day 19 - a song from your favorite album
Picking my favorite album isn't very hard. Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, easy peasy lemon squeezy. Makes me pissed at the world, giddy because I get the joke, longing for romance, relieved at my self-sufficiency, cheated out of peace, serenely relaxed, embarrassed by my capriciousness, guilty for being selfish, impressed by my personal complexity, and giggling at the ridiculousness of everything. It spoke to me at what, sixteen? Yeah. I'm still a bit shocked every time I hear it.
I was loitering at Record Swap, listening in on those music guys talking music. Back then, in high school, I was in love with up to seventeen boys simultaneously and most of them never spoke to me, but half of them hung out at Record Swap and I would go there after work at Cock Robin or Bookzellers or wherever I worked that day and just meander and listen to them talk about music. Then I would walk over towards them with my purchase, and one of them would slip off the counter and ring me up on the register. We never made eye contact. They never showed any recognition, not here or at school, and neither did I.
My shift would end and I would decide to walk over there, thinking, Today. Today I'm going to talk to them. And I'm going to say, "Hey, I heard (some band) is playing (somewhere) on Sunday. I think I saw you at their last show at Off the Alley" or something cool like that but I never did.
So yeah, I was loitering at Record Swap and browsing when I heard them talking about me.
"Dude, does she ever buy anything?"
"Don't think I've ever seen it. It's weird."
"She usually gets like stuff like my dad likes."
"She's like always here."
"I think she works next door."
"Oh." There's a pause, and I pretend to be fascinated by the back cover of something, glowing that I am the topic of their conversation. Do they think I can hear them? Probably not. "I think she just comes here because you make her wet."
Okay, that is...the fuck? I crack my jaw a couple of times while he giggles at himself.
"Dude." Other guy drops his voice. "I hope not."
My arms tighten up and I lock my knees, just staring straight ahead at the wall, while "dude I hope not" echoes over and over and over again in my mind. I knew it. I fucking knew it. I am repulsive. I blame my mother. Now I am FURIOUS. I take a few deep breaths squeeze my fists, which is counterproductive but whatever, and decide I'm going to say something. I am going to go over there and let them know I can hear them. I'm going to give them a fucking lashing.
With a devil grip on whatever's in my hand and the resolve of carpet-stain remover, I make my way towards the register, head high. I glare at both of them. They are just...so...fucking...hot. We could have been friends, I think. We really could. I was sure they were different. I was sure that they would recognize we had a common interest in music that would last us years in conversations and banter, I was sure that one of them was about to say to the other, "but she's kind of cute, you know?" and I was sure I would get near them and they would laugh and call me over and say, "Come on, we know you heard us. We've been trying to get your attention for months" and I was sure one of them would say "but my girlfriend would kill me if I talked to another girl" and I was sure I could go over there all coy and smile at them and say, " Just this please. Doesn't-" I look down at whatever I'm holding "-Bob Dylan get you all wet?" Bob Dylan? Where did I pick this up? Shit. Come on boys. Give me something. Please. Just help me. Just a little. Please.
Nothing, they just pretend they don't see me and I pretend I don't see them and that I'm not buying anything today and I walk right out the door clutching this fucking album that I pulled from the Classics section. Stolen album.
It's much easier to be brave on behalf of others than on behalf of myself.
Looking back I don't think I could have stolen anything better. After that I started scooping up Mr. Zimmerman like candy, and I would feel small and I would cry and I would feel overwhelmed and I would laugh. Sometimes people give me shit for being a huge Bob Dylan fan. Inevitably, someone will just tell me about how much he sucks live, as if seeing an icon growl and sputter at 70 years old (a) makes them an expert on anything and (b) will convince me to reject a musical catalog spanning a full fifty years.
Not gonna lie though, all I want to do after listening to this song is stroll down a sunny street on a weekday, fantasize about guys that don't return my affections, smoke too many cigarettes and throw bottles at abandoned houses, thankful to be alive.