The classic Orb song Little Fluffy Clouds has resurfaced twice in my life lately. What makes it especially spooky is that it’s come to me from two totally unrelated quarters – my two closest male friends; my ‘adopted brother,’ here in the City, and my best friend, in New York City, who know each other only in a secondhand fashion, through me (poor bastards).
My best friend put the song on a CD he made for me for my recent SoCal road trip. It is a special memory between us, as I was working as an intern at its distribution label back in 1991 and it was one of the first acts I promoted, giving out copies of the CD like candy to my contemporaries at the time, including him. We were skinny and smooth and broke, happy to work together in menial jobs, making $5.50 an hour while singing along, ‘layering different sounds……when I lived in Arizona, the skies ran on forever……..’
It reminds us both of being so young and gorgeously reckless. We were deconstructing it recently and I said, ‘Doesn’t that remind you of being 20 and you’d go over to a friend’s house on a Sunday afternoon and they’d be all, hey I’ve got some E, you want some? And you’d be all, OK sure, and pop it like an aspirin, all, who cares if I have to work tomorrow? And now, you know, if you were going to take any kind of hallucinogenic, which you wouldn’t, because by now most of us have seen, you know, enough of the inside of our own heads, but let’s just say you were for the sake of argument, it’d be a goddamned two-week planning process. At least. You’d have to get everything all in order: your silky modal sheets, your favorite jammies, lotion, a couple gallons of water, 2 packs of cigarettes and a whole industrial strip of gum because you sure aren’t leaving the house and going into a store for anything, and 20 of the most perfect CDs, in fact you might have to burn some just for the occasion……….’ and so on. None of us can even be bothered with all that anymore. And we laughed, and said yeah, basking in the joy of understanding and mutual memory.
So then last week my ‘adopted brother’ sent me a YouTube link to the video, which I’d never seen.
“OMG!” I typed back in IM, “No way! I didn’t even know you knew that song! That song has total meaning in my history!”
He replied that it had deep meaning for him, as well as for nearly everyone he ever knew from Back In The Day. But it doesn’t mean anything to his girlfriend, and that makes him just a little bit sad. She is mad cool and all, not a dork or socially inept or anything, but she just wasn’t, you know, down like that. She can’t, though she may nobly try, get his references in that respect. She was too busy getting a degree, on schedule, and getting a good job, while the rest of us were pole dancing or rolling in the desert or winning Mr. Pan Dulce contests or whatever.
But eventually all of us got off the pole or out of the desert and got our shit together. We went to school (or not), got ‘professional’ jobs, made our way in the world in whatever fashion is working for us and became timely rent payers, tax filers, and general all-around responsible citizens – but with flava. And there’s the rub. My best friend and I have lamented long into the night about the elusive Holy Grail of Boyfriends – a man who is both equally well-seasoned, rich with life experience and sticky floors and long nights, and yet gets up on time and goes to work and balances his checkbook, uses big words and buys decent bed linens and doesn’t get busted for driving drunk or selling pills or not paying child support or have a whole bunch of court dates on his dance card – a man more like, well – us.
Hot, sweet, charming, and problem-addled boys are easy to find and easier to enjoy – until Monday morning, when they’re sleeping off the weekend while you force yourself out of bed to make coffee and get your downtown game face on. Or until Thursday night, when you come home after a hard day at work dealing with The Man and he’s sitting around in his shorts illegally downloading music onto your laptop and smoking cigarettes in your living room, and dinner isn’t on the table and the dishes are piled up in the sink. And that just won’t do.
And then there’s Mr. Milquetoast, Mr. Good on Paper. He’s easy to find, too. He’s passably attractive, if not smolderingly alluring, and he does all those responsible things that you do and you appreciate in a partner, but he doesn’t get Little Fluffy Clouds or comedowns, tales of skinned knees and dollar bills and playa dust. He may not judge you, but he doesn’t get you, and he usually doesn’t have very good taste in shoes, and that just won’t do, either.
It’s not as simple as Nice Guy/Bad Boy. Would that it were. Where is the hybrid, the blend, the guy who is just like me and like my best friend, who pays the rent but wears cool kicks and gets it? Where, I ask you, is the love?