Driving back to Olympia from Spokane is always somewhat trying. First of all, it means I am on the downhill of my yearly outing to my longtime friend Tim. It also means that I am finished running the Lilac Bloomsday race, browsing in The Kitchen Engine (gadgets!) and eating at restaurants – childfree – in my glam, sequined tank top (it was only five dollars, so I accept that the sequins rub my upper arms and make them bleed a little). So the denoument aspect is difficult, plus the worst place to denoument (it’s a verb in this instance) is across the wide and lonesome length of I 90 that traverses Lincoln County. Oy, but it’s a tedious stretch of highway that reaches to hell and back.
But I had the blessed good luck to happen upon a classic rock station and in an instant, my momvan morphed into Michael J. Fox’s DeLorean, and I was back in the bubble-skirted, high-haired 1980’s, minus the angst of adolescence. I was getting to thrash my tamer version of big 80’s hair to Hall and Oates, without having to worry if my boyfriend Bob liked pretty blond Rachel more than me. Of course he did, or he should have, anyway. I heard Gerry Rafferty’s Right Down the Line and I knew I had happened upon my true radio home. I have felt – and not just since I hit 40 and entered my soft rock years – but ever since I was seven, that I was Stevie Nicks in a former life. Does she need to be dead now for me to have been her in a former life? Do I need to believe in reincarnation for that to be possible? Well, never mind all that, because I WAS HER.
Recently, my eight year old received a Barbie from a friend. I have mixed feelings about the queen of dolls (not least because she resembles that long ago source of nail-biting, hair-flipping anxiety, Rachel) but laying that aside, I was astonished and affronted to see that the doll, who I accused of wearing an insanely tarty outfit, was, upon closer inspection, actually wearing a shrunken version of MY PROM DRESS from 1988. But you know what? Though Barbie has a decolletage for the ages, she doesn’t have the pink bow I wore in my hair that was – no exaggeration – nine inches across. It was the giant Australian bat of bows. Pteropus conspicillatus pinkus. I see it now, taking flight over the dance floor, gliding to the Fine Young Cannibals and coming to rest softly as Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” begins to blast. If I could turn back time (which Cher seems to have done, by the looks of her), I would probably still wear that pink, denim strapless with my red tresses blissfully uninformed of the laws of gravity that would eventually bring them, and so much more, down to earth.
As I was having my nostalgic, groovy experience driving across the farmlands of Eastern Washington, I started wondering what I ate in the 80’s. The image of an enormous, Dominoes pizza with extra cheese came instantly, greasily, to mind. At least in my 40’s, though painfully aware of gravity with its myriad cruelties, I am smarter about food. Thanks to my parents, I did eat a lot of garden vegetables in my formative years. But then I spent Friday evenings with my boyfriend (you know, the one who flirted with pretty Rachel – keep up!) consuming those larded up pizzas followed by pints of Haagen Daas. I was also well into my addiction to chocolate mousse. My fear is that all that saturated fat will catch up with me someday and drop like an enormous, glistening anvil, settling upon me in a shuddering glob. Oh to be Barbie or Cher for just a moment, immune to entropy.
Be sure you click on those bitchen song links. Listen to the music while you make this darker version of the chocolate mousse I made in high school. This is neither a sadder, nor wiser dessert choice. It’s heavier than the 80’s version and less sweet, with just a hint of bitter edge to keep it interesting. We are, apparently, what we eat.