On Second Thought
Lisa Germano - Geek the Girl

for better or worse, we here at Stylus, in all of our autocratic consumer-crit greed, are slaves to timeliness. A record over six months old is often discarded, deemed too old for publication, a relic in the internet age. That's why each week at Stylus, one writer takes a look at an album with the benefit of time. Whether it has been unjustly ignored, unfairly lauded, or misunderstood in some fundamental way, we aim with On Second Thought to provide a fresh look at albums that need it.

"hi this is the story of geek the girl, a girl who is confused about how to be sexual and cool in the world but finds out she isn't cool and gets constantly taken advantage of sexually, gets kind of sick and enjoys giving up but at the end still tries to believe in something beautiful and dreams of still loving a man in hopes that he can save her from her shit life.........ha ha ha what a geek!" -- Lisa Germano

She didn’t know much, but when she was young and it was winter, her yard used to be full of snow. Through it all, she remembered the snow. Like Charlotte Douglas in Joan Didion's A Book of Common Prayer, young Geek's memories were entirely limited to those which she found beneficial in sustaining the image of her previous way of life.

But of course, she never looked at it like that.

Her childhood was not at odds with that of her Indiana peers. Suburban life. Only child. Parents trapped in a loveless marriage. Adolescence. Fumbled buttons in Ford backseats. She was unprepared. "I'm frightened by the way you feel." Tattooed arms leveling a backhand to her cheek. Her first, and not her last.

She never learned about power in school. Or prayer.

Nights would often end with soaked pillows, and cries of "I hate myself." When she came home late one night, her father was standing at the foot of the stairs. He looked at the hand-wringed blue and black bruises on her wrists, and said only: "If you are ever in trouble--cry wolf." She never did. They said that "she asked for it." He said--during--"You want it, you just don't know it." One such night, after He dropped her off, rain pouring down upon the roof of the car, He leaned over the passenger seat as she stepped out and said, pushing back a curl of her hair, "Say you loved it." She stared at the rain drops racing towards the windshield's edge, imagining each spermatozoa shaped drop as an individual entity simply trying to survive: to escape the swipe of the wipers fateful hand. She crossed her arms and never looked back.

That night as she lay on her bed, hands clasped behind her head, she closed her eyes. As her eyelids shut, she instantly felt as if she were in a room much larger than her own; a bare, sterile and white room with only her bed in the bottom corner. The feeling of emptiness overwhelmed her and she opened her eyes to the reality of her own smaller room, but the sensation lingered.

Years passed and our little Geek now found herself on her own. At night she would frequent clubs to feel cool, but she knew the truth--she hated sleeping alone. Even when she was a child she would always curl up with the life size teddy bear her father had won her at the fair when she was a child, cradling it she would place it firmly between her thighs.

A steady boyfriend more than once lent itself to obsession. Her long dark hair, coy mannerisms, and obsequious tendencies attracted the flotsam of bachelorhood. She was just what they craved: young, naive and curious; a beautiful wreck. After attempting to break off one such relationship, where the man in question was becoming increasingly dominant, our little Geek simply stopped picking up the phone. She stopped going out. She didn’t know what else to do. The ring of the phone soon became synonymous with a malignant chill throughout her body.

Months passed. At night as she lay face up on her bed, eyes fixed to the ceiling, she would let her hand drift over the side and she would run it along the wooden baseball bat’s base. Every creak, ever groan would elicit a sharp grab for the bat’s slender handle. She would be paralyzed by fear, thinking only of the sun. “When is it sunrise,” she would murmur to herself. When she did drift to sleep, she would often awaken to her own scream—wondering if it was real or a dream. “He says he loves me. I’m his sexy little girl princess,” she thought. She felt like a runaway--like she had been abducted by Lolita’s Humbert Humbert—only there to satisfy some perverse childhood fantasy. But what were her options? To run back to her family like He often sardonically urged her to do? No, she’ll just say she loved it like He wanted.

Thirsting for an inordinate amount of sympathetic attention from others, she often went to great lengths to get it (which she called “Cancering.”) At a family reunion when she was 12, the prototypical sticky-fingered cousin chased her ‘round the living room table, under legs and over chairs. Screaming to her mother for relief, but unable to attract her mother’s glance away from her guests--but more specifically her martini-- Geek threw herself down the staircase, landing at her mothers feet with a broken right arm and a severe bump on the noggin’ (“…my diagnosis: bad babysitting!”) She might have quit her beneficial self-destruction had it not worked for her, but she didn’t feel so good.

As she became angrier with herself and others, she continued to bottle it inside her fragile frame. In a rare moment of forthrightness she said to Him, “What makes me angry just makes you sad.” She could more than once be seen sitting on the edge of the bed after coitus with her head in her hands, eyelids clamped tightly, clicking her heels together: “I’ll ruin everything. I can’t give it anymore.”
People. All us fucked-up people
What are we gonna do
With ourselves
And our addictions
And our desire to kill each other?
Lying in the uncut grass with her face upturned to the twinkling celestial bodies, she thought about how far away they were and she finally understood their allure. “In this vague world full of fantasy,” she thought, “maybe I could be taken far away from here. Far away I could do about anything.”

By: Gentry Boeckel
Published on: 2003-10-03
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