“I guess it was the underlying hard-edge anger of punk that got to me, the desire to be destructive.”
  • “I guess it was the underlying hard-edge anger of punk that got to me, the desire to be destructive.”
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Post Title: Suicidal Tendencies

Post Date: March 2, 2016

Something about running into the teenage boy in my building — the one with the angry expression — and then seeing “Suicidal Tendencies” carved into the alley cement a few feet from his car catapulted me back in time.

Back to when my sons were that age, still living with me but wishing they weren’t. Listening to that post-punk/thrash band Suicidal Tendencies and others, bands like Alien Sex Fiend, Bad Brains, Biting Tongues, Buzzcocks, Circle Jerks, the Clash, the Damned, Death Cult, Death by Stereo, the Stranglers, Violent Femmes.

I didn’t hate the music, coming myself from the rock ’n’ roll era, but it was sometimes hard to take after the mellow ’70s. I guess it was the underlying hard-edge anger of punk that got to me, the desire to be destructive. I sensed some of that punkish attitude in my sons and remembered it from my own late-teen years.

It’s not an easy time. We want to be free and yet we aren’t quite ready. We need our parents, usually financially and emotionally, and we hate them for it. And we also know everything. Old people are so stupid.

Fortunately, I remembered how I felt, and so was able to navigate interactions. Not perfectly, but with a desire to understand and communicate. In all honesty, I was still learning to grow up myself. I give myself credit for trying with sincerity.

My older son went off to college 100 miles away. My younger son and I were lonely and missed him. Then our cat died and we both blasted the music and drank and smoked too much. Then there was the unfortunate incident with my car, which resulted in my son’s doing community service, picking up trash on the beach in the early morning hours in a fluorescent jacket.

By this time I was somewhere between suicidal and homicidal. When I had the chance to move, I did! I fled the not-yet empty nest. Luckily, my son found a new job and home, working for a few months with friends at the Grand Canyon. There, I think it didn’t matter how loud they blasted Butthole Surfers.

My older son called from college. He wanted to tell me something. “You know, I used to think growing up meant that everything was going well. Now I just realized that something weird is always happening and we NEVER figure everything out.”

Post Title: My Hope Chest

Post Date: October 26, 2014

I don’t love my current home and want to move within the next year. In order to not feel stuck and to find a home that is right for me, it helps me to visualize it. I imagine and focus on location, layout, light. I see the entrance and the rooms – and I furnish them, too.

My grandmother, who was ahead of her time, left me a Danish modern teak sideboard and some small tables, and my mother some Metlox pottery pieces, which were made in our hometown of Manhattan Beach.

Now when I’m out browsing, I keep my eyes open for these nostalgic pieces — old but ready for a new home, or new but with a decades-old design. For ideas, I’m visiting San Diego stores like the Atomic Bazaar and Boomerang for Modern. So far, I’ve purchased a set of coasters.

This is what I mean by a trousseau. Possessions for a new home. Visualizing and decorating. My hope chest. As a bride, I didn’t have a hope chest. The idea for one occurred to me many years later, when I found myself in an unhappy relationship. I had moved in with a man too quickly and by the time I realized I’d made a mistake, I was stuck, at least until I could save money to leave. I began to visualize where I wanted to live. One day while out looking for something else, I fell in love with a kettle — bright iridescent red, green, and yellow, with a wood handle and space-age shape. I bought it and brought it home and tucked it away, gradually adding towels, spatulas, salt and pepper shakers in all the bright colors I imagined my new kitchen would radiate. (My boyfriend preferred black.)

It may seem like a silly thing, but gazing at that non-black kettle got me through some dark days until I moved it into my new home filled with light and ocean air, and put the kettle on for a cup of tea.

[Posts edited for length]

Blog: Head Wind Journal |

Author: Linda Hutchison | From: La Jolla | Blogging since: January 2013

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