Sunday, October 16, 2005

Neon = Happy

I like neon signs - I've had a fascination with them since I was a little kid. In the 80s, I really loved the movies and the ads where the hipster loner single guy, perpetually clad in Levis and Raybans Wayfarers, lived in a minimalist apartment - dark rooms, nice stereo, and a neon sign on the wall in one lightly furnished room. I wanted that look.

Of course, I wasn't a single hipster guy in the 80s. Heck, I wasn't a single hipster girl in the 80s. I was just Single Lumpy Girl with Really Short Hair in the 80s. Now I am just Single Lumpy Woman with Longer Hair. But I still love neon signs.

I've been pretty down lately. It goes well beyond the "no work" thing. It's more the "no life" thing. I am genuinely happy for my friends who have found love and success. I really am. But is it selfish to want some of both for myself? Or even a little of one? (Frankly, I'd take the love over the job any day, but love won't pay the rent. Unless you're a hooker... and I'm derailing my train of thought.)

Is it really selfish? Maybe so. But I do so want it for myself. And it kills me a little to keep smiling for my friends while my own life is vanishing. I smile over the phone. I smile in person. And then I go home and sit quietly in my shadow life. I've discovered I get nasty headaches now whenever I cry. I try to keep a bottle of water and some aspirin with me at all times, just in case. It's nothing I want to talk to my family about, and my friends are, well, they're happy, contented, you name it. And who the hell wants to be Eeyore or the Charlie-in-the-Box, pissing in everyone's cornflakes? The easiest thing to do is not talk to anyone. That's what the blog is for.

So, lame and pathetic and self-indulgent as it seems, I'm hurting right now. And I can't express it properly to my friends without appearing weak or jealous or envious (and I am all those things, although I'd give my last dime and what's left of my pride to get a big, bonecrushing hug tonight.) And I can't sleep. And so, I'm looking for things to cheer me up.

Sleep not being on the menu, I decided to go out tonight and take a few pictures of suburban neon. Remember, I'm a crappy photographer, so these ain't exactly Scavullo. Enjoy.

Actually, not-so-fine Mexican food, but a great sign.

Kabobi! Sounds so friendly.
Smells great from the outside, but I've never tried their food.

I am the anti-Hooters girl, you know. It's not that I have anything against Hooters.
I just simply am the polar opposite of a Hooters girl.

These are the bastards who ruined every item I brought to them for dry cleaning.
They seriously suck. Doesn't matter if they do everything for $1.85 a piece.
If you have to buy a replacement each time, it ain't exactly a bargain service...

The Regal Rockville 13. Pretty comfy stadium cinemas.
Plus they have a weekend dinner & a movie deal with the restaurants
in the stripmall, Potbelly Sandwiches & California Tortilla. Yum.

I stopped to get a money order here once. They're really friendly and gracious.
And the money orders are "no-fee" which kicks ass when your eBay seller doesn't take PayPal.

This is the flickering, lifesize orange palm tree outside a dry cleaner in Rockville. I have no idea why it's there. But it's cool. It reminds me of Thailand, where everything is lit up at at night like the biggest Christmas display on the planet.

The cigar-smokin', beer drinkin' pig above the door at the Cuban Corner in Rockville. They make an awesome pork sandwich here. The decor inside is pretty bizarre.

The Caribbean joint next door to the Cuban Corner.
The manager thought I was nuts for taking a picture.

'Cuz there's nothing that goes better with fried rice than a hot cup of joe!

Okay, it's not neon. This is the church next to the Catholic cemetery where
F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald are buried.

I dig this. It's so Blade Runner.
Outside a vegetarian Chinese cafe.

Sam Woo's Chinese BBQ and Sushi Bar.

Sam has a lunch special, apparently.

You've gotta dig the wigs!

Bagel City - try the fabulous party platters!

This is the "HomeGoods" store at White Flint.
They're having some problems.

There are so many jokes waiting here.
I'll just leave you to your own thoughts.
Just keep your "Home Goo" to yourself, please.


paulnojustpaul said...

big big big hug!

...and remember if you're spotted doing something in public that makes people look at you funny, say these four words with a knowing grin: "It's for my thesis."


Cyn said...

As somewhat who went through many years of alone-ness, I can relate to what you are going through. It's tough. There's no getting around that.

But you are a marvelous writer -- really wonderful -- and having a creative outlet can't be underestimated.

And how neat is it that you gave yourself a mission and took those photos?! (I also love neon -- to me it feels funky and retro, garish but with a comforting glow...) I wish I had the freedom to go out and go on an adventure like that. (Your Denny's adventure I could do without though :)

suze said...


alwswrite said...

That was...illuminating. (I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself.)

It is hugely entertaining to see images from the place where I grew up strung together like that, from someone else's perspective. Really nicely done.

I had a friend who used to say, "If it's not on the Pike... it's not."

(and hugs from me too)

Merujo said...

Thanks for all the good thoughts. I really do appreciate it. And I'm glad y'all dig the neon. I drove past HomeGoods tonight - I'm glad I snapped the photos yesterday, as they've fixed the sign. No more "Goo" alas!

Always Write - I did a commentary about Rockville Pike for WAMU. In editing for time, I had to take out some of my favorite Pike stuff, like the fact that the sign at Toys 'R' Us often reads "Oys 'R' Us" and I imagine all the clerks being these great old Jewish grannies. ("You're buying that toy?")

Claire said...

I know just what you mean. Hopefully things will be looking up on all fronts soon.