Thursday, August 09, 2007

Beastie Boys Still Intergalactic

Last night, I went with Em to the Beastie Boys' concert in Central Park at Summer Stage. They're all about 40 years old, which is frightening because that means I'm (gasp) at least 30-ish!, but they sounded exactly the same as they did when they first started rapping about fighting for the right to party and wanting girls in the kitchen. They were great and Em and I had a blast.

I have vivid memories of lobster bakes during one summer in the early '90s when my brothers were totally obsessed with the "Girls" song and played it non-stop, I think in part in a misguided effort to piss me off. We had a deck off the back of our house and a big backyard that lead up to our pool. Along one area there was a stone wall and my brother Frey had removed stones from a section of the wall and fashioned a fire pit over which we used to heat up an enormous pot filled with lobsters, potatoes, and corn. We had a stereo out on the deck, and for that summer "Girls" was on nearly constant repeat. Up in my room, laying out by the pool, sitting on the deck, doing my nails, reading a book, watching TV, all I heard was:

Girls! To do the dishes,
Girls! To clean up my room,
Girls! To do the laundry,

Girls! And in the bathroom,
That's all I really want is girls!
Two at a time,
I want girls!
With new wave hairdos,
I want girls!
I ought to whip out my -
Girls, girls, girls, girls, girls!

It's an infectious song, and even though I at first pretended to dislike it, by the end of the summer I loved it. Plus, it's all about them loving girls. Putting aside the obvious references to girls performing traditional female labor, serving as sex objects, and the joys of having them two at a time, I think secretly and subversively the song is about the power of girls. The Beastie Boys say it themselves, all they really want is girls. More indisputable proof that deep-down men really can't live without us.

The Beastie Boys also evoke vivid memories of the second summer after I graduated from college, when I was living up in Boston with Drummer, sharing his bed, his room in a 4 bed-room house in Jamaica Plain, ideas and our selves, and everything else in 1998. It was the summer of "Hello Nasty" and Soul Coughing's "El Oso." I was bar-tending, gardening, selling clothes in a consignment shop on Newbury Street, working for a lesbian-owned sound company, seeing shows all the time, eating ice cream at J.P. Lick's, painting and drawing in the afternoons, getting over a friendship that had fallen apart, and struggling with whether to pursue law school and what I imagined (rightly) would be akin to working for "the man."

I had almost no money - neither of us did - but felt like I didn't need it. I lived in some t-shirts and a pair of shorts, wore almost no make-up, didn't get my hair done, and felt free, relaxed, in tune with myself, and in tune with what was important in the world. All of which is rather perplexing from my current vantage point, but also quite alluring. I was so young and hopeful and my heart was in the right place. It was before that relationship ended, before Law School, before Ex-Bf, before the Law Firm From Hell, and before I picked myself up and changed everything (much of which you witnessed, my beautiful, supportive friends).

When I hear "intergalactic," like I did last night (which was awesome by the way), I imagine myself as I was back then and I see everything I didn't know. I want to beam myself back in time so that I can go tell my younger self, "A lot is going to happen, but it's going to be okay. Enjoy it now. Don't stress, don't be anxious, it will all be okay." I want to tell my younger self that the relationship with Drummer won't work, that she's going to love law school, that she's going to make many incredible, enriching friendships, that she's going to become an Auntie and become really close to Bean, that Bean's going to be okay, that her relationships with Ex-Bf is going to hurt a lot, and that working for a big law firm is not for her. (I could try to tell her not to go out with Ex-Bf and not to go work for the Firm From Hell but she would probably ignore the advice, and I suspect that if I hadn't learned those lessons one way, I would have learned them another equally painful way - so it's probably for the best that time travel is currently impossible).

I told an abridged version of that to Em last night in the middle of the concert, and then I started thinking about it. If that's true, that I would go back in time and tell my younger self not to worry because everything was going to be okay, then it must mean that I think every thing's okay now. That was something of a revelation, and it made me happy to realize that overall that's genuinely how I feel, happy about where things are in the present. That's not to say that I don't stress, because as you all know, of course I do!

It also made me think that if that's what I would tell my younger self, then maybe I should be taking that advise now. Presumably, 5 years from now an older version of myself will be looking back at me thinking, "If I could go back in time I would tell her 'A lot is going to happen, but it's going to be okay. Enjoy it now. Don't stress, don't be anxious, it will all be okay.'"

It's all about being present, relaxing, enjoying life in the moment, letting go of the past, and not worrying about the future. All easier said than done, but since that's what I would tell my younger self, and it's what I'm fairly certain my older self would tell me now, clearly it's what I should attempt to do. Maybe then my older self, five years from now, instead of feeling like she wished she could go back in time, would instead be off somewhere enjoying herself, thinking fondly of the time many years ago when she learned to accept and enjoy life for what it is.


Starshine said...

I'm smiling inside. There is so much beauty in this life to enjoy right now!


Miss S said...

That's exactly how I feel about "Girls." When I am feeling hyper and carefree, I bounce around to it in the car.

Miss S

wordnerd said...

I like that feeling of knowing that despite life's imperfections....that things are still OK...

Learning to accept and enjoy life...that's a challenge and a half..:*) One I'm sure we can handle though...with a few drinks, anything is possible!

PS - thanks for putting Girls into my head...I will now go to bed rhyming with Mike D.

Karianne said...

Now I have to share my fave Beastie songs:


Hey Ladies

She's Crafty

Thanks for the memories! I wish I could have been there!

gravelly said...

Deck, lobsters, cooking pit, pool, music blasting for the not-so appreciative neighbors...the sounds and smells of summer in Ct...lots of good times! Have a great weekend, Buttercup!

ariess said...

In reading your post, I feel like you are the future me.... reminding me that although a lot is happening, it will be okay; we will be okay. So thank you for that... and for your friendship, love, and support.

p.s it's funny how music takes us back.... anytime I hear Offspring...or Live.... BAM! I'm back in 1994, getting ready to go to some fraternity house..... =)

Bubbles said...

I never really thought about the sexist implications of "girls" when I was young-- mostly because my best-friend and I loved to sing along and substitute "boys" very loudly every time they said "girls." Which makes me remember that boys was pretty much my sole concern back than. I wonder if that is better or worse than now....

Buttercup said...

Starshine - Especially for someone in love who just got married!!!

Miss S - Bouncey, that's totally how to describe it.

Wordnerd - I wish I were better at holding on to that feeling on a more consistent basis. Then maybe I wouldn't have blips of fudgsicle over-indulgence? GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! It's in my head too.

Karianne - They played Sabotage!

Gravelly - There were lots of good times. I have many wonderful memories from those summers, including one adorable picture where Bean had corn all over her face and a HUGE smile (she was like 8 or something).

Ariess - We WILL be okay. We ARE okay. :) So funny about Offspring and Live, and what about NIN? Whenever I hear the Eagles it brings me right back to first year. Love you sweetie!

Buttercup said...

Bubbles - From now on I'm going to sing that song with "boys" substituted for girls. Brilliant.