Throughout 2022 I’ll be counting down my 100 favorite albums, because why not. I’m up to number ninety-two.
The year: 1994. The location: New York City. Manhattan, to be specific. My therapist, one of many subpar ones I’ve seen over the years, assigned me homework – go to a bar and say hi to someone. The thing is I’m shy, terribly shy back then, and sensing that my shyness was keeping me from fully enjoying my life and finding a romantic relationship, I sought therapy to figure out strategies and coping mechanisms. “Go to a bar and say hi to someone.” Essentially my therapist was telling a shy person to not be shy. “You’re shy? Your homework is to talk to a stranger.” “You’re sad because you’re favorite aunt died of cancer? Your homework is to cure cancer and reanimate your Aunt Dotty.” WT actual F? Anyway, never let it be said I’m not one to try, eating vegetables notwithstanding. I went to Uncle Charlie’s in Greenwich Village, solo. I sat on a stool, nursed a bottle of water (teetotaler here), and flipped through a free magazine that was on the bar. I read my horoscope. “Keep your eyes open this week for you may be presented with the opportunity to meet someone who knows how to play pinochle. While your heart is telling you one thing, your brain is telling you the opposite, which is one reason you’re such a mess. This may be a good time to launch a new business. Then again, maybe it isn’t. Your lucky number is yellow.” My memory of what it said may be a little fuzzy. Whatever. I don’t believe in astrology, no disrespect to those of you who buy into that horseshit.
While sitting alone at the bar reading and breaking into my discomfort zone a guy approached me and started chatting me up.
“Ooh, you’re reading your horoscopes. Let me guess your sign. I’m really good at it. Sagittarius?”
“Of course, you’re a Capricorn.”
“No. I’m a Scorpio.”
“That was my next guess! I swear! I’m an Aquarius. An aging Aquarius.” That’s kinda funny. He was also a very inebriated Aquarius, in whom I was not interested, as I don’t drink and the only reason shy alcohol-abstaining me was at a bar was because my therapist considered a bar a marvelous place for a sober introvert to meet someone. And I’m the one who needs help! Also, his sign is Aquarius, meaning he is stubborn, neglectful and negative, if you buy into that horseshit. Aquarians are also known to not seek help when they need it. That wasn’t true of Drunky P. Waterbearer. Like me, he was in therapy. Perhaps his therapist assigned him homework: Go to a bar, drink like a Pisces, and pester a lonelyheart. He told me he spoke to this therapist thrice weekly. Thrice! His therapist was based in Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills! He would call him for their sessions. Call! This was 1994. No Zoom meetings. No cell phones. Younger people don’t know this, but we actually paid extra for long distance calls back then. They cost around 20ȼ/minute. This tippler made three 50-minute long distance calls to his therapist each week. That’s $30 for a week of therapy calls, which is around $64 in 2022 numbers, plus the cost of the actual therapy. What did that say about him? He had lots of issues and lots of money.
Dr. Souse asked me out, despite my being aloof. “Will you go see Pret-A-Porter with me?,” he asked referring to the Robert Altman movie that changed its title to Ready To Wear sometime between that night and its release a week or so later.
“I already have plans to see that with someone else.”
“Will you see another movie with me?”
I didn’t want to be mean and say “Buzz off, boozehound.” I’m not a mean person. You can ask any of my friends who buy into zodiac horseshit. I’ve never mocked them to their faces. In retrospect I probably could have responded to him with something more delicate, more cordial, more kindly than I did, for at the time the nicest response I could think of on my feet to “Will you see another movie with me?” was “I already have plans to see every movie that will ever be made with other people,” which, if you think about it, is true.
He pouted for a second, then said “I still think you’re cute.”
At this time I’d like to publicly apologize to this man, for he didn’t deserve that response simply because he was being friendly and sociable and appreciated my outer beauty. It had nothing to do with him and everything to do with my own issues and being a Scorpio. If you’re reading this, Aquarian Altman fan, I sincerely hope you are happy and have things under control and I don’t begrudge you paying long distance rates to speak with your therapist because it’s so difficult to find a mental health professional who truly understands you and by you I mean the general you and not you in particular and with whom you jibe.
For the rest of you reading this, have any of you seen Pret-A-Porter/Ready To Wear? Is it good?
You know what movie is good? Hair. (Oooh, smooth segue, Glenn!) I’ve never seen the musical on stage, though I understand what the great director Milos Forman did is add a storyline to what was merely a loosely connected group of songs.
Those songs, though! Everyone knows “Aquarius.” And “Good Morning, Starshine.” And “Let the Sunshine In.” I’ve been known to sing “Where Do I Go” in the shower. I perform the title song at karaoke (sometimes the version by the Cowsills, which is missing the verse about going gaga at the gogo). Should you be at the gym on the next treadmill you may hear me chant “Hare Krishna” when I’m listening to the Hair soundtrack through my headphones. And yes, Los Angeles, that was me, cruising in my convertible Beamer, playing the Hair CD and belting out “Black boys are delicious.” Cheryl Barnes’ performance of “Easy To Be Hard” is stellar and “The Flesh Failures” brings me to tears EVERY SINGLE TIME. Listening to the entire album brings out of me a range of emotions more than any therapy session I’ve had. The original soundtrack of Hair is my #92 album.
There are more musicals to come on this list.
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