Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Song for a Crappy Tuesday

Today is my friend Tina's birthday.

Tina was my roommate for three years of college, back in the days of yore. For anyone who has ever lived through the arranged marriage of college roommates, you know that your chances of of happiness with that person are largely a roll of the dice. I was lucky.

We lived for a while on Sheffield and then migrated to Webster, in a giant, oddly shaped apartment with burnt orange carpet and stuccoed walls. After almost two years of living together, taking classes and attending to parties in one another's company, Tina looked over at me and said, "We're kind of a package deal, aren't we?"

I was tickled by her use of the phrase "package deal". It was true.

This is not to say that our friendship was all puppies and sunshine, lollipops and never melting ice cream. We had our ups and downs, our "Please JEsus, just get away from me for five MINUTES." We fought. We had a keen awareness of each others deep flaws (and I might add, we, on occasion, would spring to point them out.)...but it was sort of gleeful.

Tina and I fought for three hours one night over whether or not Hitler was in hell. We debated whether or not should have cheese and meat delivered to our house on a weekly basis. She and I would spend our weekends in the apartment, along with the other members of our little family- CP and Jan, listening to Tom Waits on a cheap white Craig CD player, drinking beer, and watching each other play an involved two deck version of solitaire (Yeah, buddy, we were the party house.) We'd stay up for hours talking in the hallway, long after one of us said we were going to bed. Never consider it a small thing to simply and fully enjoy another person's company.

She endured a lot of my college insanity. I endured hers. And right after college, we parted ways...for a number of reasons, both rational and illogical. For seven years we barely spoke, at first, in little fits and starts. Then not at all.

In 2003, I was flown to LA to perform in a friend's art piece. Circumstances, pushed me into staying at her place. I was nervous. Over the past seven years, water had flown freely under the bridge. Much had happened. I had ignored a lot of things.

But once the initial freak out and sizing up was over, it was as if not a day had passed and I am pleased to say that she and I are still friends, though I can't see her as much as I'd like. I haven't been able to see the little cub she and the DR have recently spawned. Soon, I hope.


Today's song is my Birthday Present to Tina. "Total Eclipse of the Heart", off of Bonnie Tyler's Faster than the Speed of Night, was one of Tina's favorites, and while I won't completely embarrass you, here...I will only note that performance art has never reached such heights as when this song played on our little Cheap Craig. Seriously, Tina, we should have sold tickets.

You will always be King of Monster Island. Happy Half of Seventy!

**I also want to make clear to both CP and Jan, that your tributes are coming in good time.


Jan Smelk said...

Tears through laughter. Much love to Tina and a big kiss to you JJ for such an accurate portrayal of my nostalgia. HITLER IS IN HELL.

Anonymous said...

love it love it. aww, shit, i got the tears now. you have gotten better about the phone, jj. and you are a beautiful person and friend. as are the tina and the jan.
the crazypants.

Anonymous said...

So wait, which side of the Hitler argument were you on, jj?

-j-j- said...

I think I was considering the possible degradations of hell and whether or not one could be redeemed (whatever that means) over time.

This is probably far more articulate than I was at the time. And may not even be correct.

And, of course, this was back when the first inklings of a moral code beyond Judeo-Christian belief were appearing on the horizon. Hell existed then.

Nowadays, I don't believe in hell.

I'm sure I'll be laughing out the other side of my face when the lapping flames of Hades punish me for the My Little Pony bracelet I shoplifted when I was nine.

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