Filed under: Barrels of Fun, Music, My Experience with Existence, Nouvelle Musique | Tags: Andrew Bird, Animal Rights, Beirut, Ferraby Lionheart, Hamlet, Richmond, Rufus Wainwright, Vampire Weekend
This morning, I painted my fingernails bright red. I think I’m taking my life on the wrong path. Hope I veer onto the right one soon. I use the red nail polish as an excuse. Erika always had red nails. Why can’t I? But I haven’t painted my own nails in years because whenever I do, I imagine that my fingers are suffocating. Even when I went through those brown nail polish phases. And people thought I’d painted them black. No, they were clearly brown. People say that about my hair, too. Black-haired girl. I’m so flattered; I wish my hair was naturally darker. No, it is clearly brown. My mom always says she expected to have little girls with very pale skin and very dark hair. And when I was little, I had very olive skin and very dark hair. And now I have moderately pale skin and moderately dark hair. I tell her that when I get older, I’m going to make my hair darker brown. And she asks why, my hair’s so pretty, so shiny. I don’t know. Live up to my own standards of beauty. You know why I’m pale now? We skipped a year at the beach, and after that, I avoided the sun like it was the plague. In the shower, though, today, I was thinking that I wish I was born a different race or a different nationality, or both. I have life so easy! I’m white and American! My parents are alive! I have a house to live in! Food to eat! Choice in the food that I do eat! There’s nothing desperately wrong with me. I can live with extreme social anxiety. It won’t kill me. And it’s not fair that I can live like this and other people can’t. We always look up, why can’t I live like this other person better-off than me? We should look down, why can’t this worse-off person live like me? What can I do to make it so she can live a better life? But we don’t.
So here I am listening to the National every day, sitting on my computer while wishing I’d had the chance to have a Triad reunion back in Richmond. Playing some DBZ video games or doing spontaneous things. Talking. My favourite thing about going to Richmond was being told that my ass/thigh region was smaller than before. Just kidding, that wasn’t the highlight of my trip, but it did make me happy for some odd reason. Lately, I’ve been wondering what it would be like to have a huge ass. Like, fucking huge. But I can’t picture it. I guess I’m just not an ass person. Eyebrows are more my speed. Make or break a person. They do say quite a lot about a person, though, more so than body type or whatever.
Here is what I noticed in Richmond. I am a jerk. Sometimes, I wish I could find someone in real life who genuinely and openly hates me because I find that people are mostly lukewarm about me, or they keep their dislikes on the down-low. I’d totally deserve it. Some things people say about me are actually fucking hilarious because they don’t know me at all. But I wish someone would get to know me and then hate me based on things that are completely true. Maybe it’s because I can’t hate anyone. Maybe it’s because I wish I could give myself a break because I know I’m the one who hates myself the most.
We were reading “Hamlet” in English, and my teacher was trying to get us to empathize with Hamlet. To understand him. You know, Pretend your uncle killed your dad, then hastily married your just-widowed, barely-mourning mother for lust and power, pretend that he wanted your life, maybe because you get in the way of his power, maybe because you’ve got some Oedipus Rex complex and while you’re at it, your girlfriend takes back her love for you and then you kill her father accidentally, which makes her insane, pretend that she commits suicide and her brother wants your life and teams up with your uncle to kill you and then they kill your mom with their scheme. You may or may not have feelings for your mom, but there are hints. That sort of thing. Seriously, though, to be able to get Hamlet’s reaction out of me, you’d have to delve deeper and completely alter my past. First, you’d have to build up my relationship with my father. Then you’d have to take away my capacity for empathy, and that’s just not working. If I was in Hamlet’s situation, I wouldn’t even consider killing anyone. I wouldn’t have time to be angry I’d curl up in a depressed, sad lump of flesh and tears, and then I’d stop eating. So I’m sorry, I don’t really like “Hamlet,” even if Shakespeare had to spice it up because it would be a rather boring time just watching some Prince of Denmark cry on a stage for four hours.
Oh. Friday night, Travis took off his socks. Travis has the unusual quality of having feet that smell like dryer sheets. I don’t think he’s even capable of emitting bad smells at all. Anyway, he has the most magnificent feet I’ve ever seen, save for his weird toenails, which curve with his toes. Hard to describe. This revelation–that Travis has magnificent feet–has sparked in me the desire to improve my own foot hygiene. Take better care of those phalanges. I don’t wear socks. In fact, I hate socks. My own feet are constantly bruised, scarred, FREEZING (ask Derek), and gross-smelling. I had gorgeous heels until band camp before my junior year, when I didn’t wear socks with my sneakers for one day and then I got blisters from running laps there. And they scarred. Speaking of running, I feel the need to start again regularly, but there are two problems. One, I can’t just run. I’m too self-conscious about the way my legs fly out all over the place when I run. People make fun of me and then I have to laugh it off, and sometimes I’m just not in the mood. Two, when I asked my mother if we could join a gym or something (since that’s something she constantly talked about over the summer), she rolled her eyes and made a sound of disapproval. What happened to my moderately-health-conscious mother?! I need seratonin, and I’m not gonna get it sitting on my ass in front of my computer all day, thinking about the past. I need to be productive to be happy.
I’m still getting used to these nails. I think they make my hands look so much more sophisticated than they actually are.
What else? Last night, Derek called spontaneously and told me about these videos he saw with cats being tortured. Depressing material. And I wondered at first why he was telling me, but duh–who else would empathize? It’s a shame that you know, seeing a chicken or a cow or a pig or some foreign animal being tortured is just normal by some people’s standards, almost acceptable, if a little sad, but because it’s distant, it’s okay. But then seeing some household animal, a pet, being tortured, that’s what sparks an interest in animal rights. Save the cats and dogs! How could people eat cats and dogs? I live with cats and dogs. My question to you is how can people eat pigs, chickens, cows, fish? I’m not implying that about Derek. It’s just something I’ve noticed. I am confident that he is as noble as a person can be. What really touched me was that he was afraid of that happening to Little Ding, his cat (who is seriously, I swear, only a cat when he’s sleeping–otherwise, he’s somethin’ else). It’s a strange situation. I run into these videos from time to time and they provide motivation, they provide anger and sadness and some of the strongest emotions I’ve ever felt. Frustration. How could a person do that to an animal? How did that person grow up? What led her to become this way? And how could anyone look into an animal’s eyes and kill him or eat him? How do hunters do it? How can people eat it? I’m still somewhat of a hypocrite for not being vegan, and I’m afraid I’ll always be a hypocrite no matter what by taking what society gives me and living, breathing, buying. But I want to cut down on the damage. These emotions, though, I don’t–I can’t–share them with friends. I shelter them. I’ve seen it so you don’t have to. I’m going to make my point by being vegetarian and you don’t need to ask questions that’ll make us both feel uncomfortable and guilty. Me, I don’t want to make you feel bad, to push my strongest beliefs on you. The ones that make up the essence of my life. But my personal choice is not to live that way.
I have a few songs that you’ve already heard. They’re for you.
Walcott | Vampire Weekend
I’ve been thinking about making a Vampire Weekend bag lately, just because I think it would be insanely cool. This here song makes me want to move my body aimlessly in a room filled with other people moving their bodies aimlessly. We could all be tiny atoms! In a giant room! Together! Just listen to the song, appreciate the voice that’s from another decade, the orchestra, the intensity, the nostalgia. It makes me think of A Separate Peace, something I’ve never experienced, the decade I wish I grew up in, a beautiful mindset I can’t attain. Sophistication. These red fingernails that couldn’t possibly be mine. They must be yours.
Nantes | Beirut
Zach Condon’s voice reminds me of Andrew Bird’s voice in some aspect. I’m not entirely sure what it is, but it’s classy and I love it. Being in love, drinking coffee on a sunny late-winter afternoon. Touching someone’s hair. Trying to tickle them. The sun’s coming in the windows, in your eyes. You don’t mind. Everything’s parfait. I guess it could also fit that one time I drove home late at night over the summer in my car and couldn’t stop crying. There was a red light and the person in the next lane over stared at me uncomfortably and I had to calm down on Broad Street. When I got back, I parked in front of the house and had to calm down for a few minutes before I could go in.
Small Planet | Ferraby Lionheart
His style reminds me somewhat of Jens Lekman, maybe just in this song, maybe not, but I always like piano/orchestra pop-ish music. You know, unconventional instruments to hear in music with lyrics. Added bonus? Why, yes! Webquest time! Go to his website’s Biography section and just read it. Might I mention that he’s another Silver Laker? Like Rilo Kiley! This song reminds me of the Turkey Trot every year, early in the morning, crunchy leaves, screaming children, and then the fulfilling tiredness that sets in after.
Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk | Rufus Wainwright
If anyone in the world reminds me of Andrew Bird, it would HAVE to be this man. He may not be a professional whistler or violinist, but his voice is impressive. You hear about Rufus Wainwright all over the place, but it wasn’t until friends mentioned him recently (and referred to him on a first-name basis, “Rufus) that I opened my ears up and started to listen. I’m glad I did. The song is simpler times, like when I used to French braid my American Girl Doll’s hair (Samantha, of course). Tea parties on the front lawn. Summer days when Rachael and I used to take our Barbie dolls out to the pool in the back yard. Sticking Sailor Moon’s hands in the crab apples in the yard. Good times.
Measuring Cups | Andrew Bird
What can I say? Andrew Bird owns. He taught Jay how to whistle better, he made me love xylophone, he makes me want to sing. And then I remember that it’s not particularly pretty, me singing. But I sing plainly regardless. His songs motivate me to look things up, references, and I learn things. Maybe not things that are particularly applicable to any regular conversations, like the ancient story behind “Sovay” or love theories from “Imitosis,” but gaddamn. It was love at first listen. Once I heard his voice once, I was thirsty for more. I asked for a CD for Christmas and I remember sitting up on the floor of my old room, just listening for however long on Christmas day and repeating “Sovay” over and over and over again. It was magical. Doors opened. Enlightenment.
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