type o negative nation
Originally uploaded by tonbabydc
I can't imagine that anyone wants to read another entry about Type O Negative less than I want to write one. But you're here and I've got the stub, so what are we going to do?
Try to be patient....
My friends were pretty goddamned accustomed to my stupid obsession with those four dicks from Brooklyn by this time.
In fact, when the band came through D.C. on the "World Coming Down" tour (the second time), my bass player, Mark, was kind enough to dial into WHFS and win a pair of tickets for us. Awfully nice thing for him to do, especially since my guitar player, Greg, and I spent an awful lot of our downtime hazing, mocking and otherwise abusing Mark as the odd man out in the band.
(He brought an awful lot of it on himself, but that's a different story altogether).
Despite Mark's kind gesture, I'd predictably bought my fanboy ass a ticket more or less as soon as the show was announced.
And this posed something of a problem, because my gigantic boner for this band had basically turned every single person I knew off from them; I knew we'd have trouble finding someone to go with us. Mark - who didn't even like metal - was along for the ride, but he sure didn't know anyone who wanted to go.
Inspiration would strike one evening as I left work.
I was working at the same fucking yellow pages ad agency I'd been at for the previous few years. It was located in a beautiful converted granary in "old town" Gaithersburg, MD. (How can a city that's only like 75 years old have an "old town"?)
In addition to our offices, the granary conversion had yielded a auto mechanic's shop, a bar, an army recruiting station, and a hair stylist. Often, when walking to my car, I'd wave to the cute young girl who worked at the front desk of the salon. Every day, she'd get a great big smile on her face and wave back to me. This was often the best part of my day.
For weeks and weeks (maybe months) we never spoke....we just smiled and waved at one another. I remember one evening in particular when I was so excited to walk past her at the end of the day that I forgot to bring my car keys...which meant I'd have to walk past her again as I backtracked, then walk past her a third time on the way back to my car. Fighting off the mortification, I simply pulled the keys out of my pocket, pointed at them and shrugged as I walked past.
She broke into a full laugh, and I saw out of the corner of my eye that her head had turned to watch me as I continued my walk across the parking lot. This sort of thing did not happen to me very often.
She was adorable, and I was absolutely smitten... yet, I'd never spoken to her. I didn't even know her name.
I probably never would have, either, if she hadn't taken the initiative of scheduling her smoke breaks for the time at which I tended to leave the office. One evening as I was headed home with a stack of CD's my a friend had lent me, she decided to break the ice.
"What you got there?' she asked as I was still fumbling to come up with a greeting.
It was the first time I'd heard her voice. It was playful, and vaguely impish. She reached out and grabbed Jeff Buckley's "Grace" out of my hands.
We stood in the parking lot for a brief few minutes, getting to know one another. Her name was Morgan, and up close she seemed much more beautiful than I'd ever noticed: She was tall, with long legs and a slightly oversized mouth that made her smile that much more evocative. Together with her gigantic brown eyes, her ever so slight lisp and her upbeat manner, she was sort of like a beautiful little puppy with great big paws and ears.
Conversation naturally gravitated towards music, and lo-and-behold she told me about all sorts of metal bands she'd been to see - Powerman 5000, Pantera; you know: that kids stuff.
It was settled: I'd ask her to the show the next time I saw her.
And wouldn't you know it? A few days later I had her number and we had a date: That Sunday night, after we'd wrapped up band practice, Mark and I would pick her up at her home in Germantown, and we'd all go see Type O Negative together.
"That was easy," I thought to myself. "I should do this sort of thing more often."
For once I manged to play it cool and not compulsively call as soon as I got the digits. Instead I waited patiently all weekend, not calling until Sunday afternoon, right before practice started. I wanted to get directions to her place, and confirm the times with her.
No answer. With my bandmates looking at me expectantly, I shrugged it off and we started one of our marathon four hour practices; I had all afternoon to reach her. (This is how it was done before cell phones and text messages, kiddos).
During the break I tried again. The woman who answered the phone sounded decidedly older than I'd expected. That's about the time I realized she was living with her fucking mom.
"Shit," I grumbled to myself. "Why did I assume she'd have her own place? In fucking Germantown?"
I left a message, and her mom sounded skeptical of who I was and what my intentions were.
Practice ended. I still had not heard from her.
I called again. The same old bag answered. I left another message.
Mark and I looked at one another. Time was getting tight, and this had become embarrassing.
Twenty minutes passed, and I made one final attempt to call her. Her mom told me point blank that Morgan wasn't home, and that she wasn't going to be home. Her tone was firm, and I felt very foolish.
Even Mark - who had a merciless streak for teasing me about my bad luck with women - seemed to take pity on me. It was getting late enough that we were in danger of missing the show, so the decision was made: It was time to hit the road and make the best of the evening.
The car ride was very quiet. I was trying to be a big boy about it, but this one stung; it wasn't like I wasn't used to being turned down (or worse, stood up). But it was completely and totally foreign to me to have a girl agree so enthusiastically to a date, only to bail like this.
Mark and I parked somewhere down in South East, near where Nationals Stadium currently stands. The box office was just about closed by the time we arrived, so we had to do some coaxing to find someone to get Mark his ticket.
It all worked out though, and we got into the show just as the band was getting ready to take the stage.
I don't remember the details of this one too well, but I remember that they opened with an abbreviated vamp on Pink Floyd's "On with the Show". After a song or two, Peter Steele welcomed the crowd by announcing in near monotone, "We are Type O Negative from Brooklyn, New York. We were here a few monts ago at da Nine-Toity Club. Dat show sucked. Dis show will rule."
He was more or less correct on both counts.
(God, Nation was a great venue).
I was so disappointed about the whole incident with Morgan that I'm pretty sure I either worked late or left out of the office's back door for a few days so that I wouldn't have to face her. I was angry and embarrassed, and, frankly, I didn't want an explanation. I just wanted to be done with her, because that was so much easier than admitting how interested I had been, and how outrageously happy it had made me that she agreed to go out with me in the first place.
Halfway into that week, I stepped out of the office for lunch with my coworker Sean - a rolly-polly African American guy who was more or less convinced that he was the second coming of Billy Dee Williams. We were teammates, and we had a somewhat strained relationship.
As we stood at the front door to the office, chatting and waiting for a third coworker to join us, Sean's tone suddenly changed on a dime.
"Well, well, weeeeellllll," Sean cooed. It was his trademark phrase for when he saw a girl he liked.
I looked up to see Morgan standing halfway out of the front door of the salon, maybe twenty yards away. She was staring at us with a weird, pensive look on her face; Her mouth was partially open, as though she had started to say something then suddenly decided against it.
She had been waiting for me.
"I'm not talking to you," I shouted to her.
I smiled to let her know that I didn't mean it, but I'm not sure she picked up the gesture. Her eyes were sad. I the tiniest voice I've ever heard she said, "You have to."
She didn't say it very loud, and her voice cracked just a little bit...She was pleading with me.
While Sean looked on, puzzled, I trotted over to her.
She explained to me that her friend had a serious illness, and had taken a turn for the worse over the weekend. She told me that if I'd given her my number she would have called, but instead she was back and forth from the hospital all weekend.
I stood there, trying to determine if I should believe her (I did), and if I deserved to feel so ugly for being petty about this whole situation (I did).
We talked for a second or two, and I told her not to worry about it. I guess I wasn't mad so much as I felt small. Her little voice made me want to try and protect her somehow - from what, I have no idea - but that urge made me very uncomfortable; everything about the whole experience was so awkward, and I vividly remember noticing at the time that she made no offer to make it up to me. (Maybe that sounds selfish in light of her personal situation, but I still felt a twinge of resentment over that, as embarrassing as it is to admit.)
On the spot, I guess I just allowed this to be a missed opportunity...even though I really wanted to be a nice guy and be there for her.
For the next few weeks, Morgan and I repeated our ritual of smiling and waving, but, naturally, it wasn't the same. We chatted every once in a while, but it was just an effort to be nice.
At some point later that year she ran outside and stopped me to let me know that she was moving to Cleveland. Her sister would be going to college out there, and she thought it would be good to tag along and have a change in scenery.
I took a second to process that, and I guess she saw the confused look on my face.
"I'm only 19, you know."
Her voice dropped a little when she said it, her tone confessional. It's not like I didn't know that she was younger than me, but I thought she was at least of legal drinking age. I should have picked up on it earlier, but her guilty voice indicated that she'd made some effort to disguise this fact from me. All of the awkwardness of the past few weeks started to make a little more sense, even if it was no less embarrassing.
Jesus, I was 26. A 19-year old held little appeal for me.
I wished her well and we said our goodbyes. No hugs, no kisses, and no exchange of contact information. I guess if it had all happened ten years later, we'd still be "friends" on a social networking site, but that's not how it worked back then.
I never saw her again, and to be honest, I'm not sure when the last time I'd thought of her was, prior to coming across this ticket stub.
I do wonder what would have happened if we'd gone out on that date. I'm certain that I would have plied us both with plenty of alcohol, and from there its kind of a crap shoot. I was in a weird spot those days, slowly waking up to the fact that the nice guy routine had been an abject failure in advancing my pursuits with the fairer sex. As a result, I was on the verge of entering into a kind of reckless, mercenary point in my life, and I'm not sure either of us would have made any good decisions.
As long as she did ok for herself in Ohio, it's probably safe to say that she was better off without my influence.
Which is kind of a cop-out. Sure, I was making a lot of bad decisions back then, but it was basically fueled by the anger and awkwardness that comes with the frustration of chronic loneliness. Truthfully, I was ready for a good influence in my life, and an awful lot of them were fumbled right before my eyes. It was painful.
What does that have to do with the concert? Nothing, I suppose.
I look back and I tend to remember all of the great times from my 20's. But I also easily forget that most of those moments were tied together by long bouts of loneliness and feelings of rejection and an overall sense of utter failure that followed me around through every single doomed romance...no matter how many ways I insisted to people that I was neither angry nor lonely.
I beat myself up a lot for being so obsessed with Type O Negative back then. But those emotions were exactly what Type O's best music was all about....feeling worthless and channeling those frustrations in stupid, macho, self-destructive ways. Songs like "Burnt Flowers Fallen" "Can't Lose You" and "...Bacchus" were, in fact, forcefully simple and romantic and honest in confronting that dreadful feeling that you may, in fact, be a failure as a man.
So, yeah, maybe I went a little overboard.
But its kind of silly to deny that it spoke to me....especially at a time when I was practically paralyzed and muted by insecurity.
Or should I say....Frozen?