Ray and I have a deal. I’ll do the vacuuming and dusting if he does the “better living through chemicals” thing.
I can’t stand household cleansers. Those scrubbing bubbles make my head throb–not in a good way. They look so cute and unassuming in the commercials but in reality, they’re about as creepy and sinister as a circus clown.
And don’t get me started on the “safe” stuff either. Simple Green? Simple Gag. I’d much rather stay on the other side of the room with my feather duster inhaling dead skin cells thank you very much.
We’re leaving for Lost Angeles today. My mother is recovering from her knee replacement surgery so I figured this would be a good time to see her. I’d flirted with the idea of going out for Thanksgiving and Christmas but after all the travel we’ve gone through these past few months, I just don’t have the energy or the desire.
It’s always a trip going home to the 1960’s planned community I grew up in. It’s one of those places where no matter who’s house you’re in, you always knew where the bathroom was. At least enough time has elapsed to where it’s not quite so cookie cutter anymore. Decades of landscaping has blessed the old ‘hood with its own distinctive personality. Families have come and gone leaving behind a trail of room additions, cobblestone driveways and Malibu lighting. The thing that really stands out is the ample parking. I lived in Chicago proper for ten years. You paid for a parking space.
My family moved to Shadow Oaks in 1970 when I was four. Our house was on a small street that had a clu-de-sac on both ends. Talk about a mind fuck. You had to drive into the middle of our street to get in…or get out.
My childhood experience was dull and colorless like a set of faded double prints. The only excitement was the yearly trip to Disneyland– which, I admit, is very exciting for a kid but it’s a whole different experience as an adult. Little did I know that I would grow up and become turned off by the giant corporate machine that is Disney sucking what money it can from one generation to the next by re-releasing the same “Classic Special Edition” movies over and over again. You’re going to have happy memories with Disney products. You’re also going to pay for them. Since we did not have much money, I relied on TV for my happy Disney memories every Sunday night. They were free because they were brought to you in part by Kraft.
So there I was growing up in suburbia unaware that it would later become the punchline of social opinion. (See Weeds–it’s on Showtime!)
My mom has a picture of me riding my bike in the Conejo Valley Days parade wearing my cub scout uniform. Maybe that’s why the memories seem faded. The only things I really remember are things that have an old photo associated with them.
My dad was the soccer and baseball coach. The end of season pool parties were always at our house. Everybody on our street knew each other and if Mrs. Abbondondola yelled at you it was just a valid as if it were your own mom.
I have ambivalent feelings about those years. It was safe and fairly normal. My parents didn’t divorce until I was in jr. high. That’s not so bad. It could have been worse. I could have been a little kid. My brothers and sisters were all fairly level headed. No one got pregnant or crashed the car. If anything, I was the black sheep getting expelled from school and doing other assorted things I don’t care to discuss anymore.
What really sucked was being the only adopted kid out of six and knowing at a very very young age that I was gay. That was scary to say the least. I was sandwiched in age between to alpha male brothers who along with their friends threw around the word faggot like they had Tourette’s. I lived in fear that if they found out why I was so fixated on the men’s underwear section in the Sears catalog they would find me defective and trade me in for a new kid.
Thankfully, those days are over and I am going back there as an adult where none of those scary things can get to me anymore. They’re all just memories that blur out more and more every year. Someday, I won’t be going back there at all. Some other family will move in and a new kid will have to fight his way up through the trenches of suburbia.