Friday, July 27, 2007

East Meets West

You know the saying “a picture’s worth a thousand words”? Well, this picture is the entirety of my first novel. Let me tell you a little bit about it....

It’s entitled “East Meets West” and it was painted by my ex-boyfriend Brett as we road tripped across the country, low these many 8 years ago. He painted it in addition to shooting a video (the DVD of which I’m watching as I type) to chronicle our trip.

Being a naturally creative soul myself, I also opted to commemorate the experience in the less formal format of assorted scars and the occasional flashback.

In the upper left hand corner you’ll see the faint outline of the New York City skyline. This was painted when Brett first came to New York, a week before my high school graduation. He had never been to the city before, and spent his days in Manhattan while I finished up classes.

My family, perennially understanding folks that they are, dealt very well with the 30 year old stoner artist house guest. My mother met Brett.... baked brownies and openly wept, while my father mumbled something rather noncommittal about pressing statutory rape charges under his breath and retired to the basement to polish his gun, and Big Big said, and I quote “You are the most disgusting person on earth.” Although she failed to qualify whether it was directed at me, Brett, or both of us as a unified group.

Towards the right on the bottom, you’ll notice a small creak in a wooded area. This was stop one on our cross country adventure. We left the night of my senior prom, which I opted out of attending. We went to Pennsylvania, where Bretts neighbors Brady and Jessica were visiting family and celebrating Brady’s 21st birthday (which I thought was, like, just about when women went through menopause). While my classmates danced the night away to Mambo Number 5, I got hammered in some bar in small town Pennsylvania white some drunken blonde told me how much she wanted to make out with me before vomiting on my platforms.

Just above that is stop number two. The white dome structure that kind of looks like the capital building? Thats the town hall in No-teeth-marry-your-cousin, Alabama, home to Bretts father. Knowing Brett I assumed his father would be... well, Timothy Leary, pretty much, and his mom would be an alien. Amazingly, his dad was actually one of these salt-of-the-earth Steinbeck novel types. He seemed just as baffled by Brett as I was, although he fact that he was dating a 17 year old was pretty much par for the course in that part of town. We stayed there for a few days. Brett spent his days in the town painting, while I lay in bed, curled in the fetal position, wondering why no one had prevented me from doing this.

Incidentally, I should mention that when I left home, my “friends” at school placed bets on what the headline of the Post would read after I was found dead. The smart money was on “Lunatic Left For Dead off I-95, Parents Opt To Wait For Law and Order Episode Based on Incident Before Experiencing Emotion”. I was going to bet on that too, but I was informed that I could get 40 to 1 odds if I bet on my actually surviving to see California. Upon my return to New York, I collected my prize money... and used it to buy body glitter.

Moving right along to stop number three... in the upper right hand corner you can see the fountain in the French Quarter of New Orleans. New Orleans was awesome. They were apparently unaware that the legal drinking age was 21, and mistakenly seemed to believe that having boobs was a n acceptable substitute for a state issued ID. This made me extremely happy since the thrill of running away had started to wane and the crushing reality of moving to a strange place where I knew no one at a time in my life where I had JUST learned how to do laundry was beginning to sink in. In addition to this, on the ride into New Orleans, Brett had felt it was an ideal time to mention to me his marriage. Needless to say, the access to bars could not have been more welcome.

There is no part of the painting which correlates to the evening we get really really stoned in the car, then Brett passed out and I drove all night through Texas, taunted by the gigantic billboards warning me that I would spend my entire life in prison if I was caught with so much as a joint in the great state of Texas (we, of course, didn’t have a joint... but rather a dead babies worth of hash, a giant ziploc bag full of mushrooms, a few handles of Vodka.... oh, and I only had a junior license so technically I shouldn’t have been driving after 9:00).

That giant blob of paint that kind of looks like the final shot in the “this is your brain on drugs” ads from the eighties is stop four, the Grand Canyon. which part of the Grand Canyon looks like splattered brains, you ask? All of it... when you’re strung out on mushrooms. I was fully prepared for the Grand Canyon stop. I was dressed in an evening own with a print of the Grand Canyon on it. I wasn’t, however, prepared for the massive quantity of drugs Brett fed me. While he painted this segment, I tried to disprove what I felt was a totally unfair assumption that I couldn’t gracefully float to the canyon floor on a beam on sunshine.

Finally, at the top right corner, you’ll see the California sun. Brett and I were equally amazed to have made it all the way out to LA with killing each other or ourselves, and I was thrilled at the prospect of the death bet money awaiting me back in New York. It was quite the adventure.... it wasn’t for another two months that Brett and I moved in together... and a good three months before I found him naked in my clean laundry... but that's a story for another time.