Is “Old Old” The Same As “Older Than Dirt”?

I *might* have a Smiths issue.

“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.

Some Things Are Worth Saving For Later

One of four pages of ticket stubs I have from my sordid teenage years. Concerts have always been my thing.

Tonight I’m going back to the 80’s to see The English Beat with a few girlfriends. Two of these friends have known me for a very long time. I’ve known Kerry since grade school, and I met Kayla in the 7th grade. I liked Kerry right away because she had a nice Polish last name like mine, and I thought Kayla was so sophisticated because she had an eyelash curler and had heard of U2 before anyone else I knew. I try not to think about the things these girls witnessed because I’m still trying vehemently to deny some events from my teenage years. (Hopefully their ability to remember is as poor as mine.) One of the reasons I hoped I would not have a daughter was because I was once a teenage girl. I never liked teenage girls. Not even when I was a teenage girl. Oh…the game playing, the conniving, the rumors, the theatrics! I could fill books with my idiocy. Wait. I did. I kept a journal all those years. It’s horrifying.

All this preparing myself for a night out with friends I’ve known for over 30 years got me to thinking about the first real sleepover party I attended. I was 13. It was at Sandy’s house across the street from my own. Sandy, like Kayla, was also very sophisticated. She had moved here from North Carolina and she introduced me to great music from Elvis Costello. She and Kayla slowly divested me from my parents’ music, which consisted of Sonny and Cher and Barry Manilow. Not kidding. Anyway, the sleepover that night was typical. There was music, candy, and silly girl antics.

At one point, someone took my bra, got it wet, and stuck it in the freezer while I was off doing something incredibly lame like jumping around singing songs from Foreigner 4. When it came time to go to bed, I crawled into my sleeping bag to find it wet. There I discovered my once-frozen training bra (which never really got much beyond the training stage, sadly), which had been placed inside the flannel bag and was now completely thawed. Ugh. I was beyond annoyed. Being a teenage girl, I pitched a little hissy fit, took my sleeping bag, and in an overly dramatic fashion stomped myself right out of the house and right across the street to my own comfortable and dry bed. Party pooper.

I look back on those days now and roll my eyes. (Some teenage girl behaviors are never lost). So many stupid things in so few years. Most of them done in the name of some silly boy whom I can barely remember now. Luckily, most of my friends from those days lived those naive, childish moments right along with me. Kerry and I once drank too much and upon hearing her parents come home dumped the remaining contents of our opened beers into her fish tank. Brilliant. Kayla and I used to spend hours sitting outside the Rainbow Music Hall talking to cute, mod boys while waiting to hear bands who hadn’t yet made it big…bands like The Cure and INXS…hoping we’d meet them or at least catch a glimpse of them getting off their tour bus. We did get a signature once from the drummer of Wang Chung (back in their Dance Hall Days, before the horribly overrated Everybody Wang Chung tonight nonsense). I suppose it was all part of being a teenage girl.

I don’t miss those days, but I am infinitely glad I’ve still got some friends from that time in my life now. I’m giddy to see Dave Wakeling and The English Beat tonight at the Bluebird. For a few hours, I won’t even care if their music makes me feel 13 again. I won’t stop myself from singing “Tears of a Clown” too loudly, all the while remembering the immature boy who broke my heart when I was so much younger than I am now. And, as I’m dancing with my friends to “Save It For Later,” everything will be right with the world. Although I’ve put drama of my teenage years behind me, the best things from those days still make me happy.