Learning To Love You More




Assignment #42
List five events from 1984.

Maggie Golston
Arizona, USA



I spent much of 1984 thirteen years old. I started high school. I drank my first OE800. Et cetera. But here are 5 little stories from 1984.
I was bas-mitvah ed in 1984. This was no mystical or revelatory moment. There was a ton of poor-relation stuff (my bitchy richy cousins pooh-poohing its lack of 80s NYC opulence.) There was a lot of post-divorce gnarliness not being very well-hidden from me or my brother. But it was, truly, the first time I sang and people really listened. That was how I had marked my way through all that Hebrew School; it was about performance. And the crazy President of the temple s sisterhood, truly a piece of work with an apt name let s call her Miriam Feinberg hobbled up to present me with a kiddish cup or some other Judaica accessory. According to tradition, she got to rave for a minute before Adon Olam for each bar or bas mitzvah, ending with a prediction for what the youngster would end up doing with his/her life. She didn t say diy singer-songwriter or seldom-published poet. I think we may have a future cantor hee-yah.
In 1984 I commandeered my asshole father s sacred remote control for 24 whole hours to watch Live Aid. I think I set my alarm for 3 A.M. And I ruled that fucking house of horrors for the one and only time.
When fall came, back in New York, I discovered WLIR radio. I spent lots and lots of hours with my stereo from Crazy Eddie s listening to Gang of Four, Taking Heads, Smiths, every dark thought I ever had to swallow being spit out onto the airwaves. I discovered the now-lost joy of the hard-to-find new record, the import ep, the Peel Sessions. Needless to say, I smoked my first clove cigarette near the promenade in Brooklyn Heights. It burned.
In 1984 I had my one and only black boyfriend. He was a senior, I a freshman, His name was Marc and we went to a school dance and he was a little gentleman, nervous and complimentary. An okay kisser, too, though he was obviously too nice and good for me, or why else was I so bored that I wanted to smash my hand in a door?
By December of 1984, something had really broken inside me. I felt hideously ugly and self-aware all the time. Things at home were a trainwreck as usual. I rode the 2 train home from method acting class in the West Village every Sunday. I ad been frottaged by the usual suspects more than once, whatever, but there was this one Sunday with my sweater sagging from rain and revealing my breasts Nabakovianly. A Sunday when a boy who looked like James Dean sat across from me. When I say that he looked like JD, I mean that he was cultivating it. He even told me so when we were exiting the station at Clark Street, where he was home from college visiting his parents. Very WASPy scene. And I told him that I was 16 and a junior but that does NOT mean that what he did once he met up with me the next day was okay and I hope the motherfucker s dead.