Loose Strife

An MP3 blog

Thursday, September 08, 2005

#16 – More little things (the last day of work before vacation is always a bitch)

“Baby’s On Fire” – The Venus In Furs
“Baby’s On Fire” (live) – 801

I’m psyched, and if I could write that en Deutsche, I would. I get on a plane to Berlin tomorrow----well, to Frankfurt, where I catch a connection; for some inexplicable reason, it’s nearly impossible to get a direct flight to Berlin. But why vacation in Berlin, you ask? Because it’s a great European city that I’ve never been too. Because it is not just knee deep in history. Because, in the immortal words of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, “Ich bin ein Berliners.”

Also because there’s an awesome electronic music festival there, and I scored a free plane ticket from a German cultural organization to cover it.

How about that? They consider me a legitimate journalist.

Actually, given all the things I read in The New York Times and elsewhere about how bloggers are “threatening traditional journalism” and “altering the media landscape,” I suppose I am legitimate, in a romantic-outlaw, money-means-nothing sort of way. Maybe more legit than those dinosaur music mags that never answered my query letters when I’ve wanted to write for them. Those fuckers can kiss my slightly overweight dot-com It-media ass.

(Jesus---does this mean I need to produce a weekly podcast too? I already have no life.)

This morning at work, I am greeted, per usual, by Caitlin Mathers’ mother Melanie: certainly, to use an admittedly piggish but emotionally honest term, the pre-eminent MILF of this year’s group at Small World Day Care. There is something about her slightly ravaged, blowsy, crow’s eyed sultriness, and that of certain older women like her, that melts me. Sure, I suppose I have some mother issues. But mostly it’s about the way they navigate a balance between an obviously strong sense of feminine vanity---cultivated during their twenties and thirties under what was surely the unrelenting gaze of countless smitten men---and a realistic air of “fuck it, I’m getting old” that frees them from bothering with make-up or fussy clothes or false daintiness. It brings a tear to my eye for the human condition and gives me wood at the same time.

Come to think of it, I have a pre-disposition towards music that does the same thing.

She senses this, I believe, and flirts shamelessly, but with a certain impunity, as if I were a special-ed kid. My guess is it’s payback for whatever action she suspects her realtor husband Joey is getting from that Japanese nanny that takes care of Caitlin when she isn’t here with me (the Jude Law incident seems to have definitely upped the paranoia quotient in Eastern Queens).

The morning scene went something like this:

Melanie clicks into the room in heels. “Caity look – it’s Bobby.” Melanie smiles a bleach-job smile (the gum recession is the giveaway) (okay, so she hasn’t abandoned all vanity) and stretches out my name like gum: Bah-bee.

“Morning,” I say, kneeling by the Lego shelf. Caity runs up and leaps into my arms. Her lower torso, and now my shirt, is soaked in pee.

“Did Caity go potty this morning?” I ask, pointlessly.

“She just doesn’t like peeing in the morning!” Melanie declares, turning her palms up in defeat. “I show her how good it feels”---here she puts her hands on her olive stockinged thighs, crouches, and makes a wizzzzzzzz sounds---“but no go. She just wants to play with her beach balls. Hmm…that sounded dirty!” She smiles sideways at her daughter and winks at me. I feel dizzy.

“Let’s get changed Caity,” I say, snapping out of it. I’m pathetic.

“No! I don’t wanna change!” She pulls herself out of my hands and dashes towards the playhouse. I grab her just before she plants her soggy butt on the daybed.

“IIIIIEEEEEEEEEE! NO CHANGE! NO NO NO NO NO!” Caitlin shrieks---half seriously, and half because she simply likes shrieking. She kicks her heels against my pelvic bone as I carry her toward the bathroom.

Melanie smiles at me pityingly. “Bobby, you are the best.” Her cell phone rings with an eight-note bleep sample of Usher’s “Yeah.”

“Gotta run – mwaa, honey bunnies! See you at 5-ish!”

Later, as I dabbed diaper cream on Caity’s rashy crotch (she evidently sits in pee a lot), I thought about how little time most parents spend attending to the needs of their kids, as opposed to paying other people to do it (admittedly what I do with my father). I also thought about how spending my workdays helping 3 year olds shit and piss has helped place penises and vaginas and buttholes in perspective. I mean, c’mon, really; why such a fuss about these funny, fleshy, funky things? They cause us so much trouble.

Anyway, two versions of Brian Eno’s proto-postpunk “Baby’s On Fire.” The first is from the soundtrack to Todd Haynes fairly amusing glam-rock faux-doc Velvet Goldmine, as played by a faux-group including my hero Thom Yorke (in fact, David Bowie’s money-hungry control-freak refusal to allow any of his music in the soundtrack actually forced the film’s producers to make a better soundtrack than they might’ve if the Thin White Duke had participated). The second is by a short-lived sorta-super group put together by Roxy Music guitar god Phil Manzanera back in the mid-70s. It included Eno, who sings and abuses his synthesizer on this version.

I am, of course, joking. I hope the presence of this song on my blog will not get me fired from the Small World daycare center. From where I sit, every parent---at least the truthful ones---will admit to wanting to throttle (if not torch) their kids from time to time but will of course never come near acting on it. But for a non-parent to joke about such things is highly suspect at best, like a white person using the word “nigger.” But since I’m a respected daycare worker with nearly ten years of experience, maybe I have the playground equivalent of a ghetto pass.

Ten years…

Auf weidersehen!


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