After lunch at Melt, Emily peaced out to run some errands (when I was little, I always thought people were saying they had Erins to run, and I still sometimes instinctively flinch when I hear this, like any minute now a car is going to come plowing through my torso) and the rest of us went to My Mind’s Eye. Going to record stores post-Chooch is bittersweet for me because I can never throw down like I once could. My music collection has all but flatlined since 2006.
“That’s why we only have a cat,” Terri said to me, and I was like GODDAMMIT I KNEW HAVING A CHILD WAS A MISTAKE. Just kidding.
Henry and I are currently aspiring to be the couple on the right. Except orange is like, my least favorite color. But I can definitely rock an antagonizing smile and smug stance.
“Can I get this?”
If it weren’t for Henry reminding me every thirty seconds that we need to worry about Chooch’s Christmas presents before “stupid music” (YES HE SAID THAT), all of our utilities would probably be shut off right now. I did buy two CDs, despite his sharp looks of disapproval.
I bought one called The Valerie Project by Jaromil Jires.
“You don’t even know what that is!” Henry criticized harshly.
“Yes I do! It’s based off the movie Valerie and Her Week of Wonders and we loved that movie!” I replied in a pitch dangerously close to tantrum levels.
“Did we?” he asked, trying to remember.
“Yeah, because it was weird.”
“That doesn’t mean we loved it!”
I also snatched up a Coffinberry album.
“Have you even heard of them?” Henry asked, in one of his staunch SERVICE stances, with arms akimbo.
“No,” I said thoughtfully. “But with a name like Coffinberry…”
This prompted Henry to ridicule me for purchasing music based on band names and cover art, but I have been doing this since high school! And the success rate is at least 20%. I never would have known that I love the Ultralounge collection had one not been swathed in faux leopard fur!
When we left the record store, Jason opted to ride with Terri and Christian this time.
“Why? Because you don’t want to listen to Coffinberry?” I chided, and that’s when Henry noticed the BIG FLYERS STICKER on the back of Terry and Christian’s car.
“OMG they’re FLYERS fans!” Henry sneered good-naturedly, and they booed the Penguins in response. I can’t believe I shared a meal with Flyers fans!
So a friendly war of the hockey fans was ignited. Henry even made a point of pulling his Penguins hat out of the trunk.
(Meanwhile, the first track on the Coffinberry CD was this slow dirge that sounded like Joan of Arc and Shudder To Think having a knife fight during a funeral.)
The next stop was Big Fun, which I always make a point to stop at when I’m in town. Emily met back up with us here and I bought Chooch some little things for Christmas, including a book about boobs. What? He needs to know about them.
Jason was sitting outside and when I went to join him, he said, “If you’re into vintage furnishings, you should check out that store,” while pointing at a place called Flower Child. Maybe he really was trying to be helpful, but I will always in my heart believe that he was just so jealous of my Coffinberry purchase that he wasn’t ready to be near me yet.
Nothing could have prepared me for the life-altering experience I was about to have within those walls. It was practically a catacomb of psychedelia. There were vintage cameras in droves making my knees weak (I quickly texted Henry: GET IN HERE NOW! after spying those slick shutters), mannequins luxuriating in posh positions, paisley percolating like sick hallucinations from walls and moth ball-scented clothing racks.
The basement level, which requires one to walk down a narrow staircase which appeared to be uneven, was replete with over-stuffed walk-in closets that made me feel like I was backstage on Laugh-In.
It was the most glorious place in the world.
But it only got better when I was engulfed by the pea green carpeting* of the basement: The granddaddy of all Jesus pictures, with its cheaply gilded frame, was resting sovereignly on the wall. It LIT-UP. It was 3D. I had to have it.
(*This may or may not be accurate. I also want to say that the walls down there were wood-paneling, but the truth is that my memory is clouded by all that Jesus glory. I will report back with details when I return in two weeks.)
I ran back upstairs to find Henry who, with no hesitation, said no.
“We’re coming back on the 17th. You can get it then,” he compromised after I made him come downstairs to see it for himself. Terri was down there with us too but she kind of had this nervous “I don’t want to get involved” smile on her face.
“IT MIGHT NOT BE THERE WHEN WE COME BACK!” I cried. Henry just shook his head in concession and rejoined Jason, Christian and Emily outside.
So I bought it. Took that bitch right the fuck off the wall and bought it.
“I don’t have a bag big enough to fit this in,” said the aging hippie behind the counter.
“That’s OK, I’ll carry it proudly,” I gushed, running my fingertips over Jesus’s face.
I walked outside with this lumbering slab of religious kitsch banging off my thigh. Everyone had a look of “Oh Jesus Christ” on their faces.
“And it lights up!” I proudly exclaimed.
Oh Jesus Christ, indeed.
This is what it looks like lit-up in my house at night: