187 - Tie-Dyed Beach Brat

Shirt - c/o Kaarme Concepts, Boots - Vintage (thrifted), Beanie - from a liquor store on Sunset Blvd., Jewelry - Flea Market + Other Places


When I was six years old, my father gave me his old broken Walkman mobile cassette player. It was held together with electrical tape, the fast forward button a helpless victim of its sticky embrace, permanently pressed down but forwarding never more. The headphones were attached to a metal U which, though adjustable, was obscenely large for my kindergarten-aged head. The foam-covered earphones slid down onto my cheeks.

I owned two cassette tapes: a collection of Beethoven's symphonies, and a compilation of the Beach Boys' Greatest Hits, entitled "Endless Summer". Both were acquired from random pillages of household nooks and crannies and together, quickly became the soundtrack to my stumbling idle youth. I would fall asleep listening to Beethoven and change the tape over to The Beach Boys in the morning. Beethoven taught me how to drown out the world, but The Beach Boys taught me how to interact with it. I dissected each song's lyrics, as though they were manuals on how to live life. The Beach Boys taught me about dating and surfing and school loyalty and surfing and driving fast cars and surfing and vacations and surfing and Kokomo...and surfing. I was destined to be a little surfer girl, if only I could manage the three hour drive to the coastline! I tried to figure out what, exactly, a t-bird was, whether all daddies had them, and if I could feasibly steal it in order to transport me to the shore.

Alas, what surely would have spiralled into a life of crime was diverted by my step-mother's announcement that we would be taking a family day trip to the beach, complete with my cousin (three years my senior) in tow. My overalls could not contain my elation. At the sound of the announcement, I unbuckled them in a hasty joy, tearing around my family's apartment in a half-clothed frenzy of excitement. I was ecstatic, for here would finally be my chance to manifest the truest of fixations! I imagined the crystal blue waters and white sandy shores. I envisioned waves crashing against the beach, towering over my head in epic proportion. I foresaw myself the architect of life-sized grandiose castles, constructed purely of sparkling white sand. Not yet equipped with the proper tools to handle such overwhelming floods of emotion, I did the only thing that made sense at the time: I climbed on top of the television set and sat there, perched, scarcely clothed, entranced in this oceanic dreamland.

My father raised a worried brow. "Whatcha doin' there, Goat Girl?" he inquired. I smiled like a delusional miniature maniac. "The only thing that could make this better," I said to him slowly, "is ice cream."

In preparation for what was sure to be a life-altering event, I listened to Surfin' USA on repeat. I practiced balancing on my step-mother's boogie board on top of my waterbed, yelling "WIPEOUT!" each time I crashed onto the coarse brown carpet below. The downstairs neighbors banged their roof with a broom handle in an attempt to minimize the noise being emitted from my bedroom, with little avail. "WE'RE PACKING UP OUR SURFBOARDS!" I yelled to them through the floor, throwing a Barbie doll for good measure. I wore my swimsuit and goggles in the bathtub for a week.

When the day finally came, we loaded into my family's Honda Civic early and hit the road. We drove for hours, my cousin and I sitting in the back seat, her holding me hostage with tales of kissing a boy named Joey Schneider during a game of truth or dare at recess. I crinkled my nose at the thought of kissing a boy, and took comfort in the knowledge that my cousin was probably lying anyway. Stupid 9-year olds, with all of their lying. I imagined writing the words "LIE MACHINE" in the space between her mouth and nose. Yeah. That would show her. Liar.

Finally, the car stopped, and I heard the joyous announcement trickle from my father's mouth in the driver's seat: "We're here!" I unbuckled my seatbelt and threw it off of my shoulder. I pounded on the front seat with my feet like a demon banshee child, shrieking in horrendous joy, demanding to be set free from the car's waterless grip. I jumped out onto the asphalt parking lot and looked up to see...


"Surprise!" said my father, beaming.


I inhaled sharply.


I scoured the perimeter for signs that this was surely a sick joke.


I looked up at the stupid parking lot signs. Donald Duck. Donald Duck was on ALL OF THEM.

I wailed as though my limbs were being torn from my body by a team of rampaging horses. My fingers curled up into balls of rage, rising towards the summer sun as my knees dropped to the gritty asphalt ground. I struggled to breathe through the jolting gutteral sobs of defeat.

My cousin danced around like a stupid little pixie, her side ponytail rocking back and forth. "Disneyland!" she shrieked, her jellies spastically pounding the pavement. "I am SO excited!" she yelled. "Megan is going to be so, so, so jealous! Thank you, thank you, thank you!" She latched her pint-sized body onto my father's leg in appreciation, wrapping her arms around his knee as though she were protesting its scheduled felling. I pounded my fists against my face, protesting her obscenely lilting cadence.

"WHYYYYYYY..." I managed to howl as my father scooped me up and tossed me onto his shoulders.

Suffice it to say, The Log Ride did not prove to be an ample consolation.


Summer is coming. I highly recommend getting your tie-dyed beach brat on with rad shiz from Kaarme Concepts, here: 

Warning: if you don't check out their website, I'll come over to your house, take off my overalls, and jump on top of your television, giving you el ojo until you do.