Some Day Comes

Why yes, that IS Mexican corn from Dos Caminos in the background

For review, please see Sunday’s post.

Greetings from “some day!”

After learning that place-holders would not be allowed at the book signing — i.e., no paying unemployed friends to stand in line so you could sleep late and then roll in at 11 — Rachana realized it didn’t make sense for her to come in from NJ.  Between this, the crack-of-dawn rising, the four+ hours of line-waiting with strangers, and the possibility of crushing disappointment, I really wasn’t sure I could do this anymore. But I kept hearing my dad’s words … Some day … on the street in New York … and I knew I had to try.

Armed with an Olive & Bette tote bag containing non-perishable rations and my finest Duran Duran memorabilia, some with original scotch tape and mauve wallpaper fibers, I headed across town. On 54th Street, nothing looked out of the ordinary — I had been expecting a squatter’s village and tents. That was a good sign. Inside, there was no line to buy the book – “In the Pleasure Groove” (favorably reviewed by the HuffPo, I might add)  – either. Upstairs, a kindly older woman escorted me to the end of the line and told me I was roughly number 40. SCORE! If I could deal with four hours of mind-numbing boredom, I would almost certainly make it to the front of the line.

Very weirdly, the time passed quickly and pleasantly. I made myself comfortable in the aisle where they’d stuck me (Personal Growth). I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and mediocre bagel, I became BFFs with ladies in front and in back of me, and Barnes & Noble had curated a special Duran Duran soundtrack for the occasion. The camaraderie was incredible! We spelled each other for bathroom breaks. We shared iPhone chargers and Tide pens and hand sanitizer. I killed a stink bug that had waddled out from under “IBS for Dummies,” accidentally spraying one of the other “Duranies.” We passed around our BOP and Tiger Beat and 16 posters. We told stories about the 80s and assessed the various girlfriends of Simon Le Bon and John. We talked about why we loved them and why we still loved them. We talked about our favorite albums and videos and the stupid things we used to think.  We talked about the different times we’d seen them live, what it was like being 12 and how, in some places that shall remain nameless Scotch Plains, a girl was a traitor to Bon Jovi and could get thrown in locker for loving Duran Duran. My modern-day friends cheered me on via Facebook and text message.

You can do eeeet! You can do eeeet!

Exactly at 12:30 we heard the front of the line start screaming and I knew that “some day” had come. Up until that point I had been a mix of excited and sad (about lost youth and how much time had passed since the first time I heard “Rio” on the way to school in 5th grade). As the line moved along, I realized there was a pretty good chance I would puke, pass out, or lose the power of speech. My hands were shaking too hard to take pictures and I tried desperately to think up something hilarious to say to him.

Then I could see him and then I was in front of him! He was gorgeous and smiling and felt like an old friend I hadn’t seen in eons. This is how the conversation I’d dreamed about for 30 years went down:

OMFG OMFG OMFG OMFG

JT: Hi Traci, how are you?

Me: The only thing I can think to say to you right now is ‘Holy Fucking Shit.’

JT laughs

Me talking very fast and trying to squeeze a lifetime of chit-chat into 10 seconds: I have two books for you to sign but I also brought some potentially horrifying stuff from my personal collection I know it’s a little creepy this has been in my family for 30 years it actually hung on my bedroom wall you can see the tape.

JT views the ancient pictures of himself. He actually puts his hand on the faded posters that Rachana and I bought in 1984 at Baron’s in Westfield.

JT: Wow this stuff is like heirlooms!

Me: I apologize for any New Jersey molecules that might have contaminated you.

JT laughs or at least I remember it that way. Then he signs both books, shakes my hand and says it was nice to meet me. I tell him it was SUCH an honor to meet him.

Downstairs, my new friends and I realized we were starving and bordering on hysterical in a totally mature way, so we headed to Dos Caminos for sangria and guacamole. Then, we parted ways and I returned to the “Ordinary World,” running errands on the rest of my day off and wondering what Keith would want for dinner. Nothing had changed, except that it kind of had.

And now I’m thinking about a conversation between me and my 12-year-old self. I know what she would say and ask. She would want to know if she gets married to someone nice and cute (she does); if she ever gets her braces off (she does, but could use another round); if she will always be friends with Rachana (she will); if she moves to New York (she does); and if she’ll barf at her bat mitzvah (she won’t). She will be impressed that she eats sushi and drinks sangria! She will love finding out that a Gear bag is in her near future. And now of course, I can tell her when she asks that some day, on the street in New York, her dream will come true.

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Some Day Comes

Ordinary World

From the private collection of me.
Note that John Taylor is a total fox.

It was the spring of 1984. I was 12, the clothes were Esprit, the hair was bi-leveled, and the night was sultry. (Or maybe it wasn’t. I was in the basement watching Suburban Cablevision for most of it, so I can’t say for sure.) John Taylor, Simon Le Bon and the rest of Duran Duran were the reigning MTV Friday Night Video Champions. It was during this reign that my middle school bestie Rachana and I became obsessed with the band Tiger Beat and BOP used to call “The Fab 5.” Ours was to be  an unrequited love story that would span three pathetic decades and media from vinyl to cassettes and CDs to iPhones. Chuckle away. But you will never convince me that “Rio” isn’t one of the greatest masterpieces of all time.

A few years in, Duran Duran paid a visit to Z-100 and listeners were invited to call in with questions. What this really meant, if you were lucky enough to get through, was that for a few seconds, John Taylor and Simon Le Bon would know you existed.  So I redialed and redialed and redialed and got only a busy signal. I was devastated. Trying to console me, Lew said, “You never know. One day, you could just be walking down the street in New York and bump right into them…” And it is those words — that tiny possibility  — that still gets me through my darkest days.  I don’t know why, but I never got over this obsession. They are my first loves. They taught me nothing I know about eyeliner. And when you have loved something as long as I’ve loved them, even without a shred of personal contact, they kind of become part of your psyche.

Cut to 2012. Rachana and I are 40. The clothes are J. Brand, the hair is flat-ironed, and the night might or might not be sultry. But it doesn’t matter, because John Taylor is signing copies of his new memoir in the city on October 16th.  Dressed in our finest skinny jeans, uber-stylie fall tops and shiny new booties, Rachana and I planned to hit the bookstore, experience the nirvana that is John Taylor, capture the whole thing on our iPhones, then enjoy a delightful ladies’ lunch as we analyzed our interactions

For some reason, I pictured this going down at the famed Fifth Avenue bookstore Rizzoli. Rizzoli hasn’t actually been on Fifth Avenue since 1985, and the book signing is really taking place at a non-descript Barnes and Noble in a midly depressing part of town. Tuesday is also supposed to be way too warm for booties. I might have to meet John Taylor in … GASP … ballet flats. Since my other long-running friend, Nicole, lives in Germany, she’s obviously not coming. That feels wrong. Then came the big blow. The signing starts at 12:30. The store is opening at the inhuman hour of 7 am to accommodate the massive line of screaming ninnies expected to show up. Most likely, I was told, those who arrive much later than 7 will never make it to the front of the line. This seemed like the gods of childhood dreams playing a cruel trick on me. Really?! I had to choose between sleep – my most beloved body function – and JOHN TAYLOR? REALLY?! Thankfully, this disaster was averted when Nicole’s sister Rebecca suggested I pay someone to hold our spots in line. I hadn’t known this was a thing, but apparently opera fans do it all the time for tickets. Brilliant!

Yet with so many of the details unraveling, I started to question the whole thing. Assuming we even make it to the front of the line, it will take him two seconds to sign his name. Photos might not even be allowed, and if they are, I’m entirely confident I’ll look grotesque and cross-eyed in mine. There is no possible combination of words we could conjure to leave any kind of impression in that situation. He probably won’t even look up.

But what really concerns me is the end of the fantasy. What if he’s a total douche bag? What if he looks like a sad, washed up Happy Ending Sundae Story? I don’t want to meet that version of him. I want to meet him in 1984. I am so used to looking forward to this – how will I feel when I have to look back instead? When the thing I’ve waited for all these years has happened, will I be happy about it? Is it better to have the hope than the memory? Is this a really bad idea?

Maybe. But fuck it. We’re meeting John Taylor on Tuesday!!!

Ordinary World

Sometimes a Banana …

When you’ve lived in New York as long as I have, you start to build up a sort of weirdness tolerance. As time goes by and you move from one overpriced shoebox to another, it takes more and more weirdness to impress you. Eventually, things that used to make you shudder strike you as totally normal. Elderly man with a long, gray ponytail wearing fishnets and a housecoat on the bus? I’ve seen weirder. Seemingly upscale lady carrying a discarded crappair down 77th Street? Meh. At this point, it is only the seriously bizarre that even registers with you.

Now I don’t know if this counts as “seriously bizarre,” but it was pretty hard not to notice. Is that a banana on your subway platform or are you just happy to see me?

As I noted on Facebook earlier today, I have a few theories that might explain what a random banana is doing here.

  • Theory 1: As my dear and swell friend Rich suggested, it occurred to me too that this was the equivalent of the collegiate “sock on the doorknob” code. Perhaps the closet/utility room behind this door is actually the shared domicile of two MTA employees, two rats, or one of each. When one of them brings a slutty date home – be it rodent or human – he or she hangs a banana on the door and the roommate – be it rodent or human – knows not to enter. Things this doesn’t explain: why a banana instead of the classic sock? Why is there a banana hook on the door in the first place? Who put accommodations for two grown MTA employees, two grown rats, or one of each on the subway platform? And more important, is this place rent-controlled? Unlikely.
  • Theory 2: For obvious reasons, “banana” is the international sign for some kind of lurid sex practice. Unbeknownst to dorks like me, there are hundreds of 1 train commuters who secretly engage in this lurid sex practice but struggle to find like-minded partners and have nowhere to go. Clearly, a filthy utility room underground is the perfect spot for whatever this practice may be. Nothing screams “discrete” and “erotic” like the New York City subway. When these poor, isolated souls see the banana on their way in to work, they know their days are about to get a whole lot better. Less unlikely, but still not so likely.
  • Theory 3: The city is running a public art project but hasn’t publicized it. The banana is some bullshitter’s take on dadaism. Possible, but doubtful.
  • Theory 4: Someone is conducting a psychological experiment (possibly for a new reality tv show) on hidden camera. What kind of hilarity will ensue when the average New Yorker sees … a BANANA? I prove to be a fascinating subject as I stare at it then take an iPhone picture of it. Possible.
  • Theory 5: Someone riding the subway has an extra banana in his/her bag and decides to hang it on the door in case a homeless, hungry person (or rat) wanders by in search of food. Probably.

Sometimes a Banana …