutter of anxiety in my stomach can be traced directly to the instability of her pale green eyes. She was one of those "eye-lookers", people who present their dominance by staring, without a blink, square into one's eyes when asking questions or trying to muscle their way into bathrooms. This sort of thing I usually categorize as evidence of mental illness or being Tom Cruise.

This and her brazen disregard for my personal space made me nervous. Should I let her in? Will I get into trouble? Will they revoke my newly minted Library Card? Aren't these keys to keep the riff-raff out? Wait, that's so classist of me. Jesus. What if I am the riff-raff? I AM THE RIFF-RAFF. Listen to yourself! SHE IS COMPARATIVELY SANE.

All this adorable mental chatter was mercifully interrupted by her craning to see past me. The physical world saved me from my mind's own sinkhole.

Once it was obvious that there was room enough for two in the restroom, I opened the door wider and headed for the larger stall (the special needs stall. If ever I have to use one of these I am haunted by the notion that when I am finished, I will exit faced by three wheelchair bound matrons huffing at my insensitivity.). I locked the door and we both played out our symphony of breaths, pants sliding down and eventual tinkle.

When we neared the end of all this, from the other stall I heard:

"Did you know something?"

She was speaking to me. Her voice was loud and clear, matter of fact.

"Um, What?"

"Did you know something? What tomorrow is?"


"Tomorrow is the anniversary of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln's wedding."

"Oh....I didn't know that."

"Yeah, isn't that weird?"

"Yeah, wow...I didn't....I didn't know that. Huh."

Our voices echoed of the damp walls.

She then barked out a couple of other facts about the Blagojevich administration. I don't quite remember these. Her voice was drowned out by flushes.

When we both exited the stalls, I rounded the corner to wash my hands. She stood there in silence, not acknowledging me at all. Her eyes on the floor, she made a speedy exit.

I looked after her for a second and then washed my hands, unsure of what had just happened.

Knowledge comes from unexpected places. Keep your ears open.

Happy Anniversary Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln! And so, our song today "Ana Ng" from They Might Be Giants 1988 album, Lincoln.

My heart has always had a soft spot for They Might Be Giants, though I cant say I've really been the in "mood" to hear them in recent years. Still, they seem to be a constant through most of my conscious life. They are a comfort food, a reminder of the person I used to be and, let's face it, still am.

TMBG's self titled first album was the tape playing in my car during my first real make out session. Not REO Speedwagon, not Paula Abdul. They Might Be (effin') Giants.

Lincoln, though, stands as my favorite.

I wondered the other night that TMBG has achieved any level of fame and fortune at all. There must have been some rip in the commercial cosmos for these two arty, nerdy, accordion playing fellas to have made in the world, the vanguard of Geek Chic. We are most certainly the better for it, I think.

The video here is fantastic. Made in the days before anyone completely knew what they were doing with music video (combined with TMBG's patented free associative lunacy), it's more art house film than obligatory accompaniment to a CD release.

VOTE! May the day end with a new dawn!


Jan Smelk said...

In high school I was obsessed with Matt McGarrity (and if you flashback to '92, I'm sure you heard all about him). But in '89 he had a radio show on a little college station in Colo. Springs and he played what I considered THE coolest music, and honestly still do. He was the youngest DJ by like 4 years and still in high school himself but he had the hippest show. I heard Coltrane and Miles Davis in a whole new light. And he always played Ana Ng and Here's Where the Story Ends by the Sundays at some point in the show, which had the awesome timeslot of Sundays 12-3. NOSTALGIA!

Also, is Ira Glass a Giant? That video would say yes.

Erica said...

God, I love that song. What an amazing video, too.

For me, Flood and Apollo 18 are my memory keepers. A lot of my youth lies in those songs.

Erica said...

Shoot, and by "songs" I mean, the songs on those albums.

I'm a dork.

Crazypants said...

What the fuck's the Blagojevich administration?

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