Pop culture treasure, high culture trash.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

W! ASH! ING!/ TON, baby.

After I take her grocery shopping we go back to her house for tea. She dives through bulging cabinets for saffron, but retrieves only a moldy glass jar with some seeds in it labeled "1997."

"Hibiscus pods!" she grins. "I stole them from the British consulate."
"Yes! I was downtown at the embassy. I stood up against the gate, leaned over into the garden and brushed them into my jar. Nobody saw me."
"Well, they were going to be wasted, falling onto the ground like that."

She brews the tea and I put gingerbread cookies on a plate. I ask if we're going to sit in the dining room or the kitchen and she clucks, "Oh no, we'll sit in the dining room, like white people." I shudder, because 1) this is gruesome, and 2) I am not sure how best to call out an 89-year-old woman on her racism. It is only partially comforting later when we discuss her daughter, the one in the civil air patrol. She flies helicopters over D.C., in part to protect the White House, but Dodo wonders whether it wouldn't be better if hostile aircraft were encouraged to attack Mr. Bush. "How did that man ever get in there?" she spews.


Later I walk to the ice cream store where all the punk kids used to work and find out that it's closing. They worked at the hardware store down the block, too, where they got to sell hammers to Ian MacKaye and brag about it the next day in school. The hardware store is now a less-than-Irish Irish pub, and the ice cream store, stage for adolescent dating dramas and underage shows alike, is soon to play its last mix tape over the stereo. It was no Olympia (the boys carried the amps while the girls reapplied lip gloss and there was way too much Weezer on those mix tapes) but it was ours, and it gave more than one punk I knew money enough for vinyl and guitar strings and a little independence. Where is the next generation of self-pitying, alienated fuck-ups and closet cases going to gather to discover London Calling and stare at their high-top Converse? The Pottery Barn?

Soon, that'll be all that's left.


Anonymous said...

it's 5am sunday june 11th. I cant sleep so I just start googleing things and end up here. Just wanted to say hi. :) Also I like how you wright, I wish I could do what you do, maybe someday. hope to see you in Arlington sometime.

ps. you can never have too much =w=eezer
on a mix tap.

Lizzie said...

Hello, thanks for the kind words. Are you from Arlington?

Anonymous said...

Yes. I went the high school with you, Im in a band called Maple.