Friday, May 28, 2010

Sex and the endless summer

Wouldn't it be nice if we were older

Then we wouldn't have to wait so long

And wouldn't it be nice to live together

In the kind of world where we belong

Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true (run, run, run)

Baby then there wouldn't be a single thing we couldn't do

We could be married (we could be married)

And then we'd be happy (then we'd be happy)

good night my baby

sleep tight my baby

good night my baby

sleep tight my baby

good night my baby

sleep tight my baby

good night my baby

sleep tight my baby

Well, wouldn't it? Be nice?

Those things we thought were nice, those things we were SURE would be nice, have somehow changed radically over the years. That "wouldn't it be nice if we were older" sure turned around violently at some point.

The only reason this whole mess is repeating in an endless loop in my head is that TLC is using it to promote their summer season. Not that I ever watch TLC. No sir. No Cake Boss, no Hoarders, no Intervention, no Ten Ton Man or women giving birth on the tracks in a subway tunnel, none of that stuff.

I hadn't heard that Beach Boys tune in a long time, and it's mesmerizing, surfer dude music taken to the height of Mozart. It's meant to (and does) call up summer and smoke and sand (and sex), bathing suits straining, salty douses with sea water, steaming hot dogs, and etc. (Hey, it's early in the morning and I've only given myself half an hour to finish this because I want to go into town to see Sex and the City.)

What are the things that would be "nice" now? If my beloved granddaughter no longer had Type 1 diabetes. If my husband and I no longer faced an uncertain financial future. If I felt I had a place in the community (long-shattered by a mammoth health crisis in 2005). If, if, if.

I am profoundly ambivalent about my work now. Actually it's not the work, which has been going better than I could have dreamed. I want to publish again, but now I KNOW what it is to be published. People have such absurd notions about what it will mean for them. Civilians say things like, "But you were published before. Doesn't that mean the same outfit will publish your work for the rest of your life?"

In their minds, there are two levels: Stephen King/J. K. Rowling, and zero.

I know this is a refrain I fall back into too often, and I know I shouldn't. I remember seeing something printed on the wall in Ikea (where we go for the food), a quote from Sven Svendsvendsvendensen or whoever it was that founded the outfit (by getting up at 1:00 in the morning and not having sex, I mean ever), about how the only time you don't make mistakes is when you're asleep.

Me, I've made plenty of mistakes while I was asleep! But it's when I wake up that I find I've honed it to an art form. My experience tells me that mistakes are not only embarrassing, they are very, very costly and can follow you around for years, if not for the rest of your life.

If a person does nine exemplary things and on the tenth time slips on a banana peel and falls on their ass with 5000 people watching, GUESS WHAT THEY WILL REMEMBER? And probably forever.

Oh, that guy who. . .you know, the one who. . .


That explains why movie stars and authors and politicians kind of drop out of sight and don't come back. They've made some sort of fatal mistake. Or maybe even a garden variety mistake.

Don't make mistakes. It'll cost you. Bad. Now I'm off to see the movie.