Spencer and Krista had their goodbye last-Pharmacy Bar hurrah tonight, and we drank PBRs in a typical fashion. Spencer said to me at one point that it’s mostly hard because Clark is the person who he wants to talk about Clark dying with. He’s the one he would’ve gone to for comfort and advice. I felt the same when I went on the motorcycle for the first time a few weeks ago — there is no one I want to tell about this more than C. He would have been so proud of me, thought it was so cool that I did that for the first time.
Archive for July, 2009
What a man drives shouldn’t be his defining factor, but if a dude’s car is, say, a newer Volkswagon Beetle, or a yellow Corvette, one can automatically revoke any potential bone-worthy status. Clark’s (soon-to-be-my) car is a maroon 199 … 8(?) Subaru station wagon typically marketed to lesbians in Seattle.
After our second night together, Clark didn’t want me to leave, but needed to do laundry in the basement of his subletted apartment. We walked out to the car to get the things he had recently purchased at the thrift store to add to the load.
“It’s the MOONWAGON!” He was unapologetic about owning it. I would even say he was proud to introduce me to her. It zooms through the sky, flies through space, etc. Jokes of this sort were made. Eventually I took to singing “Moooooonwaaaaaaagon, wider than a mile,” a la Morrissey. Of course, the Moonwagon only had a tape player.
We did laundry, and I helped him empty his pockets of change, guitar picks and foam earplugs. A few days later, I went for my first ride through the galaxy, listening to Prince’s “1999,” which he also bought at the thrift store (for $1). I remember us driving with the windows down after last call, screaming “A U T O MATIC / TELL ME WHAT TO DO / A U T O MATIC / SO IN LOVE WITH YOU.” Then we tried to find all the not-so-subtle references to having sex. Who knew that “Little Red Corvette” is sometimes thought to be code for a woman’s clitoris?
When I finally aquire Moonie, I think I’ll fork over the exhorbitant D.C. price of a vanity plate to get MOONWGN so everyone on the road knows what they’re dealing with here.
After Elliott Smith killed himself in 2003, I thought, is there anyone whose music I will love as much as his consistently for the rest of my life? Granted, at age 14 I dreamed of getting a Dave Matthews Band ink stain, the horror of which is magnified by actually Google Image-searching “DMB tattoo” and seeing millions of fire dancers in smalls of backs. But when Elliott died, I was set, and got the XO.
The XO was the easiest and most obvious thing I could’ve gotten, though I’ve seen some amazing ones since (a design borne from the “Figure 8″ cover, replicas of Elliott’s “Ferdinand the Bull” design). It’s also caused me some trouble. Visible in low-cut tops and tank tops, it’s caused many an unaware older man to ask me, “Is that a kiss and a hug?” and many a frat boy to wonder if I was in “Chi O.” Because really, do I look like I’m in Chi O? The best instance was one night at the Cat when some malnourished boy with hair in his face asked, “Is that an Elliott Smith tattoo?” “Well, yes, yes it is.” “Whoa, well, that’s so weird because my band is working on a cover of, um, ‘Needle in the Hay’?” Like, do you know that one? Yes, I remember that one well. Also, Richie Tenenbaum attempted suicide to that song, and in my current state, I’m right there with him.
When I met Clark, he had to sigh at my devotion to Elliott. “He stabbed himself in the fucking heart!” “He was a drug addict!” He thought it was bullshit, and that someone who got as famous as he did playing music could kill himself, well. Clark had no tolerance for that.
My friend sent me this eulogy the other day. The woman talks about her brother, Thor, in three parts, and then at the end reveals one of those pieces of information that, in retrospect, breaks your fucking heart to the point where you don’t want to tell anybody else. You want to spare everyone else that realization of the irony. Because what they said can only apply now that they’re gone.
The last time she saw her brother was when she dropped him off at Dulles for a plane to Kabul, and he handed her this note, which she only read after he died: “Hi Maren: Here’s a quick letter, just in case — Oh Gruesome Thought! — I get blown up or something else bad happens and I AM DEAD. 1. Have a party. Invite my friends. Give away my books. 2. Thanks for being a great sister. You’re the best. 3. David and Oliva: Thank you thank you thank you. Such a great niece and nephew! Lucky me! 4. Dad, Bernard, Michael J, everyone: thanks very much! Such a nice life! So much fun!”
At first things like this, things people who are now gone said about their death before they left, squeeze your heart in a press.
“How can I compete with that?!” Clark said one time before he got sick, exasperated. “He fucking stabbed himself in the HEART. What do I have to do for you to get a tattoo about me!?”
I remembered this right after he died. So what else is there to do but get Clark’s tree on my back next week, right under the XO he loved to hate?