I recall my ex-husband not playing well with others. I had discarded all my friends and moved to a new city for a guy who wanted to go the rest of his life without making another single friend. He had moved to California from the East Coast when he was eighteen. He had decided that all of his true friends and family were thousands of miles away and also happened to reside in the past. He had trapped himself behind a wall, thick brick, laid in the past. He couldn’t be present, but then again neither could I, so it only made sense our energies locked on to each other. Locked together living in past lives, hardly creating one of our own. It was like pulling teeth to get him to have any sort of social life. He hated doing things with my family, he had hardly any friends of his own, and then when we had a family of our own he then had new excuses why he didn’t want to do things as a family. He longed for the years of his youth, he always shared his distaste of California any chance he got. Yet somehow I was turned into a “nagging housewife” for wanting to go out for the weekend to the beach, go visit my cousins in Folsom, or gods forbid take a trip to San Francisco, he hated San Francisco and shared his distaste any chance he got. My energy was at an all time drain. I was in my early twenties when I had decided to put my life on hold before it had even begun and completely changed my life to fit the needs and desires of another. It became more important for my husband to receive his reward of solitude for working his forty hour a week job. A job that he had already been working for years before we met. But it was imperative that he have time to himself to play his guitar, watch NASCAR every weekend, and play X-Box. He even had an entire room to himself, his fortress of solitude. OK then. Time for me to find some friends.
I longed for like minded peeps to share my interests with. Most of my old friends were shell shocked that I had gotten married and then shortly after, eight months to be exact, became a mom. My friends were mostly full time working forever students exploring themselves and happily going about their lives. Before I got married I was involved in my local community and was trying to keep alternative arts and music a thriving part of the local culture. I decided I wanted to reconnect with some folks in the local music scene and wanted to get back into it. Thanks to Myspace and an odd connection being one of my husbands ex-girlfriends, I had made contact with one particularly wonderful orb of energy, Alese Osborn. I felt connected to her. We sent groovy messages to each other and eventually started talking on the phone regularly, she had mentioned that I reminded her of a friend of hers I must meet, who happened to be Shannon Shaw, “you should come see her band.” And as luck would have it by the time my son was two, my husband had no problem asking me to find a baby sitter so I could drive out to West Oakland to go to house parties and delightful dive bars by myself and he could stay at home and play NASCAR on X-Box. That became a regular routine once or twice a month. I enjoyed expressing myself fashionably, but like clockwork every time I would go to leave, he would put the controller down and pull me close to tell me I couldn’t leave the house looking that hot. I always wanted him to go with me, he did a couple times and had a fun time, but he would forget. He was ultimately jealous of everything I liked that wasn’t him. He would make sure to poke the eye of my fun and share his distaste every chance I let him. Cause really that’s what I did, I allowed him to drive me nuts. He would make hella fun of all the shit I like, even down to my hats and tiny blazers, but especially the bands I like, because they weren’t him. Marriage is weird. One time he told me, “you are lucky I allow you to go do these things.” People who feel they are not in control of their own life enjoy controlling the people in their lives that allow them to. I did not go out seeking sex, drugs, just rock n’ roll. I enjoyed the comradery and energy of the people and the music when I went out.
I was a young mom living in a new town with no more close friends. I had always been highly social since I was a lass. It made me well equipt and ideal for my derailed station in life working retail, waiting tables, and hospitality. Attempting to socialize in the workplace, more specifically, the restaurant industry never bodes well. My own personal insecurities have been on the verbal diarrhea setting of my loud speaker for a long time, people with complex confidence issues are easy to control. My husband fueled my insecurities as mean of control, and it worked for many years. My insecure demeanor had effected a lot of my friendships growing up, I was fairly easy to manipulate and hurt. I’ve always been selective about who I let close to me, and they are the ones that end up hurting the most. My Grandpa Don was worried about me at times when I was a little girl, “Jewel, they’re gonna eat you alive.” He and my grandma didn’t like most of my friends, he saw how they used me. We had a fairly frank discussion one day discussing my new favorite vocabulary word by the pool in the Walnut Creek sun at my grandparents apartment when I was ten. Hypocrite was a very enlightening word. He shared with me about the real world and how people are deceitful and use their power over others for their own hidden agenda. But he recommended I go with the program, study hard, and be the good sweet little girl I am. I loved that man, I even became a Young Republican in high school to make him proud. He was from a different place and time. After I got married he gave me a copy of Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.” Though I refused to read the book, I was a good girl, good at ignoring my internal conflict and going with the program. I was always good at making the best of my situation and ignoring the radical I had hidden inside. I was good at playing the program, but in the end game I was only hurting myself. Good girl, my do I have issues with men calling me good girl. I am now a thirty year old woman. Unless you are in my bed and I haven’t socked you in the face for calling so, you do not have the privilege. I am no girl. I am now a grown ass woman.
The nights I spent with “Shannon and the Clams” were mostly rather charming and innocent coming of age tales. Yes, there were two accounts of a man-boy creatures kissing me on the mouth without permission while I was out at a show. And each time of mouth to mouth molestation, an affliction I suffer from being adorably affable, I told my husband. I needed a clear conscience, and also make sure he heard it from me directly cause there was nothing for me to hide. He and I had even talked about how getting married so young left a lot of living we felt we still desired, and that if he or I were to ever JUST kiss someone it was no big deal, that we would be honest and trusting. Boy, was that a flipping mistake, cause of course it was somehow my fault, cause how could I have put myself in that situation in the first place? He was livid and I allowed him to always dredge up the past and throw it like sand in my eyes and place heavy projector beams of blame directed at me. Mind you, after I came home from any event I would make sweet, sweet fuck to my husband, I always made good on my maternal duties. I never hooked up with or chose to kiss anyone at the shows and parties I went to. I had a hard on for the feeling I got making friends and enjoying nights I had never gotten. Well, sufficed to say, I fell in love, hard with “Shannon and the Clams” those years. Hit up every party and show I could. I always felt that I was made for the 60s, and “Shannon and the Clams” helped me feel it, but more importantly made me feel like was right where I belonged. In the right place and in the right time. It was a sound just for us. For me, Shannon, Cody, and Ian embodied the soul of misfit romantic rejects. I would dance my heart out and slow dance to “When You’re On” with one of The Shaw Brothers. I met some of my best friends going to those shows. I eventually made a bunch of friends from Napa whom would pick me up in Vallejo on their way to a shows in the East Bay. I learned a lot about myself and know that those were necessary social experiences for me and luckily came with a killer sound track. “Shannon and the Clams” have great fans, even when I go to shows now and have to wait in a three block line to get in, I know it will be worth it cause I know not only will the night’s soundtrack be great, but the people are always beyond swell. I am done caring what other people think. My ex-husband would always bitch and moan and share his distaste for the bands and musicians that I liked, but would predictably on average about a year of me infecting his ear drums, spontaneously end up being a huge fan. He loves “Shannon and the Clams” and mostly apologized for all the smack he put me through, even asked me about a month ago how he could get his hands on the album with the song that has the lyrics, “All I hear are dinosaurs sighing..”. As you get older it’s truly harder to make friends. Trusting is no longer an option for some. Some even result to making friends sign non-disclosure agreements to make sure the gossip stays one way. True friends don’t make friends sign non-disclosure agreements, another group that don’t make friends sign NDAs, anarchists. “Shannon and the Clams” saved my life while I served time as a good and faithful wife.