Tonight I'm going home to Massachusetts for two weeks. Here are things I want do while I'm there:
1. Eat all the ice cream in New England. I'm not one of those bores who likes to whine about how "there are no seasons in Los Angeles," but I'll allow that there's something special about eating ice cream in Massachusetts that just can't happen in L.A. In winter it feels dreamy and reckless, and in summer it's "good as second childhood," to steal a line from Angela Carter. I want to go to Christina's in Cambridge, which is right down the street from my second Boston apartment, and get a cone of Banana Cinnamon or Coconut Butterfinger or Burnt Sugar. And then I want to go to the Scoopdeck in Maine and get a cone of either Graham Central Station ("graham cracker flavored ice cream w/ a graham cracker variegate & chocolate covered crisp candy") or of Twinkicake ("golden cake ice cream w/ marshmallow & cake pieces"). I also want to go to any halfway decent ice cream place in all of New England, and get a root beer float in a curvy Coca Cola glass:
And I want to go to Dairy Queen too - not so much for the ice cream, but for the ride out to the Dairy Queen. The nearest one to my family's house is ten miles out on Route 56, which is really creepy at night. You get to this one part and there's a big open field on either side and there's no streetlights, no anything, just the sky. One time I was riding out there with a boy and he told me to kill the headlights and I did and the whole world went black and I screamed and flicked the lights back on right away. It was scary and sweet.
I also remember the Dairy Queen parking lot as being dusty in a cool, romantic, Neil Young-y sort of way. Neil Young dust is the opposite of pixie dust, but still total magic.
2. Buy a pair of shoes at the Army Barracks on Martha's Vineyard. LJ and Jen and I are going to Martha's Vineyard together next week! It's so exciting. We've never all been in the same room before - Jen and I have never even met. I haven't been to Martha's Vineyard in a few years, but when I was a teenager one of my favorite things to do on the island was shop at the army/navy store on Circuit Ave. In ninth grade I bought a pair of used combat boots there. If I were still in ninth grade and kind of a hippie, maybe I'd do this with those boots:
But I'm actually way older than ninth grade and what I really want is a pair of lowtop white Converse All-Stars. I've got some idea that they'll make me look more like George Harrison.
3. Go to the drive-in. I saw Point Break at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Fourth of July Eve and obviously that was awesome, but outdoor movies could never really stack up against the drive-in: drinking wine and eating hummus on a blanket is just not even half as cool as being five-years-old and putting on your pajamas and getting in the car and going out for a night of candy and soda and a good double-feature. The movie plays out of the radio! That's so wild. One of the movies I most vividly remember going to see at the drive-in is Flashdance, so it's neat that I found this photo:
4. Go see the Lemonheads and Buffalo Tom. I mean, I'm going to see the Lemonheads and Buffalo Tom, on the Boston Common, on Saturday. The last time I saw the Lemonheads and Buffalo Tom together was in 1994, when I was 16. All I really remember about the actual show was getting my heart broken by "I'm Allowed" and thinking I was going to die when the Lemonheads first came on, because we were in the middle of the stupid pit and the boys were all being awful. It was the second of my five times seeing the Lemonheads and after the concert we drove back to this hot boy Paul's house and stood around his driveway for a long time. Ron's car was really dirty and we all made fun of him and then Dave wrote "KURT LIVES" on the trunk of the car, in the dirt, with his fingertip.
Let's listen to "Summer" by Buffalo Tom:
5. Not jump off a bridge. In Martha's Vineyard there's a bridge that I jumped off once when I was 17. It was absolutely an "Everyone else jumped off a bridge so I guess I will too" kind of situation, which is strange, since I'm generally not all that uncomfortable with going against the grain. Anyway, I hated it. I'm scared of heights and I remember falling and falling and thinking "How can I still be falling, how can it take this long to hit the water?" I don't remember hitting the water but somehow I feel like it hurt. The only cool thing was getting to say I did it, and I guess that still feels pretty cool. "I jumped off a bridge in Martha's Vineyard once" is a fun thing to say. It makes you sound rich and dangerous, and I am neither, but it's a good persona to embody for as long as it takes to speak that sentence.
6. Get caught in a thunderstorm. For book-writing/research purposes, I'm interested in having a thing where I'm way out deep in a lake and then a thunder-and-lightning storm starts and I'm kind of lazy about swimming back to shore. That probably won't actually happen, since I hardly ever swim in lakes, and plus I'd feel like such an asshole if I ever got electrocuted because I was being whimsical. But I hope I get to have a few good thunderstorms - along with the thing about the ice cream, the lack of summer thunderstorms is definitely one of the biggest drags about Los Angeles.
7. Hang out with these dudes. They look like they have good taste in music. This picture was taken by Marc St. Gil, who's taken so many other beautiful summery pictures I want to look at forever.
8. I want to eat a frozen Milky Way. I want to chip my tooth and burn my tongue on it. I want to hold each frozen-Milky Way piece in my mouth till it warms and melts and the caramel becomes goo again and makes my molars ache. I also want to eat a frozen chocolate-covered Oreo cookie, and a frozen hunk of mango.
9. I want to have lots of summer-specific Great Listens, or at least two or three or four of them. Once when I was 19 I drove down to Providence from home on a late-August night, to see a boy play a show at the Met Cafe. I'd never driven out of the state by myself before, and on the way there I listened to all of Butch by the Geraldine Fibbers. The album had just come out in July, and that night was absolutely the Great Listen that LJ described here. It's such a beauty of a record but I hardly ever listen to it anymore: it never sounds as good as that night, so I'd rather not hear it at all, which I recognize is a pretty extreme way to be. But if you're a sensitive teenager with kind of a nasty side, I'd totally recommend giving Butch a whirl this summer. One of the best songs is "Swim Back to Me," which has weird and dreamy lyrics like "Check out all the peaches waving from the shore." There's a cover of "You Doo Right" by Can, and if you play it in the right mood it'll make you feel immortal.
I made a Spotify playlist of what I think my summertime at home might feel like, partly because I want to go back later and see how right or wrong I was, and mostly because I like capturing moods/moments in a little cluster of songs. I named my mix Lemonade Donuts & Lemonade Nails in tribute to how, after I land in Boston tomorrow morning, I'm going to eat a Lemonade Donut from Dunkin Donuts and my nails will be painted sunny-yellow like lemonade. It's a good mix. It starts with Dinosaur Jr. and ends with Funkadelic and my fave song right now is a cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" by Giant Drag, which is a classic thunderstorm jam.
I didn't put "Dream Lover" by Big Star on there but on the red-eye home tonight I want to listen to "Dream Lover" somewhere over Kansas and I want there to be a thunderstorm and I want lightning to flash right after Alex goes Play it for me, guitarist in his beautiful stoned voice. I want so much of life to have the vibe of Alex Chilton stonedly saying Play it for me, guitarist just as lightning's about to flash. I don't sleep on planes but if I did "Dream Lover" would be the best song to fall asleep to, with lightning happening under you, flying all dazedly through the big black sky.