Brush Day

Remember what a tragedy it was when you were growing up–a kid, a teenager, maybe even a young adult–and your good friend moved away? Here’s a wistful song one of those friends put on a tape for me after he moved, called “Keeping the Weekend Free” by a band called Liquorice, which had that mid-90s lo-fi sound that so many bands I jizzed over back then did (*cough* Pavement *cough*). So much of that lo-fi indie music I learned about from white friends with older siblings, because back then, before the internet, older siblings were major sources of subcultural coolness. 

Anyway, for whatever reason, found this song lodged in my head this weekend while dragging about ten years of brush to the curb. Monday is brush day and code compliance is after us for our unruly yard full of lizard habitat. And while I dragged it out, I found myself thinking about the many small gestures mentioned in the song, which, after the passing of the landline, have become technologically obsolete—long distance, charges getting reversed, hanging up in anger, busy signals, having to stick around the house if you’re desperate to get a call. Asra and I were at a boba tea place recently that decorates in an antique telephone motif, and as we played around with a rotary dialer, I reflected on how immense a cultural loss it is to be unable to slam a phone down in anger. What other gesture so succinctly expresses such a depth of betrayal or anguish?

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