Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I am eating real food today because I am real. It is not everyday that you can be real. Mid-century modern is the latest buzz word on Craigslist, replacing "vintage" as the hot selling point. Shabby chic is so last year. And "Pottery Barn-like" is so inauthentic, it's ridiculous. How can a business called "Mattress Monster" sell a dresser that is Pottery Barn-like? It's either from Pottery Barn or it's not. And if I like it, I don't care and I won't hold it's lack of PB status against it. (At the same time, if I am looking on Craigslist for furniture, I am very unlikely to be a candidate for a purchase from Mattress Monster.) There is little I care for less than lack of authenticity. Be my friend, or not. But don't tell me you are my friend and then blow me off. Don't tell me you love me, but hit me with unkind words. Be Pottery Barn or not. But don't be Pottery Barn-like. And don't tell me it looks like a dresser from Mad Men. Rothko's art is featured on Mad Men, but not your dresser. I try to be both cautious and specific with words, like the delicate sparseness of a Scandinavian home or perhaps, a Scandinavian mind. My mind is half Scandinavian. I reach out in metered doses. I ask for very little in return. I constantly have melodies running through my head. (and why so often The Yellow Rose of Texas?) My friends and I are all either turning forty soon or still vividly remember that birthday. The one where you drive around naked in the snow. And this is why we celebrate mid-century modern. We remember the home of Mike and Carol Brady. It speaks to us of our "simpler" time. For the "Greatest Generation," the simpler time was the 50's. My two teens will likely one day glorify the styles of the 1990's with their peers and wax nostalgic on that simpler time, which was anything but simple for me, a then twenty-something trying to find her way out of a restless marriage filled with lies and inauthenticity. In the nineties, we saw Robert Reed (aka Mike Brady) die of colon cancer while suffering from AIDS. We might have then known that things weren't necessarily simple for our favorite architect and we may have wondered why Florence Henderson (aka Carol Brady) sported one of the first mullets. But now, all things 70's are forgiven. I can even romanticize the home of my grade school daycare provider. Her square brick atomic ranch home, the mid-century modern decor, the blue smoke from her chain smoking constantly hanging in the air. She fed us Kit Kat Bars for lunch every day after kindergarten and was drinking cocktails by 3 pm, but she was authentic. In the later years, she growled at us after school and sent us packing for the linoleum-floored basement to watch The Brady Bunch and other such TV land favorites. I could even blame her for my present ability to view chocolate as a reasonable breakfast option, but I won't. I will embrace her red glass, leaf-shaped ashtray, her weekly "set" hair, and her inability to escape her in-home job and oppressive husband with a Mad Men-like fervor. And she was real; at least she was as real as I will ever be. Audrey, that was her name. Audrey.