Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Forever Stubbly

Yesterday at the gym, attentive readers will recall, I worked out a few bikes away from a red-faced obvious steroid abuser who, at irregular intervals, would start shrieking along in the key of H with whatever he was listening to on his iPod, with the result that I had to read two or three times several sentences in the Scott Spencer novel I was starting because I honestly didn’t find Sue Miller’s account of her father’s battle with Alzheimer’s nearly as engrossing as I’d hoped to. If I were half a man, I’d have leapt off my own bike and gone over to tell Mr. Steroids to put a lid on it, but I am only around 45 percent a man, so I just kept pedaling. Of course, if there were any justice in the world, someone from the gym — which describes itself in its marketing materials as the No-Judgement [sic] Zone, and which has a bunch of signs up urging fellows not to make the exhibitionistic sounds of exertion that are so popular at Gold’s — would have come over and confronted the guy for me. But of course there is no justice in the world.

Once having completed my brief strengthening regimen, I headed over to Idolatry for some dishwashing liquid, soy milk, and razorblades, the last because it has come to my attention that I have now officially become one of those unpleasant-smelling old men who’s forever stubbly, and I have resolved to shave on the 4th, 16th, and 27th of every month that I can remember to do so, but of course I will forget as I publish this.

As I was heading back to my car, I heard a man and woman shouting at each other. My first, reflexive, reaction was to determine if I could reasonably claim not to have heard them; I am big on both plausible deniability and avoiding danger. Realizing that my deniability wouldn’t have been very plausible, I next glanced around, hoping that someone with bigger testes might want to get involved, but there was no one. The man, who seemed to share my disaffection for shaving, and who wore a New York Giants baseball cap with which he’d apparently mopped up a small puddle of cooking oil, called the woman a skank and a ho, though they were both white. The woman, of the sort who does all her shopping at Idolatry, rather than just for supplementary odds and ends, called him a dickwad and a fairy, which I found interesting because I haven’t heard fairy in that sense since well before repatriating to the UK, where Fairy, coincidentally, was both a brand of dishwasher detergent and a post-modern crooner with lank hair.

I actually interviewed the latter once, and was fascinated to find him the single shyest “rock” star I’d ever met. Throughout our time together, he stared at a spot on the floor midway between us. Given that he’d dated famous beauties (Jerry Hall, later Mick Jagger’s woman, Ava Gardner, Katy Perry, and others) and been on Top of the Pops, I found this surprising, but not so surprising that I wasn’t, at the end, able to slip him a demo tape of one of my own songs, “I’m Still Not Over You,” which was very much right up his alley. Though I never heard from him again, I can tell you that some of song's wistfully melancholic lyrics were inspired by my study of Italian in advance of my and my future first wife’s visit to Italy in 1982, which, coincidentally, saw the release of the best Roxy Music album, Avalon, which the future missus and I listened to implacably on her Walkman while traveling. I had encountered an Italian proverb translated as Pride arrives on horseback, but leaves on foot. For my song, I changed it to Pride arrived in a limousine, but then later on was seen departing on a moped.

I hoped you might enjoy knowing.


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