There was something oh-so appropriate about cruising the Cleveland, Ohio streets en route to Kevin Hoffman’s wedding reception in a rented silver PT Cruiser with Ghostface Killah’s Fishscale as our soundtrack – cue “L.L. Cool J drives a leased accord” reference from Might Magazine, circa. the late 1990s, no-one will get what I’m saying here but who cares – Bill driving with his girlfriend Jenny riding shotgun, Alecia and I in the back seat, Ol Dirty Bastard barking about the "Brooklyn Zoo" from somewhere beyond the grave. That scene – the whole weekend, for that matter – felt like a perfect intersection of past, present, and future. It takes a life-changing event like this for us old Washington College/Elm/Collegian/drinking buddies to be able to meet up or even really to be able to talk at length, and it ain’t cheap, and time off is hard to come by in the face of life’s relentlessness and harsh realities; it’s difficult to listen to and enjoy hip-hop when your spouse, who doesn’t share your love for some of what the genre has to offer, is sitting next to you, and when asked you can’t explain what’s uplifting or positive about a guy who is sort of glamorizing drug-dealing; it’s odd and false-feeling to hold forth on your present job and life when in a few months everything you’ve said will have been turned over by relocation and a baby. And these aren’t necessarily bad experiences, merely ones that underscore the fact that 1999 is many moons behind us and that the nature of friendship and of self is static, unfixed. I vividly remember Kevin’s sister, Kelly, as a silent, scowling, high-school age punker trailing her brother through the crowd at a Washington, D.C. Sonic Youth show we all attended in the fall of 1995; this past weekend she was a young woman in a nice dress who smiled and served as our usher at the Old Stone Church. Until we were getting ready to leave the reception, I’d never noticed hair on Kevin’s face – a concession to aging his genetics appeared to allow him to avoid – on Saturday, there were finally whiskers. And there he was – matched (finally!) with an uncompromising woman his equal, managing editor at Clevescene at age 29, elated that the deed was done, that all of the planning and fretting was over and done, glowing, sucking on a beer bottle and leaning against the open bar. I’d always known he was capable of taking over the world, and he’s now on the verge of doing just that. And I didn't know that Bill would ever get married back when we were all buying cases of Olde English 40-ouncers, and then at the reception he was babbling about whether or not New Year's Eve's a good time for a wedding.
Earlier in the day, Alecia and I had spent a couple hours at the fabled Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- an amazing place that one really needs an entire day to really appreciate -- and alongside the B-52s' and Duran Duran's and the Rolling Stones' old stage costumes, John Lennon's schoolboy doodlings and postcards and passports, Michael Jackson's sequined white glove encased in glass, and Jon Bon Jovi's motorcycle, among hundreds of other rock artifacts, was a display on grunge, which finally brought home how dead and buried the early 1990s are: Alice In Chains lyrics on notebook paper, a copy of the first issue of Subterranian Pop (which would blossom into the Sub Pop label), old out-of-print vinyl singles, all up on the walls, it's over and done and trivia for a new generation.
Later, as we spent a couple hours ripping on the cheese-horror of Anaconda (Eric Stoltz, Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight working the worst hispanic accent ever) in our beautiful-but-expensive hotel room with Jenny and Bill, I fought to keep up with the conversation and not think about the liklihood that it'd be years until we'd all be able to do something like this again.
All in all, a great weekend that flew by much too quickly. No time to use the weirdly shaped pool at the hotel, but that's no big deal; Cavs were in the playoffs so every other person was in a basketball jersey which was kind of creepy. Thanks to Bill for the burn of the new Tool record I haven't had time to listen to more than once, and for giving us an early ride back to the hotel when we needed to leave the reception.
Alecia can feel Malia kicking a lot more these days; my mom joked that we're got another soccer player on our hands. The pregnancy takes a lot out of Alecia -- it's increasingly difficult for her to bend over, to turn in bed, or to be active for long periods of time -- but she's in good spirits nonetheless. She's gonna be a great mom, and when she talks about Malia at home or while we're rummaging though baby sections in department stores (eventually all baby clothes look alike, don't they, and those racks upon racks of onesies and tiny shorts and shirts and jackets and such blend together into one overpriced forever of fabric that will only be worn once or twice, and then thinking about that you think about how people always say "they grow so fast!" and then it's like Malia's already been in the womb for five and a half months or so and before we know it she'll be out here with us) a glow comes over her and she's somehow a different person than she was before.
That new Fiery Furnaces record? Don't bother. Really.