Fountain of Sonic Youth

Was she getting under my skin, or was it simply my vanity? A newly minted Columbia College grad stood in front of me steaming a glittery, hot pink t-shirt that changes colors when it’s exposed to heat. No, she wasn’t my assistant, just some young fool working for cheap and I couldn’t wait to see her fail. It takes years of torture to be a killa photo stylist, such as I. Pity the fool who shows up in some over accessorized Forever 21 outfit and thinks they can own it. Pifff!

Out of the corner of my eye, I watched. She sang along to music and even performed a few air drum solos. SO FIRED, I thought.

Then I was humbled by this oddity. She was good. Real good for a newbie and I knew I had to up my game. How was this happening? This was like watching someone jump on a horse for the first time and win the Kentucky Derby! Rivaling Evil Knievel, the rider would soar through rings of fire, with arms raised, shooting off guns. A crowd of fans would embrace the rider with expectations of autographs and perhaps fortification.  I calmed myself down by remembering that strange things can happen. I mean, there are freaks of nature. She was one of them. One of those hermaphrodite types. Stink-eye to you, Ms. Columbia College!

We were together in the prep room She wanted to get to know me. Who wouldn’t? I am such a rock-star stylist. Now was when I would bring out the brag stories. I’d talk about location shoots (never mind the 20 hour day). I’d talk about working on exotic assignments for magazines (never mind editorial work pays dirt). She would want my autograph.

She was practicing her drum solo, listening to The Doors.

“You like them? The Doors?” she asked.

“Sure,” I said.

“So, did you go to Woodstock?” she asked with a serious look.

Okay, WTF WOODSTOCK? Christ, I don’t even think I was born yet.Really. Do I look, OLDER THAN MY AGE?

[Death to a stylist. You are a granny. No more late night drink bingeing. Beauty rest, botox…MAKE AN APPOINTMENT! Get a walker…change the front stairs into a ramp, wear athletic pants and a matching hoodie. Steal jelly from the diner, complain about aches and pains, eat bland diet.]

“Ummm, no more like Lalapalooza, Woodstock was  like my parents generation, well except they were even too young,” I said (the latter part being a lie).

“Oh. Did you ever see The Doors in concert?” she pressed.

Annoyed, but keeping my calm I delivered, “Oh yes, I drove to the concert in my VW bus. I was of course tripping my brains out at the time. Really? Jim Morrison overdosed on smack in some shitty bathtub in Paris when I was like two years old. The closest I’ve gotten to The Doors is listening to them on the radio.”

The other stylists laughed. One said, “I just loved that movie with Val Kilmer and Meg Ryan.”

The new girl looked scared that I might steam her face off. She said,”Oh, I am not American you know. I am not sure about your holidays. You are cool. I feel sorry.”

I decided to turn the steamer off and whimpered  “It’s okay, but ‘Woodstock’ isn’t a holiday. It’s not Martin Luther King Day. And I am young! (I willed my audience) I’M NOT SOME HAG! LOOK AT ME, I’M WEARING A CUTE OUTFIT!” She broke me. I was not cool, but rather an insecure idiot wearing flowered jeans from Target. They set me back $11.

“So, do you like Sonic Youth?” she asked.

“Yes, and I have seen them in concert,” I said.

“Wow, so cool,” she said.

Finally a bridge to mend our gap! Right? Wrong. She thinks I’m an old toad. I think she should stop doing pretend drum solos and get off her phone. She should turn her music down and stop driving so fast. I’ve never seen her drive, but I’ll bet she has a million speeding tickets tucked in her wallet. And she’s probably on drugs like all the young kids. I’ll bet a sawbuck there are White Castle boxes all over the floor of her car.

She’s got nothing on me. Now excuse me, I have a lunch date with my mother to discuss Downton Abby.

  • Luke Saugier

    Hah! You look exactly like my wife (your cousin). You even use the same wording in some instances. Funny.

  • Jeff Gordon

    About 20 years ago, when I was *much younger,* like, 20 years younger, I was at a They Might Be Giants show at Liberty Lunch in Austin. They broke into a rendition of “Frankenstein,” at which point the guy standing next to me turned and said, “You look like you’re one of the oldest people here…do you know what song this is?” I wasn’t even 30 yet. And yes, I did know what song it was.

  • Brian

    I know that I’m reading this a year late, but that fits in with the whole “old person” theme, right? You can also tell her that you saw Queens of the Stone age, the Rated R tour when Nick was still in the band, with this tall hunky Photographer (who wasn’t even a future nightmare yet when Woodstock happened). Some of that was actually true, the part that matters at least!