223 - Thanks for All the Shoes

I'm a little bummed that I didn't get close-ups of the necklace. It's a skateboard with a yin-yang on it, and it's pretty much the best thing ever.

These shoes, though, are a close second. Look at them! Ah, they take me back to the glory days of taking the city bus to the mall and buying Deftones posters from Spencer's Gifts, before my adolescent ears had been permanently shaken by the Dead Kennedys and before I knew that punk couldn't be sold at Hot Topic.

My infatuation with the mall was part of an ironic pride in my suburban upbringing, the knowledge that it was positively dreadful, but the understanding that there was a pathetic charm about it all. Kevin Smith spoke my language, and Mallrats rivaled Empire Records for the title of "Early-Teenaged Madeline's Favorite Movie of All Time". I'd yell at Shannon Doherty on screen for not wanting to play Sega with the babeliest dude in the world, Brodie, and quote lines from the movie with the enthusiasm and naivety of wide-eyed youth. "I love the smell of commerce in the morning!"

Once I entered the era of the driver's permit, the suburban faux-punk infatuation lingered, despite my increasing exposure to music with substance and history. When I turned 16, I applied for a job at Hot Dog on a Stick in the Fashion Fair Mall food court and was crushed when they did not hire me. It didn't dawn on me then that my severe black bob and nose ring weren't exactly Hot Dog on a Stick material. "But the girl in 'Cafe 405' by The Vandals works at Hot Dog on a Stick!" I thought, focused at that point on constructing my life in emulation of suburban pop punk ideals, aware of the importance of the social justice glorified by "real" punk, but interested in the aesthetic and cultural markers of something more innocent and playful. "Punk in Drublic" and "Pezcore", 8-bit Mario ringtones on Nokia brick cellphones, falling in love at Denny's at midnight after Rufio backyard shows, failing to reconcile the suburban blue collar dreamhaze of cheap food and big business with the understanding that there was a corporate agenda destroying the world.

One day, if I ever manage to find free time, maybe I'll download everything Fat Wreck Chords and Vagrant have ever released, and I'll have a listening party of one, and I'll call my high school sweetheart to talk about video game tattoos and Propaghandi. Until then, these shoes will suffice in fulfilling my nostalgia for teenaged middle class suburban pseudo-rebellion.

I still listen to Bikini Kill semi-regularly, too, so maybe that helps.