Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How I Got To Be So Weird. At Least, Partially.

Do you ever have those moments where you realize just how fucked up your childhood was? I'm experiencing one currently. Ashera posted on Facebook that there's a Pulp Fiction Soundtrack Pandora station and I freeeeaked outtttttt. I am not a Tarantino nerd; hardly. I think a lot of his movies are overwrought and, especially lately, totally over-the-top and they leave me unsatisfied and just pissed off. But. BUT. Pulp Fiction. Oh my god.

My sisters are both considerably older than me: one is eight years older; the other, five. As such, my oldest sister and I didn't know each other much growing up. But, my other sister, she and I were close. We did nearly everything together, especially in those early years. My father was a completely irresponsible parental figure for most of my childhood (my parents separated when I was 6), and later on, attempted to be a strict Catholic hardass, which failed spectacularly. You can't let your kids do whatever they want for their whole lives then decide when they are, say, 12 and 17, to become a judgmental dickbag. You can't let your youngest daughter watch South Park from the age of 7 onward (the unedited seasons you rented at Blockbuster as a family on VHS), and then turn off Pleasantville because it's "too graphic" about sex. Bitch, please.

Anyway, my dad took my sister to see Pulp Fiction when it came out in theaters. She was 12, so I was 7ish. My sister loved the movie. She immediately told me so much about it. We had the soundtrack and listened to it constantly. When it came out on video, I was allowed to watch one scene: the Jack Rabbit Slims Twist Contest. She and I acted it out CONSTANTLY. We already lived a life of constant dance parties. I came home to my mom vacuuming and blaring Talking Heads on vinyl an incalculable amount of times. But, post-Pulp Fiction, we danced with that scene on in the background, memorizing every little move they made. My sister was always Vincent Vega; I was always Mia Wallace.

I memorized all the lines on that soundtrack. ("Pigs are filthy animals. I don't eat filthy animals." "Yeah but bacon tastes good, pork chops taste good." "Well, sewer rat might taste like pumpkin pie, but I'll never know, 'cause I'll never eat the filthy motherfucker.") My mom is a huge surf guitar nut, so I already knew and appreciated The Ventures and that ilk. My sister and I made up our own line dance of sorts to "Jungle Boogie." Yes, I still know how to do it to this day, 20 years later. When Batman and Robin came out a few years later, I was already obsessed with the movie because, well, I already had a Batman obsession; BUT. UMA. She was Poison Ivy. My little life was made. She was one of my earliest lady crushes. Uma Thurman and Kate Winslet. I have pretty good taste in women.


I don't remember the first time I saw the movie in its entirety, but it wasn't many years later. I FREAKED. OUT. when I saw the whole Vincent-Mia scene, that much I do remember. That needle, man. And I was so upset about what happens to Vincent.

I used to take the soundtrack up to my room and play it on my little boombox and dance around the room by myself, when my sister was in her later teens and we didn't hang out as much. I sang "Son of a Preacher Man" at the top of my lungs, somehow convinced that song would come true for my life. Maybe that's why I had a brief affair with organized religion in my teens?

My uncle moved to Santa Cruz around the same time (where I now live). If you remember, when Vincent and Jules need new clothing, Vincent winds up in a UC Santa Cruz banana slugs shirt. My uncle sent us those exact shirts, and we were SO EXCITED to wear them. In my teens, it was my shirt for gym class. My sister got a hoodie version that I accidentally lost at church. She was so pissed. After I moved out here, I sent a care package of that exact hoodie, plus shirts for her husband and kids, to make up for that loss. I still haven't replaced my own shirt. One of these days I'll get my own UCSC shirt/sweatshirt again.

We will be there in 10.  Vincent Vega & Jules Winnfield:

When my sister and I went to Disney World together, just us, when I was 16, we ate at a restaurant where we got to sit in a classic car, "just like John and Uma!" We had expensive milkshakes and burgers, obviously. I remember going to Hawaii with my mom and stepdad a few years ago, and reading a Vanity Fair that had an oral history of Pulp Fiction while on the cliffs/beach overlooking the ocean. My ex and I watched it one Christmas at his parents house with his siblings. Best Christmas movie. When my sister got married, she and my dad did the Jack Rabbit Slims dance as their father-daughter dance. Seriously.

But I mean....this isn't normal. It's not normal for a seven year old girl to be obsessed with Pulp Fiction. I was also obsessed with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which I saw around the same time. I'm still obsessed. I wrote my English Master's Thesis on the goddamn movie. And it's when I stop to think about this kind of thing that I think, "holy shit. I am really, incredibly weird."

I haven't seen a lot of Disney movies. I've never seen Mulan. Or The Emperor's New Groove. Or Atlantis. Or a lot of others. You know what I was watching? Pulp Fiction. Rocky Horror. Hairspray. Cry-Baby. Empire Records. Labyrinth. The Breakfast Club. Pretty in Pink. Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. Death Becomes Her. Clue. Clueless. Welcome to the Dollhouse.

Also, in full disclosure, my sister and I used to also act out the following scenes:

"King Cry-Baby," from Cry-Baby. She was Cry-Baby, I was Allison. (We were both Hatchet Face.) I still cannot watch this movie without acting it out, and former roommates and boyfriends alike can confirm this. (I also had this soundtrack and listened to it constantly.)

"Madison Time," from Hairspray. Along with most of the rest of the movie. I have always wanted to be Tracy Turnblad. In fact, when I met John Waters last year, my sister texted me, "Good luck, Tracy!" YES I MET JOHN WATERS. WE HAVE A PICTURE TOGETHER. HE SIGNED TWO BOOKS FOR ME. BOW DOWN, BITCHES.

"If You Want Blood," in Empire Records. She was Lucas, I was AJ, and my childhood best friend was usually Warren. (Stop calling me Warren!) Also, of course, everything to do with Rex Manning.

And, of course, best friend and I did this together for a talent show at our summer daycamp when we were 8 years old. She was Riff-Raff, I was Magenta. I will always be Magenta.

I told my editor at Dirge recently that, I look all sweet and innocent, but in reality I am a disgusting monster. I am a weird, dark, awkward child at heart. I can be very sweet and fluffy and a pretty rainbow unicorn. I can also be black lipstick and a sneer, fishnets and leather. And it's hard, because everyone expects you to always be one certain way all the time. Well, if you're a dark person, you should always be in dark lipstick and never smile. But, if you're a happy person, you should always be smiling and wearing pastels. (No not true fuck pastels.)

(Morticia FOREVER.)

It's rough to feel so dichotomous, but I understand that that's inherently who I am. I am a solid foundation of Nicole, with tenuous little arms that flail in all sorts of directions, trying to understand what is going on in the world and how to relate to everyone and everything else. Some days that means I look sweet and innocent; some days I look like a sex machine; some days I look like I will murder you with my eyes, and I am probably trying to do so. And that's alright. The freedom to express all these sides of my personality are all that I'm trying to do with myself and my life at this point in time. That's not so much to ask, right?

No comments:

Post a Comment