Sunday, October 23, 2016

The LipGloss Made me Do It.


 Did you ever find yourself searching out blatantly nostalgic items from your childhood, for no apparent reason? Of course there's a reason, but it's not obvious at first. Or not obvious enough.

 An hour ago, I finished binge-watching The Dick Van Dyke show on Netflix. I've always liked it, and I maintain that it's still one of the funniest shows ever written. Not why I watched it, though, or not totally. I sense that it is part of a bigger nostalgia trip, one that has been coming on for a while.

 A few months back, I began looking up old Avon products I used to own, on Etsy & eBay--- I think that started with an old lipgloss compact showing up in my Pinterest feed; it was a plastic compact shaped like a fried egg, with two pale frosty glosses such as I wore in my teen years, nestled inside the yolk. Cheap cute junk for kids/teens, early 80's style.

 There's backstory here: that compact, along with another one, some other makeup items and whatever else I had with me, were stolen one night when I was 17. I'd put my favorite little clutch, a pale leather one that had flowers painted on it, onto the bar at Shadrack's* on Broadway, when I went to dance. There were at least a dozen other purses piled there, but mine was the one that got stolen. I thought then that maybe some guy took it, thinking there was money in it, but now I realize it was probably some girl that saw how much makeup I had with me, when I was touching up in the horrid bathroom, and decided to help herself when she got the chance. That would be why it wasn't thrown away outside the bar after the wallet was found empty.

 I loved that purse, and I had lots of my favorite makeup with me that night, so I was pissed. Also, I'd borrowed some of my Mom's cards, store credit and such, to use in case I got asked for ID-- you could do that then, in bars here. Sometimes I got in easy, sometimes I got in with an ID my boyfriend had borrowed from a female coworker (yeah, I realized later that there were details about that situation I'd never questioned enough), but I usually got into the bar one way or another. This time they hadn't even asked. I still got in trouble for losing Mom's cards and her having to put a stop on all charges and all of the other inconveniences. And I didn't have my keys and it was 2:30am by the time it was clear I wasn't getting my purse back, so my boyfriend took me to his family's house all the way on Grand Island for the night. More trouble, since I couldn't reasonably call home to let them know why I wasn't there until morning.

See, this whole episode came to my mind, clear and full, when the Pin of that fried egg lip compact flashed onto my computer screen. I saw that someone was selling one on eBay for some large amount, and I almost bought it, just to have it back.

 Next up, I began looking for the colognes I wore back then, like Love's Fresh Lemon. I watched commercials for it on youtube, and found some for sale that was just too expensive for me to bother with. I did get an old decanter shaped like a dogwood blossom, filled with the authentic apple blossom cologne I had worn for years, off an eBay auction. Then I looked for paper dolls and kid's books I remembered vaguely-- no luck. I searched out more commercials, and children's shows, and albums, from my teen & young adult years. I successfully tracked down a heart pendant necklace I'd once owned, but remembered that back then they used lots of nickel in cheap jewelry, which I cannot put near my skin without getting a rash.

There are so many ways to wallow in memory today, thanks to the 'net; so many magic pools as in The Wood between the Worlds, tempting you like Digory and Polly to jump in and drown in the trends of the past; but for me it all started with that plastic fried egg, with the pale pink and paler peach lipgloss inside.

 I don't wear colors like that anymore. There are items from the present that I need, for real, like a pair of boots that aren't falling apart-- yet the wave of pure desire that filled me when I saw the thing for sale-- whole and untouched, in the box-- almost overrode all good sense. I can still feel the edge of that want, and it seems obvious now that it's my own young self I really want back; the person that still has so many options, only now, I'd know what to do with them.

 Or maybe not, because every second you spend in longing for some past opportunity you missed, is a second you don't spend doing something better in the now, like setting up the website for your band so you can sell the music you've been recording, or drawing patterns you can color in, for fun. Or playing with your cat, who is bored and needs you to be attentive.

 There are things I haven't attended to, during my several months' long nostalgia bath, but a part of me wants to know if there's more substance or enlightenment here-- where is this leading me? Can I get something out of it besides regret and $6 worth of 35 year old cologne?

At least I enjoyed Dick Van Dyke, one of the best physical comedians ever to walk the earth. Give me him, Flip Wilson & I'm set.

 Have a good night, dreaming dreams of your own misspent youth--

                                                                                                Aging Ophelia

*Shadrack's was a working class Buffalo bar for locals, 20-somethings and barely legals, with well drink specials & a decent DJ on Wednesday nights, where my 22-year-old boyfriend liked to take me for a cheap date where he didn't have to be all that attentive. It was kind of a hole, and the lav was always awful, always short of paper too-- I would stuff my purse full of tissues before we went there, to make sure I was covered. I wouldn't go there now if you paid me, but back then, on Wednesday nights, I was the damned Dancing Queen, and I loved the place.

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