The Question of Waterbeds

Bank line on a Monday afternoon, ready to deposit and split. Then a gem of a cell phone snippet behind me, "Yes, hi, do you sell waterbed patches?" Of course I had to know, was it a mirror-shaded Peter Frampton fan queuing up to deposit his guitar jam fantasies into savings? A mustache-favoring, shaggy- haired dreamboat, ready to suave his move and ride the waterbed waves with his Farrah Fawcett wanna-be girlfriend, she who drops her skintight stone washed jeans on the shag carpet shores of his black light bedroom?

No such luck, or threat. While the guy does show a little chest hair, the rest of the ensemble is post 70's--nice leather jacket, tasteful silver belt buckle, jeans that don't harken back to Jimmy Carter and hostage-taking fashions.

No, he is just a guy who still has a waterbed, now with a little leak. Does his bedroom still reek faintly of Patchouli, pot smoke and paranoia (with a wisp of porno thrown in)?

These ruminations send me right back to my own impossible 70's aesthetic: powder blue bell bottoms, insane white man's afro, Levi's jean jacket, unfashionable sneakers.

Did I really show up at the old Municipal Stadium for a Rolling Stones' concert in overalls? Did I really think the mustache added charm? I swear I never went with the wide lapels, flowered or not.

But isn't everybody fashionably self-conscious and desperate to fit in, at least a little bit? With our own little view of what looks right? Weren't we all "Once that and now not" in the 70's or 80's or 90's? Fashion fixations, meta-analysis wise, are just things we wear to camouflage anxiety.  

Standing in the bank line, listening to waterbed guy get directions to the patch-selling store (of course it's on Coventry Road), I realize what I really want in this last half of my life: authenticity in every "garment" I wear and a comfortable truth in every "fashion" I endorse. And just maybe a colorful cravat to keep me in the moment.

Waterbed or not, that's what will make for sound sleep.  


  1. Okay, Luke, while you were playing around in your overalls, I was writing my first novel.

    As for waterbeds .... GAAAAHH!

  2. I'd like to see a pic of the white boy afro.

    Interesting post. Recently, I wrote a song for the students I work with about "hard work." It ended with. . . "It's time to change your fashion. . . Instead of wearing Gucci and always being real clean cut. . . I'm Home Depot with my tool belt, rolling my sleeves up."