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Me and E

Posted by on January 17, 2003

Editor’s Note, written on August 28, 2008: This entry is a made-up story about meeting Elliott Smith. It definitely never happened. Please also note that I wrote this entry long before he died, so what looks like kind of a callous lie now was just a normal daydream back then. I understand some folks are pissed about the “sellout” comment, and I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. Elliott Smith was and is my favorite singer and I intended no disrespect to him then, and I intend no disrespect to his memory now. Thanks for reading and/or linking to me and have a great day.

Yesterday I met Elliott Smith. He was standing in line in front of me at Safeway where I was waiting to pay for my apples and the good couscous you can’t get at Cala Foods. Despite having spent the last three years idly stalking him and despite owning all his albums and despite that my walls are covered with his concert posters and I have his static-cling colorform thing on my car, I almost didn’t talk to him. That’s how shy I am.

But anyway I did talk to him as it turns out. I said “You’re Elliott Smith.”

He turned around and I was cute and he said “Yeah,” in a terrified kind of way.

I said, “You stole my friend’s film.” This is true. When Maggie saw him at Amoeba in SF which was right after Either/Or came out, she had her picture taken with him (he was still unfamous enough to where you could do that) and then handed him her camera for whatever Maggie reason. Then he sort of wandered off with it. A few minutes later he came back and returned the camera, but when she went home her film was gone. So I told him this story. “I understand why you’d do it,” I said, “because if there were 24 strangers in the world with a picture of me, I would want 24 pictures of a stranger. To get even.”

He was kind of entertained by this, in the way that indie rock boys (even sellout Dreamworks-label indie rock boys) are only ever “kind of” anything, but he denied stealing her film. (It is very possible that Maggie actually forgot to put film in the camera in the first place.)

That was pretty much it. He walked me home and we talked and all. To be honest, he’s not that interesting. Or maybe we were both just too shy to say much. But at least now I am in a position to say that the new album will almost definitely for sure be out sometime soon.

Best exchange of the evening:

HIM: Not too many stars around here.

ME: Yeah, I miss that.

HIM: I used to just stare at the stars all night, just sit outside and like write songs all night and then when I wrote one I’d play it like eight times, or just a part of it over and over. Just to sort of get to know it? I guess?

ME: Sounds nice.

HIM: Yeah, but I lived in this total shithole and I had, like, a hundred neighbors and by, like, two in the morning they’d just all be screaming out the windows at me, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” You know and stuff like that.

ME: Uh oh.

HIM: Yeah, plus I was taking a lot of, like, amphetamines and different shit. So I would yell back at them but for some reason I only would yell in rhymes.

ME: Like what?

HIM: Like, um, they’d say “shut the fuck up!” and I’d say “sew the duck up.”

ME: . . .

HIM: I wasn’t totally coherent or anything. I usually had to rewrite the lyrics to most of the songs the next day with a hangover.

ME: That explains why they’re so depressing.

HIM: Yeah, I guess…

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