Picking up cigarette butts as the scent of pancakes and sausages wafted over me, I found the sun to be bright.
Wait. Saturday was a day. All days are days, but Saturday was quite one, mostly because of Garbage. They were here in Philadelphia, and I was to see them (a fourth time) with Ayelet (a third).
Outfit after outfit was donned and dashed as I prepared – how to best recapture that youthful androgynous energy I wrapped myself in when I was first introduced to these songs? My past blasted in from the living room, each new track a flashback: I have very visceral connection to those songs, and sometimes hearing one transports me to some other place. Ayelet is slipping earphones over my head as “Fix Me Now” begins on the bus to New York. The sun has not yet risen, and Mr. Benjamin is there, somewhere in the front; Ayelet is telling me that this is her favorite one so far.
Back in the present, I decided on jeans (so unglam!) and made the trip down to South Street, eventually finding both Ayelet and my way into the TLA, which Garbage completely overwhelmed me. Each song was spectacularly re -magined while still taking me to places in time and space I cannot otherwise access. What was also incredible was running into Jen&Mel – direct from one of those flashbacks.
J&M were conspicuously inseparable, those cool older kids when we were in high school – the kind that knew everything about music, and would come back from concerts with pictures and scrapbooks and set lists torn right from the stage. I feel like they coached us – me, Andrea, and Gina a little bit too – on how to live in the world of music and culture. They’re older now, as much as I am, one married and the other an opera singer! (She couldn’t scream, for fear of hurting her voice, so every time she felt moved to scream she tugged on Jen’s shoulder and said “Scream, Jen, scream!”).
I devoured their phone numbers after the show, crossing my heart to call, that it wasn’t just an act of acquisition. I do love to acquire; no toy is ever as good as the next toy. I’ve found that eventually this leaves you poor, and with too many toys you don’t really want or use. It made me think that I treat friends and their phone numbers too much like toys, always looking for new ones, and not too concerned if I lose one. It shouldn’t be that way.
After the concert (at the party; I haven’t mentioned that yet) I had a great time. I hugged and kissed our newly returned Jack profusely. I learned about contemporary architecture from ‘Cesca, and the history of the Marshall islands from Kate. I danced with Laura without feeling as though I’d go into cardiac arrest. The day eventually overcame me, and I nodded off on a couch, with someone laying a blanket on me as they passed by from dancing to the kitchen.
Picking up cigarette butts in Ross’s yard, I checked the brands on the stubbed ends and imagined which of my friends had probably smoked them. Some were butts were longer – a few ill-advised drags, quickly abandoned. Others were sucked down to the filter. Every one a story.
I love my friends. All of them – even the ones who I might not even recognize anymore.
I wish they would all stop smoking, though.