A Mix Tape For Done Baby Lisa


On the left is me, early 1971.  I call her Done Baby Lisa.

I’d like to believe that my 6-month-old self was already DONE.  WITH ALL OF IT.  I have often joked that I came out of the womb old, cranky as hell, and wanting to watch “Wheel of Fortune” because I have HAD IT since before I could even express exactly what that is.  What it is that I’ve had it with.  Or something.

My mother gave me some backstory to the ’71 photo.  The photographer, in her words, was a “twit,” and I, even at a mere handful of months old, was “able to sense it.”  So even my own mother knows how DONE I’ve always been.

On the right is me, yesterday.  Done Baby Lisa and I are one.

Over the years, I’ve attempted to curb my, um, “DONE-ness,” as it were.  I have come to understand, from various workstudy students and interns with whom I’ve worked over the years, that I am kind of scary.  At first.  Then I’m just cranky-but-loveable.  But I really don’t like to think that people think I’m scary.  I’m really not.  I’m just….armored.

The problem is that I’m just not the type to write gratitude lists, meditate, do hot yoga, or tepid yoga, or any kind of yoga, really.  I hate most “folk” music, herbal tea, and those fakakta angel coins they keep in dishes near the cash registers at gift shops.  I live in a perpetual state of mild irritation.  Thankfully, my nearest and dearest find it amusing.

I have a bunch of playlists on my iPod, at the ready for when I need Done Baby Lisa to be a little less…done.  Sometimes New Wave/New Romantic does the trick.  Sometimes it’s darkwave, classic goth…maybe a little mid-to-late 80s industrial.

TANGENT:  A few years ago I got into an argument with Mark Hosler about a lot of the music that I hold near and dear.  He maintained that much of it just didn’t want to make him shake his ass.  In fact, he ended an email exchange with me thus:  “THE EIGHTIES HAD NO ASS.”  And I remember sitting there sputtering at my screen, so outraged that I didn’t even bother with a response, so I’m guessing that Mark still thinks his word is final.  It isn’t.  Because I was listening to “The Politics of Dancing” this morning, and damned if it didn’t make me shake my ass, albeit in a 40-something white woman way.  Ass, or lack thereof, is subjective.  You just don’t make sweeping generalizations about ass.  Don’t make me trot out Done Baby Lisa.

You know what I did not too long ago?  I made a MIX TAPE.  My friend Brendan was recovering from surgery, and – being the caretaker that I am and all – I thought it would be a nice, antiquated, quaint thing to do.  No matter if he doesn’t have anything to actually PLAY it on.  It is damn hard to find blank cassettes.  Actually – no: I was able to locate them fairly easily at CVS.  It’s just dealing with the LOOKS that people give you when you’re buying them.  When was the last time you made a mix tape?  If you’re like me – it was probably around the turn of the century.  I’d forgotten how much concentration goes into making one of these.  The timing of it all.  Wanting to fill all 90 minutes.  You got just a little bit of tape left, like maybe 2 minutes, so you throw this on there:

It’s an investment of time and energy and knowledge, making a mix tape.  It’s not the same as pulling together a playlist, where you’re not limited and you don’t necessarily have anyone but yourself in mind.  Tracks have to be carefully selected.  Because you can’t “shuffle” a mix tape.  It tells a story, it sets a mood.  It gives reason to hope, then dashes your expectations.

Is it meditation?  I guess it is.  I should make them more.  Make one for Done Baby Lisa.

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