I know I promised the blog about how much I hate Oliver Stone tonight, but I got stuck in two and a half hours of traffic coming back from Baltimore, so you’re getting this one instead.
But it’s still wonderfully awkward and terrible to remember what I’m about to relate, so that’s got to be a win for the haters out there.
They do seem to thrive on unhappiness and difficulty after all. Anyway…
The Doors, being such an integral part of my young life, were also the source for some awkward memories.
My mother didn’t care for me putting up the text for Celebration of the Lizard on my bedroom door, because after reading its rather saucy text, she insisted that it was her house and she didn’t feel like reading things like that. My loud protestations of “But Mom, it’s poetry!” fell to deaf ears.
In retrospect, it was one of my stupider arguments. However, battle lines were being drawn at that point. The innocent little straight A student to which she’d been accustomed was changing into something weirder and harder to define. The worst part being, I still did well in school, so she didn’t have that as a bargaining chip.
I remember listening to Live at the Hollywood Bowl on tape with my dad in the car, and his horrified reaction as Morrison did a live poetry jam during Light My Fire wherein he said a girl “got drunk and balled the dead.” Dad didn’t like that all too much. I said that he meant she was arguing with the dead (presuming my father wouldn’t be bright enough to realize I was lying); my father then, red–faced and ashamed, made it very clear he understood what the text really meant.
Oops. (Side note: this sorrowful interaction happened on a sunny Saturday at the intersection of MD Rte 29 and Randolph Road).
However, this did not come close to the most awkward moment.
The Most Awkward Memory
My folks liked to take trips to Williamsburg, VA. It was where my mom wanted to retire, and what Mom wanted, Dad wanted too. So they got a little house down there and we would take trips. Or rather, they would take trips and I was forced to go along.
I didn’t mind so much, to be honest. We were in a very quiet part of the area and not many people were living or moving down there at the time. It was probably good to unplug their little wild child with his self–destructive streak and isolate him from troublesome situations.
Also, there was no television. I therefore learned to love reading.
But sometimes, my grandmother would come with us.
My grandmother was a complicated person. I know that on some level she loved me, and I felt a familial obligation to do the same. I certainly didn’t wish her ill, but there was a simple insurmountable gap that would be highlighted when I was forced to share a back seat with her on a four or five hour car trip.
And so my mother thought she would out–smart me and let me play one of those Doors tapes on the trip. At the time, I was fixated on Strange Days, which features the immortal classic People Are Strange. In a related note, at another time my mother sought to correct the core philosophy of the song to assure me that when you’re strange, people most assuredly remembered your name.
Anyway, my mother’s gambit was that faced with playing the music in front of my grandmother, her and my father, and being pressed to defend liking such weird music, I would finally fold.
The album progressed and got to Horse Latitudes, a bizarre piece even by fan standards.
Seeing her opportunity to contribute, my grandmother offered her opinion that it was a bad piece of music, made no sense and I didn’t need to listen to such garbage.
At this point, I turned and told my grandmother, rather rudely, to be quiet since she didn’t know what good music was to begin with. In the moment, it was a pretty bad feeling. Seeing my mother turn and register me with her eyes, that not only had this battle been lost for all involved but now she would lose face in front of her own mother as there was nothing for her to do but eject the tape and let me sulk.
My father fixed me with a rear-view mirror glare that assured me no more words were to come from me. I apologized to my grandmother, but I’m pretty sure she never really let go of that one.
So yeah, awkward. Happy now?