These days, I find myself longing for the serenity of being miles away from everyone surrounded by rolling hills, trees and critters. I miss the quiet but most of all, I pine for simplicity. The city gets so complicated and messy. It's funny how things change as you get old. To me, the city is like a relationship I would form in my early 20s. Month one; thrills wrapped in a blanket of lust and mood altering substances. Month two; the dreaded exes and jealousy rear their heads in a fury of lust and mood altering substances. Month three; broken hearts and heads in a fog of lust and mood altering substances.
However, the anticipation of that first encounter, the first glance, touch, caress, kiss, what have you, would keep me going for far longer than what would be the life span of the relationship. More often than not, the preoccupation of my object of desire would be a hell of a better time than the relationship itself. Healthier, too.
When I was a kid, I would sit on the fence looking towards the northwest corner of our fields to the property line and pretend I could see the very tip tops of the sleek skyscrapers of Columbus Ohio. Granted, Columbus is no New York City, but it is Gotham compared to the six stoplights I hailed from. The only thing in the world I wanted, was to be in the epicenter of the city. I wanted to be where the pulse originated. I wanted to be where the action was and I wasn't even 10 years old.
By the time we had moved to the bourgeois mecca of Landen, twenty miles north of Cincinnati, I was ready to chew my leg in half to free it from the trap of being an adolescent stuck at home with people telling me what to do. Factor in that school sucked being surrounded by a bunch of rednecks, assholes and twats; I was itching to bust out of that hell hole but was lacking the means and number of years of my life ticker to succeed. People frown upon 13 year olds living on their own, so the only choice I had was to be patient. I had run away a handful of times, only to be caught or to puss out before getting too far. I liked having some money and a place free of bed bugs and body lice to crash. Some more hardened and road worthy may deem me a poseur and all I can say is "oh well", if having credibility means sacrificing my health and good smelling armpits, then call me Green Day.
In order to satiate my wanderlust, I was forced to settle for hanging out places I could either walk to or places my Mom would agree to drive me to. Nothing more than 15 minutes and she hated driving on the interstate. Living 20 miles outside of the city center, my options were extremely limited; amusement park, shopping center, shopping malls and the indoor skatepark/ teen dance club, Club Soda. American Heavy Metal Weekends, indeed.
It is not to difficult to be punk rock where ever you go, for there you are....punk as fuck. We were punk as fuck hanging out, smoking cigarettes, at the local Kroger. We were punk as fuck, hanging out, smoking cigarettes and huffing rush, before riding The Beast at Kings Island. We were punk as fuck, smoking cigarettes and hanging out in front of the Music Town at the mall, coveting their only copy of Penis Envy by Crass. Everywhere we went was punk as fuck and smoking cigarettes. Just writing this fills me with crushing shame at the lethal levels of bershon that was clogging my veins in my teens.
Some days, lady luck would totally tongue kiss us and we would end up spending our Friday nights at the mighty Club Soda. Club Soda was an oasis for skate boarders and freaks stranded in the suburbs. It was an indoor skate park equipped with ramps, and all of that stuff that skateboarders like. Skateboarders had a legitimate and productive reason to be there. At night, the staff would clear the floor and someone with a sideways haircut would set up their DJ station in order to spin the songs of the angst ridden and misunderstood; Teenagers. It was far less productive than skateboarding and we would sway our hips to the throaty howls of Peter Murphy and the forlorn prose of Morrissey, without trying to look like we were enjoying ourselves or burning one another with our cigarettes.
One of the most intriguing beings to a teenage girl caught in the throes of rebellion, is the skateboarder. Their hair, their skills, their indifference. To me and my hormone infested friends, the sound of skateboard wheels on the pavement sent our pheromones into maximum overdrive and a billow of estrogen and Love's Baby Soft would fog up our entire perimeter. The crushes were hard and the disappointments that would ensue were Earth shattering. However, I still remember the rush of adrenalin that would practically paralyze me when I would catch a glimpse of their Overkill t-shirt and their Skulls and Dagger deck. I would try to play as aloof as humanly possible, only to have my stare give me away. Not that it mattered, these dudes were used to it and they could have hardly given a fuck. They were there to skate. I was there to stalk while acting like I didn't care, either.
Ah, youth is wasted on the young!
Club Soda was as sporadic as it was coveted. Running a skatepark is a lucrative as running a pineapple farm in Alaska, so the hours were never reliable and eventually, the lack of funds shut it down. However, it was a truly bitchin place while it was open. A lot of great skaters made their way through there, which was completely amazing at the time. However, I will always remember it as a place of refuge for those who were certain they were cooler than everyone else, yet, were not old enough to have a drivers license to get them to the way cooler places.
Here is some G&S footage featuring Club Soda around 5:09..... this guy just oozes asshole.... be still my beating, 13 year old, heart.