The Art of a Car Ride, Pop Music + a Plea for a Celebrity Scandal

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Day 666 of quarantine. Reality is setting in. The days cascade through gratefulness, fear, empathy and what is that? Anger, I think. Healthcare workers, grocery store employees and to-go servers are heroes and offer me a rare glimpse of human interaction beyond my four walls.

Quarantine makes me nostalgic for my teen years when freedom arrived in the form of a car. The anticipation of getting my license was so severe that I failed my driver’s test twice. TWICE. I attribute the failures more to anxiety than poor driving skills, but I finally nailed it on my 3rd time and took to the roads with a Chevrolet something.

Much like right now, driving through the windy roads of a small town, with pop music blaring, was all there was to do. It’s what I’m doing every afternoon now and here’s what I’ve noticed.

“Hot Girl Bummer” is Perfection

After years of silly resistance, I now embrace weird rap. What I dig is the honesty, lack of pretense and its boasts of illegal and poor behavior. I’ve had enough of the phony positivity of Lizzo and Lovato and prefer to listen to fairy tales of promiscuity, excessive partying and girl fights. “This that throw up in your Birkin bag, hook up with someone random.” Smells like teen spirit to me.

Speaking of teen spirit, the song’s tone reminds me of Nirvana. It’s angry and funny, with a keen eye on youth’s beauty and ugliness. “F#$k you and you, and you. I hate your friends and they hate me too.” Thank you, Mr. Blackbear, now please cool it with the facial tattoos.

Kurt Cobain + My Numbers Problem

I’m bad at numbers. I have to REALLY think before I can answer the years my children were born. My oldest is easiest, it’s 2001. But every year around the beginning of April I remember that it’s Kurt Cobain’s death anniversary. The hint of spring jolts me with a whiff of alertness and I recall that spring feeling with news that Cobain died. I tend to live in the past, in my head, and the quarantine escalates my dwelling.

Driving around with nowhere to go while trying to figure out the meaning of life is exactly what I’m doing these days, exactly what I was doing when “Nevermind” was released, and what I was doing around the time Cobain died. As the April 5 anniversary came and went without much news, I realized how much has changed but how little we change. Like 1994, I’m savoring car rides, writing and awaiting a new Fiona Apple album.

Fiona Apple Reemerges

Sensing Gen Xers’ malaise, Fiona Apple sweeps in and will release her first album in eight years on April 17. To share that I’m excited is as immense an understatement as “Meghan Markle’s dull” or “Britney Spears is strange.” I count down the days until I can listen to her new album and I’m sure I’ll keep it in my car’s outdated CD player until her next album is released during my retirement.

No Celebrity News Isn’t Good News

Perhaps Beyonce, Jay Z and Solange can get into another elevator.

I’m watching the news throughout the day and so saddened, but I feel like something’s missing: the universe needs something frivolous to focus on.

Consider this a personal plea to the Gwyneths, Madonnas, Brads and Britneys to mess shite up with a scandal hot enough to avert our attention for a day or two. Divorce, a secret marriage or a disastrous elevator ride will do.  Heck, I’ll settle for a cheating scandal, rehab or an unplanned pregnancy.

A juicy celebrity scandal should be a part of their agent’s contract. Come on, they owe us one. Brad Pitt, the epitome of coolness, could take one for the team and have an Instagram live wedding to some unheard-of environmentalist. Or maybe he and Jennifer Aniston could pretend to get back together again ­– just to entertain us now that we’ve finished “Tiger King”, “Ozark” and the entire “Madmen” series for a 3rd time.

Hollywood, think about it and feel free to contact me for guidance. I will be sitting right here, unless I’m driving around thinking of alternative music.

xo

I was a strange kid.

The 2010s + the Onset of Middle Age

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Cheers to the freaking 2010s, a decade of reality show saturation and political devastation. Ten years that left me wondering where all the poorly behaved celebrities have gone and if there are any original ideas anymore. It was a decade of sequels, reboots and trilogies that left me longing for the pantyless brouhaha of Lindsay Lohan’s youth.

Everything I know, I learned from Housewives of NYC

Thanks, TV. I’ll never leave my house again.

Who needs to leave one’s home when programs as delightful as “Mad Men,” “Veep,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and the “Housewives of NYC” are playing in your cluttered living room? The 2010s provided me with more streaming services than job changes and that’s saying A LOT. Ten years of silly superhero movies left my bloated middle-age belly full yet unsatisfied, but my TV was the coolest movie screen in town.

Adele + Anything = Coma < Facial Tattoos + Youth = Cool

Billboard’s best performing singles of the decade commenced with Kesha’s “Tik Tok” and sauntered to an end with 2019’s “Old Town Road,” both sonic gems. And while Adele wowed everyone for most of the decade, she lulled me into a coma where I was surrounded by other drips like Maroon 5, the Chainsmokers, and Shawn Mendes.

The Weeknd, Post Malone, Billie Eilish and SoundCloud freaks thrilled me with their youth, resplendent with danger, beauty and sexiness. No, I didn’t buy much of their music but respect that it’s the new alternative. I mean if I’m digging 6ix9ine, something’s gone wrong in the land of rebellion and teenage wasteland.

And really all I need is my Lana Del Rey, the best worst singer of all time. I absolutely love her.

The Royal Family: A Joke With No Punchline

Kate and Meghan: Even more boring than your in-laws.

Kate Middleton; her bearded brother; Meghan “monochrome” Markle; her yoga-teaching mother; her overweight father on the cusp of a heart attack — what do they ALL have in common? I have no idea why I even know who they are and I’m begging the world to harass a new family. I dunno, the Trumps of the Beckhams will do. Please.

I don’t care what Kate or Meghan are wearing. Here’s a spoiler for those of you who do care: Meghan’s wearing solid colors with high heels and Kate is sporting a printed dress in a chiffon-like fabric. And their faces are adorned with the pained smile that belongs to those who have sold their souls.

I don’t give one crumpet if William and Harry duke it out over high tea at Windsor Castle or what happens at any of their royal engagements. Gosh, I’m SO sick of the royal family that I actually tried and couldn’t finish watching “The Crown” because, yeah, you guessed it: I DON’T Care.

Celebrities Behaving… Well?

2010 started off just right with Lindsay Lohan doing a little time for violating probation but the rest of the decade took a depressing turn with celebrities acting okay and when they acted poorly, it was just pathetic.

Sure, Demi Lovato’s been onto the path of recovery more times than I’ve polished my resume, but that’s not newsworthy anymore. Same goes for Selena Gomez. Poor thing’s crazy, I get it, but she’s no Britney Spears coo-coo crazy, she’s snooze crazy. Wake me up when it gets bad.

What’s more boring than this pairing? YAWN.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s secret love child was definitely better than Chris Pratt marrying his yawner of a daughter, but still not spicy enough for me.

The college admissions scandal that shocked everyone and no one.

And while Ariana Grande’s donut lick seen around the world was sexier than her engagement to Pete Davidson, it still lacked the oomph of the ’00s. Even the worldwide outrage of the college admissions scandal left me confused, we all knew that this was happening all along, right? Did America think that every celebrity spawn was bright enough to get into NYU? Come on, this is called life and I don’t understand the outrage or surprise.

My Nuggets of Wisdom

Youth is pretty.

The 2010s firmly cemented me into middle age with a newfound understanding of humanity with all its beautiful flaws. I’ve learned some powerful lessons along the way and here are a few:

  • If someone is starting a conversation with “I don’t judge, but,” they’re ready to judge. For sure.
  • No, Jennifer Aniston doesn’t look better now than she did 20 years ago. Nobody really does and anyone who tells you that is probably lying.
  • The sequel is never better than the original.
  • There’s not one thing wrong with Adam Driver. Not. One. Damn. Thing.
  • People with facial tattoos probably hate their mother.
  • Our youth was rarely as dangerous as we paint it to be.
  • Nobody wants to listen to you explain your dreams; I wish they did, but they just don’t.
  • Married couples are often content and rarely happy. And that’s okay.
  • A bad therapist is worse than no therapist.
  • We should all go out and party more.
  • It’s always a good time to put your freaking phone DOWN.
  • “I don’t know how you do it all,” feels more like a gut punch than a warm compliment.
  • I didn’t know how much I was going to miss Lena Dunham until she went away.
  • When people don’t like you, you usually know.
  • We all need to stop peppering our conversations with the word, “honestly.” Honestly, we do.

Happy New Year, y’all!