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September 09, 1976 - Image 31

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Michigan Daily, 1976-09-09

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Thursday, September 9, 1076

. THE MICH1CAN't)AILY

Page Eleven

Thu rsdoy, September 9, 1976 THE MICHIGAN DAILY ~oge Eleven

HISTORY

OF

THE

BL UES

(Continued from Page 5)
Well, like everybody else, we
were up for a morning fuck.I
And this round I'll skip most
of my Curt Gowdy commentary.
It happens just like before ex-
cept this time everybody works
out OK.
The secret formula is I got
to remember to survive her or-
gasm by not thinking too much.
Then when she's done, I shoot
off. It works.
After that Martha's had
enough fucking for a while and
wants to get up and go over to
Steve's lunch and grab some-
thing to eat. That's fine with
me. So it's out the door and
over to Steve's lunch. It's past
noon already.
** *
A LOT OF TIMES Martha
wants me to go out drinking
with her friends. Her friends
are mostly 25 and all paired up
as to boyfriend and girlfriend.
And me, the newcomer, Mar-
tha's latest boyfriend.
So there I am with all these
paired - off w i 1 d celebrators.
Martha's digging on them.
When I'm with her in a crowd
I don't feel like it's fair. It's
not one-on-one anymore. But
this is her family, and I can't
take it away from her. I got my
family in Cleveland, and she's
got her family in Ann Arbor.
Some people work it that way.
They go off to college and form
a tight-knit group of friends.
They forget about back home,
and from then on in they got a
new family. They buy anniver-
sary gifts for each other, even
though nobody's married.
We all go over to the Del Rio
and settle on bottles of Rolling
Rock They're playing a tape
of Dr. Ross, an old black har-
monica man. I reviewed him
for the Daily once and called
him lousy but I was wrong. He's
greatt He plays train-like har-
monica sounds. Nobody wants
to listen to him though. The
principal reason for having
cometo the Del Rio was for us
to get drunk, Finally we split.
And this time it's over to the
Pretzel Bell-what used to be a
jocky bar but has lately cap-
tured the freak crowd away
from Mr. Flood's Party, pri-
marily because they got a funky
country-western band. Country
Rock:I guess., Hillbilly singers,
U. of M. dropouts. Martha loves
"Stand by your man," and her
friend Henry kids her about
"Which man? Frank or Bert?"
I, just like everybody else, am
fully aware that she's still see-
ing her ex-boyfriend Frank, in
what she calls a "friendly fuck-
ing relationship." I rationalize
it. I figure it gives me a little
leeway if I ever decide to shaft
her.
And even though we sit drunk
as hell in the Pretzel Bell, I
know that come Spring things
won't be mellow between Mar-
tha and me.
* * *
JUST LIKE THIS. You have a
day in late February and it's
cold out. Not to belabor cold
weather, but just for the sake of
telling it like it is, I got to ex-
plain that Ann Arbor cold is a
different thing than, say, Cleve-
land cold. Cleveland gets plenty

of snow, but snow's irrelevant,
to cold. Or take Buffalo, they
get more snow than anybody in'
the world, but it's not freezing.
And even way up in Michigan
in the Upper Penninsula, they
get tons of snow but it's not
freezing the way it is in Ann
Arbor. Because in Ann Arbor
you also have the University of
Chicago effect working against
you. I coined this effect a
couple years ago when I was
walking around the campus
there and noticed that the
whole place was solid gray.
This happens in Ann Arbor too
in the winter. You don't get any
variation on the gray, and if
you do it's most likely going to
be blue or brown. Blue jeans,
brown boots.
And can you picture a young
black student cutting across the
U. of M. campus? He's got on
his long underwearbbut he's
still freezing. A black man
s o m e h o w misplaced in this
Arctic nation, thinking, "You
white dudes are made for this
shit, but not my black ass!" So
you pity him and everybody
else, and you sit back and dig
on the Northern girls who final-
ly get a little color in their
faces. Normally they're creamy
white. Martha's like that. I love
to see her in the cold. She looks
right when it's freezing.
The good part of this weather
is that it sometimes ends, but
that doesn't happen till April,
and that's great! Nothing like
Spring in Ann Arbor. For now
take late February. The Ann
Arbor Bank sign says 10 de-
grees. I got one scarf around
my neck and I got my hat pull-
ed way over my head and I'm
walking over to Martha's. She's
saved me from the winter. I've
made a friend.
But with girls and me it's
never really friends. With Mar-
tha it's got to be more than
that, though we're pretty sure
we're not in love, because for

she's got visions of Mr. Frank
walking in on us and seeing me.
That's too much to deal with.
And what about when she fucks?
She doesn't know who's on top
half the time.
From my standpoint I don't
dig the triangular love either,
but what am I going to do?
She's got enough problems with-
out me. I tell her maybe she
should get married to Frank
and things would work out. But
that's no go, because Frank's a
drunken weed man who watches
TV all day and Martha's twice
as smart as him. That's what
she's saying. But she still wants
to make up with him. So what's
love? and can you love two peo-
ple? - all questions which she
might be considering.
'S0 TRY THIS, skipping over a
million now-forgotten similar
incidents: A typical Saturday
afternoon in Michigan in late
February-early March. We're
in her room going through the
records again, listening to Ringo
Starr. And she's saying, "You
wanna play gin rummy?"
"No thanks," I say. "I hate
it."
For some reason I hate all
card games.
"How about chess?"
"No thanks."
I hate chess too.
"You wanna lie around all
day?"
"We can go out and look at
the used records."
"No thanks."

aren't any leg-watchers any-
more, obviously.
So you sit by with a couple
dark-eyed b o y s from Latin
America and listen to them say,
"Caramba!" They come from
miles around. And there are
older men out looking too. They
can't believe it when they see
a pack of nine freshman girls,
all in tight-fitting blue jeans,
all long hair hung straight and

"Yeah, it's good, but we
gotta be alike in some things."
"Well, we are," she says.
And that's true. We're both in-
dependent sorts, but that's noth-
ing to have in common. Or may-
be it's just my hangup; I keep
thinking I'm going to find a
girl who's the exact female
counterpart of me. In fact I
want her to look just like me
and play harp too. It's stupid.

"But with girls and me it's never really
friends. With Martha it's got to be more
than that, though we're pretty sure we' re
not in love, because for one reason,
if you're in love you're supposed to be so
starry eyed and breathless you can't even
decipher whether you're in love or not."
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life. I want to know if I oughta
get out."
But that's not what I'm really
driving at. What I really want
to know is, "Are we doing any-
thing more than fuck these
days?" Our only good times are
in bed. I say to Martha, "Why
do I like you, huh?"
"I don't know," she smiles.
"Well, I don't either. Let's
see, you're good-looking (she
laughs). You're kind. You're
concerned . . . Oh fuck!" I give
up.
She's getting the picture. "Is
there anything I can do?"
"I don't know." (I say "I
don't know" every other sen-
tence.) Once more: "I don't
know."
And I realize I got to change
the subject. I'm freaking her
out too much with my downer
talk-her coming in so high and
all. And I know I can jump
right out of it in a second. All
I got to do is take a step back,
look at the situation, think of
people starving and really bad

off, and start laughing. I do
that. I get up and say, "Don't
worry. I'm OK."
She wonders even more now.
"Let's talk a b o u t Spring
Break," I say.
So then she tells me she's
going to New York to visit a
friend and then to Boston to
visit another friend.
"Oh really? You're going?"
I say. I'd had the idea we'd be
out on the road together, may-
be heading for Boston.
She realizes that- and adds,
"Well, we can meet up in Bos-
ton and then travel around to-
gether."
But I don't really want to go
all the way to Boston without
her. I figure it'd be easier to
go home again and talk to my
family in the family room. Get
out of Ann Arbor.
"OK," I say. "You go up to
Boston and New York. That
sounds good. Maybe you can'
get me a copy of 'The World' in
New York."
She says she'll do that and

says good-bye, and I watch her
walk away.
I walk over to the rideboard.
I've got to go somewhere. May-
be to Cleveland. Nobody's left
in town. Everybody has headed
out to Colorado or chartered
themselves off to the Bahamas.
I've got to do some serious
looking amongst the signs or I
won't find a ride and then I'll
be stuck with the bus.
I walk out with a couple old
cards in my hand. I get back,
make my call, and hit on my
first one-a girl who's going to
Cleveland Heights. And she's
leaving the next day. All I want
to do is get home and find my
parents and eat.
I've been raised on school
calendars for so long that I
don't know what it's like not to
be in school. I'm more a Ph.D.
candidate than a dropout. I
measure my life in summers.
It's always summers. So here
I am going home for a vacation
-alone-and I'm not even en-
rolled.

t
s

one reason if you're in love
you're supposed to be so starry-
eyed and breathless you can't
even decipher whether you're in
love or not, you just know, and
if you're busy thinking about it
you got problems.
Martha was busy thinking
about it. She differentiated be-
tween "loving somebody" and
being "in love with somebody.",
She said she loved me, but that
she also loved about ten other
people. She said she wasn't in
love with me.
Anyway, I go over to Martha's
for spaghetti. This spaghetti
business is serious. It's the only
think she cooks. Well, some-
times she bakes bread, but noth-
ing else. Reason being, her old-
er sister had always done the
cooking back home and Mar-
tha'd never gotten too interest-
ed in taking over the job.
After dinner we get out the
records and lie in bed. While
we're lying there, Martha says,
"What're you thinking?" And
I'm not really thinking anything
special at all, just smiling and
enjoying myself.
* * *
HERE ARE secret dreams
in Martha's head I don't
know a thing about. Like, how's
she supposed to relax? Maybe!

That's a solo trip-for me. It's
part of my old routine from the
days when I'd been alone and
had dug cruising about town
looking in the record stores and
the bookstores. I don't want to
do that with her. And besides I
know she's not interested.
"Let's just lie here a while,
longer and then I'll go," I say.
"I have to go back and type
up some stuff."
At times like this she's prob-
ably thinking, "Maybe I'd be
better off with Frank, because
everything eventually turns into
another Frank-just sit around."
. She's got the added problem
that everybody around her is
getting married, and she isn't.
Every other day she's bom-
barded with wedding invitations
in the mail, and then she trucks
off to bridal showers for long
forgotten childhood girlfriends.
She laughs about it. She says,
"God, you shoulda seen this
wedding I was at yesterday!
I'll never get married!"
And she's got the problem
that having two boyfriends at
once is making her looked con-
fused-in her own mind and her
friends' minds. She's always be-
ing -kidded about it. And, God,
what if Frank and I did meet?
* * * .
ANN ARBOR IS great in the
Springtime because of all
those thin, cotton blue jeans
that fit perfectly around girl's
hips and are lassoed with wide
leather belts. You sit on the
Diag and dig the asses as they
scoot by on bicycles.
There's no time for tits.
Passe. It's all in the ass and
crotch now, because all the
curves in the bell-bottoms lead
right to that V. And there

silky, go heading up the Hill.
It's all blue in Ann Arbor, but
in Spring you don't mind, be-
cause people go crazy when it's
sunny; blue grass bands play
on the Diag, guitarists too . . .
flutists. It's all great. And it's
all so young you wonder if any-
body has any idea they're going
to die someday. A couple pro-
fessors and Pakistani engineers
go walking by. These guys have
no idea they're going to die
either, and they're 50! So you
got to excuse the 18-year-old
girls for just digging on Cat
Stevens and forgetting the sad-
ness.
The girls are killer, and they
know it, and they walk like they
know it. I don't mean conceited
and stuck-upish in a junior high
sense; I'm talking about plain,
sexy walking. Creased asses all
over.
But, on the o t h e r hand,
throughout every corner of Ann
Arbor, there are a million other
Marthas. Those same Michi-
ganese faces: clear, pale skin
and gray or blue-gray eyes. A
million Marthas sitting in their
rooms, thinking up who to send
anniversary cards too, who to
buy birthday presents for.
They're all caught up in their
friendy, and they love them.
Gifts and good times.
* * *
IN THE BEGINNING of a
romance you can sit around
and play "Nashville Skyline"
all day and love it. But then a
few weeks later you get to
thinking the album is kind of
boring, and it just doesn't work
anymore. And that's when you
start picking up the Stones and
the heavier stuff. Because who
wants to listen to Dylan singing
his love songs, when it really
isn't like that?
I only play "Nashville Sky-
line" when I've just met a girl;
when I'm singing and smiling
at myself in the mirror every
morning when I get up. Now
it's time for something else.
One night on the way home
from a party I say to Martha,'
"You know, we really are dif-
ferent!"
"That's good."

So Martha doesn't like Jack
Kerouac. She doesn't read. OK,l
but she is friendly. Everybody'sl
friendly. Go have a fucking
friendly relationship.
* **
KEEP THINKING Martha
and I are.going to bump into
Frank so in order not to make
things easier on him, we move
our sex habits over to my
house. I don't want to stay
down at her place locker door
no no locked door.
And it becomes stale. Gray
day. A long fadeaway jumper.
It could score three .points in
the old ABA-Connie Hawkins
and the Pittsburgh Wrens. Well,
Connie'd gotten a raw deal.
And so had we. I keep imag-
ining everybody in my rooming
house has his ear to the wall
and is listening to us fuck-
listening to Martha's yelping
and kicking. So you gotta take
the kick out of argasm? What
fun's that? It's pretty bad.
One night when Martha's not
around, I decide , I got to see
her so I call her and she says,
"Come on down."
"No," I say. I hear sounds
of marijuana happening down
there. I want serious talk. I
add, "How about coming up to
the Union?" (That's halfway
between her place and mine).
She agrees and I head over
to the Union. She says she'll be
right over, but it takes her for-
ever. I go over to the magazine
stand, buy a Kit-Kat and look
through the newspapers. She's
twenty -ninutes late.
i''have left if I had any-
thing to do, but don't forget
I'm unemployed and d o in g
shmatz. (That's nothing in Jew-
ish, or in the Jewish I picked
up from hanging around gang-
ster-friend Eddie Miller in my
youth.)
But then I see her walking in,
smiling, stoned out of her ba-
zooms. What am I supposed to
do? So I act really bummed
out, and in a few minutes I
bring her right down to my
depressing level. She asks me
what's w r o n g. I tell her,
"Everything's wrong. I'm an in-
truder. I got no business in your

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