Tonight on American Idol (yes, I’m one of the girls who’s secretly in love with Scotty McCreery) they sang songs written by Carol King (who is a freakin’ legend, what a woman)! And Scotty and Lauren sang her song “Up on the Roof” that The Drifters actually made a hit. But, the whole plot of the song is that the people in the song, get away by going up to the roof of their homes. In my imagination, I’m seeing a tenant building with flower pots and clotheslines hanging from pins on the small beams of their back porch. A heating and cooling unit is sitting in the window while it’s open because it’s summer and a woman who’s been working all day, on her heeled feet, has just came home – thrown her purse on the floor next to her kicked-off shoes and is pouring herself a glass of milk from the refrigerator. And all this woman can imagine is going up the fire stairwell and climbing that last, flat ladder up to the square hole of the roof where she can sit on her one lawn chair and look at the tops of buildings around her. She can see birds on the wire, the bits of receipt paper in the streets when she looks over the edge. But, she’s someplace where she feels peaceful.
And I’ve always thought (since my first apartment actually) that everyone needs a place where they can go and escape from their daily routines, or their to-do list, or that creeping voice inside their head that says you have all of these things to do and you’re sneaking up a metal ladder to a closed-off-from-the-public roof. Who do you think you are?
We’ll I think you’re (ab)normal, you’re stressed, you deserve a whole view of the city, bare feet and a glass of your favorite cool-down drink. You deserve a chunk of ice on your neck, your hair a mess. To finally unbutton those too-tight pants and spread your legs (ignoring everything your mother said about being lady-like), flaunting those polka-dotted underwear to the sky. Everyone needs that get-away time, some more than others (I’m pointing to myself as I type this one-handed).
Personally, I like my car with the windows down (even in Winter, it’s like I’m asking for a cold) as my go-to escape place. I like to blast some Taylor Swift, or Janice Joplin, or “I want to dance with somebody” sung only by Whitney and sing along and let my hands make ocean waves in the air passing over the car. I love the feeling of my hair flying around in the wind (except when I’m wearing lip gloss…for obvious reasons). I love to dance and flip my hair like I’m the only girl in the club and all the men are slobbering while they shine shot glasses at the bar (probably the least feminist thing I’ve said all day).
I just love my car, it’s my own space. My mom always tells me to clean it and I keep a plastic bag for trash (mostly food remnants; napkins, used forks, plastic trays). There are a lot of hairs stuck to the floor matts and I’ve had the same pink dice since I got my first car at sixteen. And that makes everything, very much my own. So what if I can’t fit a cup in my cup holder because it has an Australian voo-doo doll keychain, a gold bracelet from Puerto Rico and a few hair clips? So what if half my closet is in my backseat? This is my own space. And I think everyone deserves their own rooftop, or their own back seat, their own little nook of comfort where they can cry, or cheer, or paint the walls with side walk chalk.
To sum everything up, go out and discover yourself, in the small spaces of your own creating.
I am a writer, educator and genuine creative living on the coast of NC. Our house is built on sunshine with my husband BJ, dog named Tucker, and our two very sassy cats: Fromage and Jasper.