L

A Touch Too Much

In The 80's on June 3, 2012 at 1:43 am

‘Is my tray in its upright position? Am I?’

Tragedy struck the following Tuesday, and its effects were felt from the Night Raven to the Pines- all the way out to the Agora and  beyond. Bon Scott, the gritty, gravely voiced singer from the vertically challenged but extremely hard rocking band AC/DC was dead. Cause of death: Acute Alcohol Poisoning. The news spread through the  phone lines, multiplying like a Faberge Organics (Herbal Essence?) commercial. I told a friend, who told another friend,who told another and on and on. The grid grew by tens, probably to 40!

During the infancy of our heavy metal ‘scene’, this was big news.  News that was tragic yet exciting. We were both grief stricken and weirdly energized. There was lots of ‘when it’s your time it’s your time’ talk, with all of us glossing right over the excessive alcohol consumption that killed him. We all agreed that this (alcohol overdose) was something that could just sneak up on you- it’s not like there was some alarm that went off when you’d had enough, right?  (the stumbling, weaving, puking, fighting and memory loss not obvious enough) Not once did any one of us express an interest in ‘slowing down’ or partying less. No way! In fact, if we could die on any day at any moment, we felt it was time to kick it up a notch. And so we did. It’s hard to say how many shots and drinks were consumed after a toast to Bon Scott. Clink Clink. Cheers! And the word ‘irony’ never once crossed our minds. Even to the those of us who actually knew what it meant.

Bon Scott: Quite the shirtless ladies man!

Perhaps what made Bon Scott’s death seem ‘cool’ (to a bunch of barely adults who still felt as immortal as ever, rounding the bases at 18, 20 or 22) was that although the reason for his demise was drinking to the point of alcohol poisoning-the official reason was listed as ‘Death By Misadventure’.  This made it sound risky and- dare I say it? Fun! It was dark, yes- but also very rock and roll. It ensured that Bon Scott would never grow old, never burn out, never find religion or go to rehab, renounce his wild lifestyle, or marry a famous actress and start hanging out with rich people. He would never do these, or any of the myriad of things that rockstars did to get on our nerves. He would remain our eternal bad boy. His dirty deed would stay dirt cheap. And all it cost him was an early death.

Jess and I began perusing the papers and club hotline numbers for the inevitable AC/DC tribute bands that would be barrelling down the pike. Meanwhile, like rock and roll ambassadors, we spread the news to all of the crevices  it hadn’t yet reached. The clerk at Cumberland Farms, where we bought our Newports, Kools, and Michelobs? He found out from us. As did Jess’s vocal coach and my  entire ‘Feel The Burn’ Aerobics Class at the Figure Forum. God knows how many they then told! It was assumed that everyone cared. (Most people had no idea what or who we were talking about)

The loss also inspired many ‘philosophical conversations between me and Jess. For instance, we wondered if a person who was passed out drunk would even know that they died. If they were dreaming, and then crossed over how would they be able to tell the difference between the dream, and the crossing over? Wouldn’t it just seem like the dream was continuing? Listen: at least Finn’s deep probing philosophies were inspired by half a joint! I had no excuse. (It shocks me now that we were just assuming there was an afterlife! Why weren’t we arguing about that?!) We talked about how cool it was that Bon would exist forever on records, his voice saved for eternity, that he found a way to leave a permanent piece of himself behind. Someone should actively recommend us to the Algonquin Round Table. Surely an invitation to join would be forthcoming if were overheard by the right people.

‘It’s all fun and games until someone dies!’ Bon Scott’s autographs weren’t always uplifting…

Even Adrian called me at the end of the week, to get my ‘take’ on the loss. He acted like we had just lost a close, personal friend. He spoke as if we were still in cahoots, like he hadn’t cheated on me! I was immediately suspicious. I mean- yes I was bummed that a kick-ass lead singer had succumbed, but it’s not like it was Led Zeppelin or even Van Halen, no offense. AC/DC was good, but I hadn’t actually shed any real tears, as is usually the case with famous people who you admire but don’t actually know. Yet Adrian asked ‘how I was holding up’. Not only was it an odd question- but I got the distinct impression he was asking me about something that had nothing to do with a dead rock singer.

“Umm, I’m fine!” I said,quickly adding: “It’s not like I was invited to the funeral or anything!”

“Yeah, but I know how you liked them!” Adrian replied, oblivious to my wise crack “Always cranking that stereo of yours!” 

“Adrian! What do you really want? Why are you calling me?” I asked, cutting to the chase. Like I was the one with a loud stereo. His once cracked a window with his!

“Well!” he said, indignantly. And after a short silence, “I was just checking to see how you were! Is that okay?” He laughed uncomfortably.

“How’s your new girlfriend?” I asked, daring him to hang up and end the misery.

“I dunno” he said…..”Because I kind of miss you”

Oh brother! They must have gotten into a fight or something. I forced myself to think of all the shitty things he’d done to me less than six months ago: the lying, the cheating, the general deception. I thought of what Melody had told me at Rob’s party. But a part of me- besides being flattered (oh, look! I really am irreplaceable!) was also thinking that if I could get back with him, that I’d ‘win’ in some twisted head games kind of way. It would change the story that had already been written-that Adrian cheated on and dumped me, and gave it a better ending-one where Adrian came back to me after all, where maybe I could dump him at some point. I would save face after all! (Am I embarrassed to be copping to all of this? Of course. Wouldn’t you be?) Did I still love Adrian? Nah, he was pretty tiny in my rearview by now. However it was a potential friends-with-benefits situation, and Adrian was always generous and romantic- heavy on the gifts and out-to-dinner dates, especially in the ‘win her over’ phase. (For which I now qualified -kind of like re-registering after a certain amount of time as a ‘new customer’)  More importantly- he was a cute musician and lots of girls liked him. And  I really didn’t have anything else going on. (My last crush had been Christian, and I hadn’t seen him since he’d been sprung!) My reappearance in Adrian’s life would also be a symbolic Bronx Cheer to the floozy he had been dating  and I wouldn’t mind slapping some karma back her way, just for sport. I could still see the condescending look she gave me at the Night Raven on ‘footsy’ night. I sometimes hold grudges. I’m not gonna lie.

Not necessarily? Right?

“Oh, really?” I asked, trying to hide the smile in my voice.

“Let’s go out. To a movie or something!” he said, seizing the moment.

“Like what movie? And when?” I asked, trying to act uninterested, even though my responses proved otherwise.

“They’re playing ‘The Warriors’ at SoNo. I know how you liked that-“

“They ARE?!” I burst, “I LOVE that movie!” The theater in South Norwalk played cult and independent films and movies that were in the regular  theater last year, but were now showing at a deep discount. (Remember kiddies, we had no Netflix, you spoiled little things) When the Warriors first came out, I had to go with JJ because Adrian ‘had to practice’.

We had to go LEAVE THE HOUSE to see movies, kids!

“Let’s go tomorrow night then” he says.

“Maybe…” I say “I’ll think about it. Call me at 7:00 and we’ll see” 

“Oh, come on! Just say yes!” Adrian laughs.

“No!” I say firmly “I’ll tell you tomorrow night. And if that’s not okay- oh freakin’ well!”

Adrian sighs, but reluctantly agrees. Sure, I might decide not to go, but we both know I probably won’t. We can’t bring Bon Scott back to life, but with his death as an excuse to break the ice, we might just breathe new life into what was once a hot and heavy romance. Though this is highly- and I mean HIGHLY doubtful!

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