Sunday, April 30, 2006

Mixed Tape from Hell

This afternoon following a good brunch at Joe's Inn on Shields, Charles and I took a long walk through the Fan. We stopped to smell all of the blooms that were smelling, we talked about the sky, the houses, the decision (for some) to cover the side of their houses in stucco (I'm for it- Charles, usually a naysayer (at first), isn't 100% behind the idea), we yakked about the stained glass in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (again, there's me who says yea, and again, there's Charles with his nay), as well as my latest series of ridiculous photographs (Charles says huh?). All the while I had my eyes to the ground and in the trash cans and found a good amount of booty.

Most of it is pretty standard fare (discarded snapshots) but what's interesting about all of the pictures is that they are all of adolescents. I am accustomed to finding baby pictures, and tons of snaps of reveling college students after what has undoubtedly been a very demanding week of studies. But peeking into (even the photographic version of) adolescence is fascinating.

How long will it be until the lives of these girls resembles the lives of the characters in Mean Girls? When will all the pimples come?

Is she completely in love with this little guy? Or is this the girl he's been asking to go with him for the past six months but because she occupies a social tier a couple above his own, she must ignore her feelings and say no?

And then finally, on the 2100 hundred block of Grove, in the front yard of a house which was on fire a few days ago, I found this tape. It seemed too perfect an accompaniment to the the pictures- too metaphoric for this guy who claims metaphasia on the top of his list of culturally induced illnesses. And that's when I realized that it wasn't their adolescence I was thinking about, it was my own. These kids have little (if any) relationship with analog 1/4 inch tape. But for me, this was the stuff that my adolescence was made of. Tapes like this held my world, and I routinely tried to place my world onto one. The careful crafting of side A (this was the upbeat side) usually an ironic mix and the perfect companion to side B (a lugubrious mix of painfully melodramatic music made by men who wore a lot of make up) this was the side that I really cared about - the side that I was sure contained all the ju ju necessary to communicate just how important the recipient of the tape was. These tapes were my plumage - with this tape they would be allowed to glimpse just how interesting, cute and existential I was. They were (I realize now) mixed tapes from hell- culled songs used to plunge me only deeper into, and act as, the soundtrack for my privileged cafard.

1 comment:

Judith said...

You're right, Michael. Mix tapes aren't evil - only the reasons for which they're made. That's why tapes are two sided... and so fun to make. I wonder what Britney's mixes were like?