Saturday, December 8, 2012

No. 544 – The Carpet Crawlers

Performer: Genesis
Songwriters: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford
Original Release: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Year: 1974
Definitive Version: You’ll Love Us Live, 1980

When I left for college, Scott, who had been confined to Jin’s room after she moved out in 1981, called the Pink Room because of its hot pink carpeting, reclaimed his old room, which was my room, of course. Then, sometime in 1985, or maybe late 1984, during my junior year at Wabash, Scott moved to the basement.

The basement at the condo on Carriage Hill Lane was just a cement block foundation, divided into three areas—one had the laundry and furnace, another was mostly storage and the third was a romper room of sorts where carpeting from previous homes were used as rugs to cover the cement floor.

Scott’s move seemed natural: There already was a double bed in the romper room as well as the pinball machine. The laundry room had a full fridge, and Scott had built a train layout in the basement; it more or less was already his room, anyway. All he had to do was move his computer—he got an Apple II for his 12th birthday—and he was all set.

What I didn’t know at the time was Scott moved to be as physically far away from Mom as possible and still live under the same roof. He kept his clothes in the bedroom, because the only full bathroom was on the second floor, but otherwise he could come and go and have as minimal contact with Mom as he desired. It also seriously curtailed any late-night rants that Mom might start up.

This move was hugely beneficial for me. Now, with Scott in the basement, it became much easier to sneak Beth up to the Pink Room for late-night activities.

Mom, I didn’t really care about. She was in her own world and usually passed out half the time anyway, but it always bothered me that Scott was next door and might be able to hear us. It definitely would have bothered me had the roles been reversed.

Beth and I tried to be as quiet as possible in those situations, but I’m sure we weren’t completely successful. In retrospect, the obvious solution was for US to go down to the basement, but Beth didn’t like being down there at night—too dark and creepy for her. And, of course, I wanted what she wanted.

Anyway, when Scott moved to the basement, he took over the space and made it his own. One thing he did was remove all the photos from my Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues and tape them to the walls.

This didn’t bother me as much as it might have; this was my karma for doing the same years earlier with Dad’s Playboys. (However, I didn’t hang the centerfolds on the walls of my bedroom, of course.) The first time my friend Steve saw the basement, with its swimsuit-model wallpaper, he immortalized it as The B***-off Room.

And when I’d come home for break, Scott and I would be down there, playing pinball or Lode Runner with the bootleg You’ll Love Us Live playing almost nonstop on the record player under the smoldering gazes of Kathy Ireland (Scott’s fave), Paulina Porizkova and Elle Macpherson (my fave).

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