Chardonnay & Ring Pops & Willie Nelson
[Listen to an audio version of this blog HERE.]
I had half a glass of chardonnaynay and my head began feeling gooey, like a caramel candy left in a black car on a sunny day in a concrete city somewhere near the equator.
I stopped at a 7-11 earlier to buy some cheap gas and a ring pop, because I was feeling nostalgic and there is nothing quite like candy to take you back in time. People say that smells linger longer than memories, as do tastes, as does music. So, I found a Spotify station of old, old country music, the kind of country music full of twang and banjos and soul. The kind of country music that is a clear sort of genre, unlike the current pop-ish shit. The station featured John Prine and Hank Williams and Wynonna Judd and George Strait and Willie Nelson. I heard Willie Nelson still tours, even though he’s 87 now, and has smoked weed most his life. Shoot, most people don’t even live to be 87, much less tour across the country, waving the American flag and playing sold out stadiums to adoring fans. I’m convinced there is no one more American than Willie Nelson, what with his bandannas and cowboy hats and gravely man voice and songs like “On the Road Again.”
So I had a ring pop on my left ring finger and half a glass of chardonnaynay on my nightstand and old, old country music floating around my head like a cloud of perfume and I thought, this must be happiness. I think people try too hard to be happy sometimes, and probably get caught up in working and loving and buying things and hurting people and staying busy busy busy until one day they look up and they’re 87 and decrepit and eating prunes for breakfast and soup for dinner and wondering how the hell they became so damn old. “Time flies,” they say, or we just fail to notice it passing.
I had a boyfriend once who was adamantly opposed to country music. It’s become the in vouge attitude among young people. “What do you like to listen to?” I’ll say, and the answer is some version of “anything but country,” by which they more likely mean “Top 40 bullshit and maybe some EDM.” The old boyfriend hated country music because he said it was steeped in racism, but he was also one of those white dudes who claimed he didn’t have “privilege” because “his life was hard,” and “he worked for everything he had.” He was always a bigger talker than doer though, which may have been the crack that eventually splintered us apart.
“You’re more of a doer,” I say out loud, to myself, in my haze of chardonnaynay and strawberry ring pop and Willie Nelson and reminiscing. It’s funny too, how some people can age so gracefully while others are afraid of their own faces. There are people here, in Southern California, whose faces are at least half silicon and whose breasts are so large they really ought to tip over, and whose butts have been artificially enhanced beyond human recognition. The scariest part of the fakeness though, are the faces. The stretched-out skin and puffer-fish lips. The tight smiles and unnaturally arched, colored-in eyebrows. I’m mostly talking about women, but men have begun running away from their age too, injecting their brows and applying bronzer to their middle-aged necklines. It’s enough to take away one’s appetite, or at the very least, one’s hope for a better tomorrow.
“Hope for a better tomorrow” is one of those feel-good phrases politicians like to throw around during press conferences, in a sideways attempt to appease the general public while maintaining their crooked politicians ways. The sentiment that all politicians are corrupt is sort of like the sentiment that all cops are bad, or all teachers selfless, or all mothers loving. Over-generalizations bother me, which is why I would never say something like, “all country music sucks” or “all ring pops are delicious” or “all chardonnaynay is tasty,” or “everyone should like Willie Nelson.” If we could all just live and let live, we’d be eons happier, I’m sure of it.
That’s not human nature though—have you ever noticed how often humans’ bond over shared dislikes? Talking shit about people or places or things activates the dopamine reward circuit in our brains. Bitching and moaning is *literally* a goddamned drug. I realize this entire blog has been a series of unimportant ramblings, so I’ll tie up the ramble with a nice, checkered bow and say this: most people don’t care about what you do or don’t like, because most people are so wrapped up in themselves that they don’t even notice you. This realization makes it easier to be yourself, and yourself is all you should ever be.
My chardonnaynay is gone now, and as I read back through this ramble, I wondered if I should add some headers and bold letters and underlines, to really make it pop, like all the nitwits on Google say. Nobody will read the blog if there ins’t a takeaway! Or a bold letter! Or a point more cogent than “Be Yourself!” I’m not going to live forever though, and my ring pop is almost gone, and I’d rather write out my strange, half-drunk thoughts than try to build profundity out of nothing. The internet is awash in things that don’t really matter, so if you’ve made it this far, kudos to you for your patience and kindness and insane direct messages. Where on earth would I be without you? ❤️