“Coyness is nice, and coyness can stop you from saying all the things in life you’d like to.” ~The Smiths
Around 2:30 p.m. today, you likely heard an unfathomably loud cracking sound. Perhaps you wondered briefly from whence it came before you went on with the rest of your busy day. I am here to let you know that the sound you heard was nothing other than the sound of my heart breaking. Yep. It was obliterated in the middle of a shoe store mid-afternoon today just before I was about to leave to pick up my boys from school.
What epic occurrence caused my heart to rupture in the DSW warehouse store? Well…it went something like this. I was in there quietly hoping I would find some reasonably priced pumps to wear with a new dress when Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap comes over the store’s music speakers. Immediately, that song reminds me of one of my favorite movies, (500) Days of Summer. That particular song plays during a lovely montage scene in the movie. Anyway, I have loved it from the first time I heard it when I saw the film with my friend, Lisa, three summers ago. As the song is playing in the store and I am happily wallowing in my pleasant reverie, I overhear two store clerks near me strike up a conversation.
“Ooooh…I love this song,” says Store Clerk #1.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard it before,” says Store Clerk #2.
“Really? It’s in this great movie, (500) Days of Summer,” says Store Clerk #1 who has just won me over because she has good taste in movies.
“What’s it about?” asks Store Clerk #2.
“About a guy and a girl. It’s got Zooey Deschanel in it. Anyway, I liked the song so much I almost bought the soundtrack, but then I didn’t buy it because I didn’t really like the other songs on it,” confesses Store Clerk #1.
“Like what?” queries Store Clerk #2.
“Well…there were a few songs by that old, old rock band called The Smiths,” says no-longer-likable Store Clerk #1.
And that was the exact moment when my heart exploded, splintering into a million pieces, the shards of it falling onto the dull tan carpeting next to a silica gel packet separated from its shoe box container.
That old, old rock band called The Smiths. The words swirled around in my head. Dizzy and sick to my stomach, I headed for the door. Even if the store housed the world’s most darling pair of shoes and they were hand created by Jimmy Choo just for me and they were giving them to me along with a newly minted $1000 bill, I still would not have taken them from a store clerk who didn’t have the good sense to appreciate the brilliant, melancholic lyrics dredged from the depths of the tortured soul of Steven Patrick Morrissey. And, seriously, how could you overlook Johnny Marr’s artistry with a guitar (hearing How Soon Is Now in my head as I write this), which won him the 26th spot in Spin Magazine‘s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. That chick was plain, old, garden-variety, bat-shit crazy. I don’t accept gifts from crazy strangers.
When I got outside, I tried to regain my composure. Then I realized that, despite the fresh air and the change of scenery, I still felt nauseous. I suspected it might have something to do with the “old, old rock band” phrase uttered by that vapid store clerk. If I listened to The Smiths in high school and college and if they are considered “old old,” then by the transitive property of equality I am old old. Sigh. You know…it’s bad enough knowing you are middle age, but having a young person confirm it is soul crushing. I try to remind myself that, even if I am old enough to have spent endless hours locked in my childhood bedroom listening to That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore while creating imaginary voodoo dolls of the oh-so-cute boy who had recently stomped on my heart, I am not a completely lost cause. These days I spend the vast majority of my iTunes dollars on new alternative and indie rock tunes that I discover while listening to my XM stereo in the car. I like new things and try not to spend too much of my present living in the past. I think that may mean that although I am old, I am not old old…yet.
What is it about us 43 / 44 year olds that have us in such a panic about growing old…
My guess is that it’s because we’re on the old edge of young watching it slip away. My friends who are 50 feel young because they’re on the young edge of old. 🙂
Brilliant analogy. I will copy this in as a quote on my blog, with your name credited. Thanks Justine 🙂
‘…the old edge of young…”
Now we’re splitting some gray hairs…
Don’t forget that dirt is millions of years old, but rock (in the Marianas) is closer to 4 billion years old, and the molten magmatic core of our planet is probably closer to ten billion years old. In perspective, dirt is pretty young And you’re just a baby!
Paz…your thoughtful perspective just made me smile. Thanks!
I think those clerks are young young and refer to any thing older than them as old,old. Irrelevant as you noted.
LOL she’s not only crazy but she’s mistaken/misinformed. They’re not a ROCK band. They’re alt. I’ll stand by you in your love of the Smiths and the new stuff. You’re only as old as you feel and you shouldn’t let anyone else make you feel old. I bet you can out run/bike/snow shoe her young butt 🙂
In my opinion (now) any song older than 2 years is Old, Old. Clerk 1&2 will realize that later in life when a 10 year old tells them that. Thanks lil Niece!