Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Frank Sinatra Can Kiss My Rosy Red Ass
Once upon a time there was a young woman who fell in love with a young man who liked Frank Sinatra in a hipster-ish "oh look at me, how clever and anachronistic I am" kind of way. She loved him and he loved Frank Sinatra, so she saved up her money and scalped some tickets to surprise the young man for his birthday. They went to see Frank Sinatra put on a show with a bunch of aging femme fatales wearing mink stoles and bright red lipstick and their husbands wearing tasseled loafers and English Leather.
And it was all very ironic and adorable. And time passed. Periodically during the twenty years that passed, the young man would get out his Frank Sinatra CDs and wax nostalgic about a time before he was born. And the young woman would murmur and nod uncertainly at the young man's range of musical appreciation. From the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Dvorak and back. Via Frank Sinatra.
And then the years of drinking that the young man had done turned him in to an old man. An old man who put Frank Sinatra on his iPad and lay in bed for hours at night with the music so loud you could hear it across the room leaking from the earbuds. With his eyes closed and a beatific smile on his face, bobbing his head up and down. So happy. And so pathetic in his sappy happiness.
The young woman, now a "mature" woman, lay down next to the old man tripping out on Frank Sinatra and tapped him on the shoulder to tell him that the music was too loud. Adding to the lengthening list of things she is dislikes about him, he is growing deaf. He is gradually and inexorably descending into geezerhood. He snores, he farts, he wears his bathrobe all day, then grows chilly and jacks up the heat rather than getting dressed. He makes endless cups of tea that he lets get cold while he lies on the couch and lets the chaos of the household swirl around him unnoticed.
The mature woman calls to the old man. "Honey? Honey?" He continues to lead the Nelson Riddle arrangement of the strings that accompany Ol' Blue Eyes. She shakes his shoulder. "The music's too loud, I can hear it across the room, you should turn it down, you're going to hurt your ears." She speaks to him as though speaking to a child. As so many people do, he is becoming more childlike as he ages. And more childish, too, it seems, because at her touch he sits bolt upright and yanks the earbuds away. "What do you want?" he growls. He sets the iPad down on the bedside table. He is clearly quite angry. "I'm sorry," she says, as she always does. "It's just that the music was so loud, I thought it must be hurting your eardrums." She can see she has completely fucked up. Of course he was enjoying himself, having a moment, transported in his nostalgia to a place and time before he was born. And now she has ruined it.
She tries to placate him. "Go ahead, put it back on, I didn't mean you had to stop listening." And as always, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," in an endless apologetic litany. "No," he says. "Never mind. Forget it." He gets out his puzzle book. He won't exonerate her by resuming his private concert. She turns away, gets out her book and begins to read. She stares past the words on the page, lost in bewilderment. When had her life become like this, how did her marriage grow so diseased? The years pass, and like lava, the discontent seeps, then spreads. She is married to an old man she doesn't respect because he likes Frank Sinatra, not ironically, not as a hipster, but for real.
The message she hears when he listens to his music is this: This is who I am, this is who I have become, someone you don't like and didn't sign on for and can't understand how you came to be saddled with. And you are trapped.
And in reply the message she thinks is this: Fuck that noise. Fuck you and your iPad and your earbuds and your pouting and your drinking and your denial. Kiss my rosy red ass. You and Frank Sinatra both.
Posted by Mina Klonopina at 12:10 AM