A funnel thought cloud has been brewing in my brain. A thought that’s made me feel something I should have felt at fourteen. A sprinkling of insecurity, a dash of jealousy, and a whole lotta not feeling like I fit in.
Austin is cool. It’s too cool.
Now, I’m cool too. I’ve been cool because I’ve lived in not cool places (cool being extremely relative to begin with). I was the odd ball who wore horn-rimmed glasses, suspenders, and wigs and listened to David Bowie records in high school in Upstate New York. I was the girl in college who made a Frank Zappa mask for her Religion course and put quotes from “Kids in the Hall” on her dorm door. In L.A. I was the girl who, well, didn’t have fake breasts, a perpetual tan, or go to clubs.
But here in Austin, well shit, they all wear fucking horn-rimmed glasses and suspenders and love David Byrne and Frank Zappa and have perfectly pale skin and twig limbs and thick bangs and expensive bicycles and flannel shirts and witty counter-part significant others…and FUCK! I just don’t feel like I’m the cool, odd girl anymore. What a terrible, terrible feeling.
Last week, my incredibly awesome and well-coiffed friend Patrick and I co-hosted a STOP MAKING SENSE screening/dance party. We discovered that we both mutually love Talking Heads and wanted to share that love with others. After lack of communication on who was going to bring the movie (my DVD is in L.A., Patrick doesn’t own it), we had to do an emergency trip to I Luv Video on Guadalupe.
Now I had only read about I Luv Video. It’s the sort of place that Kevin Smith would write movies about. I was warned that there is absolutely no way to impress the clerks. No matter how vast your film knowledge may be, they don’t give a shit. On the way to the store, we joked that STOP MAKING SENSE wouldn’t be at the store because there was a good chance other hipsters were hosting a STOP MAKING SENSE screening/dance party that night too. We get to the place and low and be hold, all the clerks were wearing horn-rimmed glasses.
I look for the movie in the”Music” section while Patrick looks in the “Jonathan Demme” section. Of course it was in the Jonathan Demme section! How could I be so silly? While I continued scavenging the music section for other interesting movies, I noticed the DVD for the doc TV PARTY which I saw at the Tribeca Film Festival three years ago. Not only is the movie about a little known cable access show from the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 70’s starring Glenn O’Brien, Deborah Harry, Chris Stein and often showcasing their friends The Ramones, Talking Heads, Charles Rocket, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Klaus Nomi, but I was at the premiere and got to see Fab Five Freddy, Deborah Harry and Chris Stein perform, and talk to Charles Rocket. If this didn’t impress the clerks, what could!? I causally mention all this to Patrick as he pays for the movie. I look up. No reaction. So, then I nonchalantly mention the tragic story of how Charles Rocket slit his own throat not long after the movie premiered (do me a favor and click on the link for Charles Rocket. he was a very talented and interesting man who deserves to be remembered.). NOTHING! They’re like fucking robots! Nothing can get past their cool, smileless, horn-rimmed exterior! I left upset and confused. Where did I move to? One giant town full of NYU rejects?
That night after I Luv Video and after the party, I lied in bed feeling really uncool. My endless knowledge of pop culture means nothing here. My six pairs of non-prescription glasses impress no one. My love for David Byrne, David Bowie, and Danny Elfman falls in line with the countless others who have really awesome music taste in this town.
And the worst part about this all, is that all these people like me, who came from small towns and got made fun of for wearing bowler hats in high school, look really really good in pencil pants and I don’t.
I need to move back to L.A. where being the weird one meant something.
(Seth made a good point that L.A. is weird too, but in a wonderfully unself-aware way. Is that a word?)