Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Things That Make Us

Way back in the distant mists of my teenage-hood I met a really sweet, goofy boy named Bill. He was smart, funny, and good-looking with blue eyes and curly red hair. He was tall, too.
We dated for several years and lived through times that changed me, probably him as well, and eventually parted. I don't remember why; I lost big pieces (apparantly, I don't really know how much) of my memory after a car accident. So if you knew me in high school and you say "Oh, do you remember?" and proceed to tell a story and I just nod and smile vaguely it means that was one of the memories that landed in the Fiero-shaped vortex on Mahan Drive in 1994.
So, on Facebook tonight my old beau Bill sent me some photos of my late dad from a scanned newspaper. Daddy was a forest ranger and for many years the guy the head dude sent to do PR stuff.
That's my pop. It's odd to see how much my brother looks like Daddy. I think of them as being so different; my calm and measured brother and my hot-headed dad.
Timing is an odd thing.
We got our tickets in today's mail to the Steely Dan show we're in going to in August.
My first album was their first album - Can't Buy A Thrill. The Dan have been the soundtrack of my life; from pre-pubescence through existential twenties and to the now of what feels like a second chapter of the energy and social indignation of my early thirties. Only I'm 50. Just the same, only different (old joke).
Friends and boyfriends and jobs and pop culture filled some of the record slots on my mental jukebox but the one constant has always been Steely Dan. I was a fantasy and science fiction-reading kid and identified with heroes like Corwin from Nine Princes in Amber and anything else Roger Zelazny ever wrote; the dark loner with a wry sense of humor and an over-developed vocabulary. I knew where the places were and what the words meant in any Dan song that hit the air around my ears. Guadalajara, William and Mary, The Quarter, the Washington Zoo, Dean and DeLuca, Scarsdale, the City of St. John, Barrytown - I knew them all. I even learned about Bodhisattva, piasters and the Santa Anna Winds.
I wanted to be Josie or Peg but these days I'd settle for being Security Joan.
So as much as people and places and books and visions and years have shaped me, so have odder things. Like Star Trek. And the smell of hot sun. And Steely Dan.

Sorry for all of the Steely Dan references but I think I write this more for me than anyone else based on the stats for this scribble.


  1. I love Steely Dan. I had forgotten that your dad was a forest ranger. I'm sure I knew that at some point in my childhood. I love finding old pictures of my parents, especially Daddy. It all reminds me so much of so many happy days growing up. Enjoy your concert!

  2. Forgot to sign my previous post. Pam Trofemuk Horne


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