Last night I went, as is my wont, to do my laundry at the Amoco conveniently located across the street from the Westville Pub. (The stupid laundromat has raised their prices, the fiends, not just on the washers but on the dryers too. Although that annoying fact has in fact nothing to do with the following narrative; still, it's a drag.) I got my clothes into the washers and went across the street, got a beer, went outside and walked into a conversation about Baltimore. Cool, I thought, and then I heard the name of some kids that my daughter knew back in the day. "Wait!" I said, "Did you say . . " And yes, they did. There were three guys there reminiscing, and the younger one went to the Baltimore School for the Arts with my friends' daughter, and the other guy knew my ex mother & stepfather in law. It was like old home week. Not only that, but one guy was about my age and - this is where it gets truly bizarre - knew all of the people that I knew, from the Maryland Institute and from the Mount Royal Tavern, from back in the day, from when I was so cool it was scary. As you can see from these circa 1987 Baltimore pictures. I was cool; I was invincible; I was young. I hadn't yet figured out that I look like an idiot with blonde hair and bangs.
It was amazing and wonderful, and I think we blew my friend J & A's friend (I called A & made her come down to talk to these guys too) C's mind since we talked about stuff like, oh, the Hour House back in the day with the phone booth made of a shower, and the All Mighty Senators (I was their first manager. Yes. Yes I was and you can even see my name and a long long defunct phone number on the back of their first album. Which I probably own the only copy of.) and their giant puppets and Mitchell Valiant covered with ashes playing the accordion (that came from the farm commune where I lived) and Landis being just Landis, and Ron Compton's tattoo of a stomach filled with beer, and tEntaTively a cOnvenience and Vermin Supreme and the party at Brent's out in Aberdeen during the 17 year cicadas when everyone was eating them deepfried and raw (the party of this color photo, in fact,) and my old boyfriend Jack Snope and his cockroach farm. And the powwow and Danny Van Allen and Spoon and more, and more and more, moving into true crime stories, without which no Baltimore gathering is complete, and promises to have a crab feast here in Asheville this summer.
Lately people seem to be remembering me as an artist and recalling to me the days when I thought I was an artist too and it's kind of guilt inducing. Cousins I haven't seen for years at the memorial service asked me how my painting was going, MICA people talking about installations - it reminds me that I did used to be an artist, really. Really. It's possible that that was even the defining thing about me and the important stuff in my life and probably letting it all go to hell - and beer, do't forget beer - except for Christmas cards and mosaics and weird craft-y stuff like that was a big mistake. Not that I was a great artist, I was mostly just kind of a weird artist, but I was an artist of sorts and I am beginning to miss that. I think just possibly it's time to take out the paints again.