Feb 252008
 

There’s something you need to know about me: I’m still the fifteen-year-old girl who turns to music when a boy breaks her heart. I’m still the sixteen-year-old girl who locks herself in her room and blares the stereo after fighting with her parents. I’m still the nineteen-year-old who sobs into cherry wine while listening to The Cure. I’m still the seventeen-year-old girl who thinks every emo song was written for her.

I’m the twenty-eight-year-old girl who gets in a fight with Henry and runs off to the cemetery to scream along to the lyrics that your little brothers and sisters are cutting themselves to.

Not too long ago, someone asked, "Aren’t you a little old to be getting excited about this kind of music?" If I ever stop getting excited about it, stop feeling it in my heart, then I’ll know I’m dead. Exactly what kind of music is someone elderly like me supposed to be listening to, anyway? Should I be donning loafers and sitting back with some John Mayer?

Last summer, when Henry and I were going through a rough patch, Chiodos was there to keep me alive. Their music inspired me to paint again and their lyrics inspired me to keep writing when I really wanted to give up. When I missed their set at Warped Tour, I didn’t care that I was essentially the mama amid a churning sea of other surly fans who missed them due to an unusually early start time.

Yesterday was going to be my first time meeting them. For me, it was worth the three hour drive to Columbus. I wanted to thank them for doing what they do, for making music that means so much to me. But by the time we arrived at Magnolia Thunderpussy for the in-store signing, my heart felt weak and my legs were spaghetti. (Marinara sauce, please.) Very few people were there; I anticipated a line full of unwashed hair and star tattoos serpentining out and around the store, but there were only a handful of messy haired kids loitering quietly among the racks of CDs.

I sat outside for awhile. I was thirty minutes early and Chooch was unable to be contained within the tiny record store. Henry let him play in snow while I tried to make idle chatty with two young people who sat on a retaining wall.  I admitted to being freaked out, hoping to bond with the girl of the pair. She laughed, but it wasn’t the encouraging kind. I think she was suspicious that some old broad was trying to make convo. Later, she asked me if I had come by myself, and I took that as her way of including me. She kind of looked like Rachel Bilson. Then I started thinking about The O.C. and realized, "Holy shit, I really am young……Oh well."

Inside the store, I was mindlessly flipping through used CDs when I looked up and saw three of the band members slipping behind the counter. There was no grand announcement or applause — they managed to slink by unnoticed by most of the kids. A short trucker-capped employee with a voice too husky for a girl came out and determined where the start of the line would be. I had the good fortune of being close by, so only fifteen or so people managed to be ahead of me. Henry and Chooch were still at the front of the store; the growing covey of fans made a barricade that he wasn’t trying to attempt to break through.

I turned around and wheezed, "I think I’m going to die!" to the girl behind me. She laughed. I liked her. She had nice glasses and she let me cut in front of her when I got caught up in the mad scurry to get in line. But I wasn’t kidding — my palms were getting sweaty and I was seeing double.

A trio of tiny girls wearing varying shades of grey and black and olive green huddled in front of me, giggling about what they were going to say to the band. One of the girls never removed her oversized black sunglasses from her pale face. Another had braces. The third looked around and disgustedly observed that there were so many scene kids there. "Oh wait, I am one," she added with a laugh. I wanted to punch her. I wanted to punch her and say that I liked Chiodos more. Then I wanted to steal her purse. Not because I liked it all that much, but because maybe it seemed like the right way to end things.

It was my turn way too quickly. I was barely prepared and my hands shook a little (a lot) as I unrolled my poster and slapped it down on the counter. The first person in line was Derrick, the drummer. He gave me a friendly smile and I felt slightly brave enough to speak. I started to tell him that I had come from Pittsburgh, but the girl in front of me had made it to the end of the line and wanted a picture of all of them. He held up his finger to me and moved in close to the rest of the band. But by the time he turned his attention back to me, I had lost my nerve and started to slide my poster down to the guitarist, Jason. I could have told him that I used a magazine clipping of his eyeball for one of the paintings I made last summer. I could have told him that there used to be a bar outside of Pittsburgh called Chiodos and my mom beat the shit out of the Chiodos daughter because of a guy. I could have told him these things but I didn’t because it probably would have come out sounding like something articulated by Corky.

Henry was standing off to my right, behind a wall of posters. I silently hoped that he wouldn’t embarrass me, because if those guys thought I was old….

Henry chose that moment to release Chooch who in turn came running toward me. Derrick shouted, "Aw, look how cute he is!" When Chooch reached me, I used him to my advantage and picked him up so they knew he was with me; it suddenly didn’t matter that I was "too old" to be there or that I couldn’t find meaningful words to say to them.

The band collectively said things like, "He’s adorable!" and "I like your shirt, little man!" Derrick looked at me and said, "You know, we need a mascot…" Everyone laughed and then he gave Chooch a high five. Even the scene kids in line broke down their steeled pretensions long enough to say "Aw."

Henry doesn’t like Chiodos at all. I mean, he wasn’t glaring at them and flashing Crip signs from behind the protective cover of a rack of Ramones t-shirts — he just doesn’t like their music. I thought that maybe after meeting them he would change his mind. Maybe their boyish charm and ruffled hair would inspire him to give their music another change.

"Do you like them now?" I asked, once we left the record store. (I’m kind of like the Verizon Wireless Guy — I re-ask him with every disc rotation.)

"No! They didn’t do anything but stand there." His standards are too high.

Thank you Chooch, for revitalizing some of my maternal courage and giving me another reason to add to the "no" column of "Was Having a Kid a Mistake?"

Then we went back to the hotel where Henry started snoring and I made him sleep in the car.

Sorry for getting all serious. I promise to resume my regular asshole-y writing style in time for the next entry.

  21 Responses to “Chooch is my accessory”

  1. That picture is such a great keepsake!

    Henry and Chooch both had some great timing there. They’ve got your back just when you need it.

    Even though you get nervous, I’m glad you got to meet these guys in person since they mean so much to you.

  2. they’re from here, you know.. not, like, my back yard, but pretty close to here. so anytime anything happens with them they’re all front page news and yadda yadda. they seem like interesting folks though i’m not familiar with their music. aaaaaaanyway, i just wanted to tell you that i think you’re awesome. so, you’re awesome.

    • SARAH! They’re really good. Their first LP is kind of screamo, but the one that just came out last fall (Bone Palace Ballet) is more polished and accessible. I can send you some of my faves when I get home if you want!

      You’re awesome, too. <333

  3. I LIKE your serious posts. And I <3 you. Weirdly, I had a dream about you last night. It’s always strange when you dream about someone you’ve never met. It makes me feel like a stalker!

    Anyway, I’m glad you got to meet them, and that Chooch became a big part of it. I know if I ever got to meet Pearl Jam, I’d be the same way. Lol. And the only accessory I’D have would be my PJ tattoo that takes up half my leg. Lol.

    • Thanks, Katie! What was the dream about??? Don’t worry — I like when the tables turns and I’m the stalkee.

      What’s the tattoo of??

    • I can’t remember the entirety of the dream, but I do remember that we went to dinner together, and you sprung on me the fact that you had offered to babysit for some weird mafioso guy you had met at a bar the night before. So we ended up going to his house to babysit his three kids, and you wound up dressing the kids up in various costumes and taking pictures of them. It was odd to say the least. :)

      I have the “Alive Guy” logo tattooed on my leg. It was meant to be small and on my ankle, but I was scared of the tattooist and didn’t want to correct him. So it’s about the size of my hand and on my calf! ;)

    • That’s really something that I would do, too! Now I really want it to happen.

      Your tattoo sounds awesome!

  4. Gosh, I didn’t realize there was an age limit when it comes to liking bands. Someone inform me when it’s time to listen to Elton John so I can turn in my Overkill CDs.

    What a great shot of Riley! Now Chiodos loves you.

  5. I love guys who snore thannkies

  6. You know that you can write about anything and I’ll still read it. I don’t know much about Chiodos, except what you have mentioned. However, no matter how old you get, you can still be a screaming fangirl and most people won’t think less of you. It’s not the greatest example, but I always think of people my mom’s age screaming their heads off for people like Barry Manilow. If the Beatles weren’t almost all dead and were touring again like they used to, my mom would be front and center, because they were her first big concert when they played at Shea Stadium and even today, they mean a lot of her.

    • By people I meant women and they mean a lot TO her, not of her. I’m not feeling so internet-capable today.

    • I remember after I got pregnant, I totally freaked out at the thought of losing interest in this stuff. My best guy friend Shawn used to be my concert buddy, but then he went off and got married and became a dad. Nowadays, he always says, “Who?” when I talk about bands and it’s sad!

      Your mom sounds incredible.

  7. i’m so jealous.

    chooch fits in so perfectly… he makes an excellent frontman.
    i want chiodos to read this because i love this post.

    i want you to do music editorials. yes. that’s a fine idea.

    • I don’t want them to see this, I’d die.

      I can’t write about music. It’s the one thing that has me at a loss for words because it means too much. I get frustrated if I try to write about it and I cry a lot.

  8. I love this whole entry so much. And that picture is adorable! I’m going to have to check out Chiodos now.

  9. Music is pretty much it.
    And I believe that people should like what they want. My friend’s mom came with us to a concert one time and she had a great time.
    And we had a great time being with her. So hurray for everyone. I personally like a bit of everything in my music.

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