I’m having a quiet week this week and do you wish I’d say “week” more? My boss is out, for one thing, and for another we’re wrapping up a huge project we’ve been working on for months. Not literally. I don’t have the Scotch tape out.
As a result, I have found myself oddly devoid of anything to do so just now I wrote a project manager. “Need any help?” I asked her.
“Well, we need fresh eyes on the ATR report,” she said.
You know what I have? Expired eyes. Nevertheless, I said, “Does the ‘R’ in ATR report stand for ‘report’?”
“Yes, it does,” she said, abhorring me, as everyone does.
So, whilst I’m waiting for the AT report report, I’ll tell you the story of the damn bandanas.
On 4th of July weekend, I went to Winston-Salem, as I am wont to do, to attend the Rebel-something festival. I can never remember what we’re rebelling against. I mean, originally, we were rebelling against slaves not being slaves anymore, and go, South. Good job. But now this festival is basically a rockabilly festival and I don’t know why they don’t just call it that since that’s a lot less horrific than calling it a Rebel-whatever festival.
So, what they have, see, at the Rebel-whatever, is old cars lining the streets, and people dressed in rockabilly clothes, and also music and burlesque and one year they had a psychic booth that I went to and I wish I could find that particular psychic again because she was amazing. Don’t you hate the word amazeballs?
Every time I go to the Rebel-whatever, I long to do my hair in rockabilly, and wonder why I am so dull, and vow to learn to tie my hair up that way.
So THIS year, still inspired after the fest days later, I dragged The Poet to Target with me to purchase a bandana. Why? Mostly because she made the mistake of calling me right then. Next thing she knew, I was screaming up to her place, as she lives 3 minutes away, and pulling her unwilling poetic self into my vehicle. Look, I bench 30 now. I can force a teensy poet into my car, no problem.
Did you ever go look for something that IN YOUR MIND you assume is still available in droves, even though you haven’t bought that thing in 14 centuries? Like, you just assume you can go buy an inkwell or cauldron or powder for your wig or what have you because you did in the past, and surely inventory at a store doesn’t change.
I remember craving these Carnation Instant Breakfast Breakfast Bars, and do you wish I’d say “week” more often or “breakfast”? Anyway, I craved them, as they were soft and giving like my bosoms, and when I went to the store I realized there was no such thing as Carnation Instant Breakfast Breakfast Bars for breakfast during the week anymore.
This was also the story with shopping for bandanas.
In my MIND it was still 1985, when everyone was just tying their hair with bandanas, or using them to let other gay men know if you were a top or a bottom and so on. In fact, I was relaying this pertinent info to The Poet as we entered the Target that I Patty Hearsted her into attending.
“You know, in the ’80s, gay men tied their bandanas this way and that, as a code for other men to know what they were into.” I’m the Cliff Claven of man love.
“I didn’t know that,” said The Poet, who spent the ’80s playing cello and thinking about poems. And also working at our workplace, as she has been there forever. She used to have to wear suits, as we were a business-dress place for a very long time. When I started there, it was business. NOT business casual. We dressed up to copy edit report reports.
“Now, where do you think bandanas are?” I asked, as I was still fresh and full of life then. So certain I was moments from being knee-deep in bandanas.
“Probably women’s accessories,” said The Poet, who was dreaming along with me at this point. The Stockholm Syndrome had set in.
…Hunh. Bad shoes. Bad purses. A few necklaces.
“I don’t see any bananas,” I said, assuming they’d be right around the corner.
“Let’s go to men’s,” said the optimistic Poet.
…Hunh. “Look at all the men’s underthings,” I said, and we admired young bucks in boxer briefs. I mean, not in real life. I’d have led with that. On the boxes of chonies were men in boxer briefs, looking into the distance, proud and manly. “Won’t you enjoy my underthings?” they all seemed to say.
“I’d have thought there’d at least be bandanas over here,” I said, expecting that men across America take a bandana with them to work, with their lunch pails and their newspapers. I don’t know why I assume everyone lives in 1942 but there you go.
“Let’s try sports!” This is a thing I have never said before, and it is also a thing no one has ever said to The Poet before. We took our unsportsmanlike behavior over to sporting goods, where one could find kettlebells, which I manfully lifted to show The Poet how I can bench 30. We also saw croquet sets and yoga mats and 6,412 metal water bottles, but do you know what we did not see?
“They must be in camping,” intoned The Poet, who kept hope alive. Why would you need a bandana for camping? I guess if you had a stick and a knapsack on your back, valderee, valderaa, your knapsack would indeed be a bandana. Perhaps we could try the hobo section next.
You’ll be stunned to hear that amongst the LED lanterns and mosquito repellent there was not a bandana to be found.
We headed to the outdoor section, because you know how often you decorate your lawn in bandanas. Over there was a ceramic banana with a succulent growing out of it. Oh, THAT they had. But a simple red bandana? Or even someone from Simply Red WEARING a bandana? Holding back the years and maybe a spare scarf for me to rock out with my billy out? No.
“Yes. Where are the bandanas?” I finally asked an employee, who was born on 2018.
You’d have thought I’d have asked where the tiddlywinks were. “Yes, can you direct me to the sassafras?”
The employee, who was born after AOL was invented, directed us back to women’s accessories, even though his handheld device did not say any bandanas existed. “Try over in scarves,” he said.
On our way there, we paused, as we were growing weary. “Mr. Target has not walked this store and thoroughly as we have,” I kvetched. As I paused to gather myself, as if I had reached base camp in the Himalayas, I noted a plush toy that was a sort of cute avocado.
What in the millennial.
“I want to avocuddle” the plush toy read.
“Why is this necessary in life?” I asked The Poet, who had begun to look wan.
In sum, because my report report is here, we were at Target for one hour and found (let me do some math in my head) ZERO bandanas. We found one scarf with a sort of bandana pattern, but it was the size of a dollar bill.
Eventually I hooked up The Poet to an IV so she could regain her strength, dropped her at home where she promptly changed her number so I could never contact her again, and drove home, got on Amazon, and 14 seconds later had a set of 18 bandanas on their way to my house.
And by the way, I tried to rockabilly one in my hair and looked precisely like Sammy Hagar, so further reports as YouTube tutorials warrant.