Surprise! - That's Rich on the right.

Surprise! - That's Rich on the right.

One of the things that was pretty cool about this time was that our bands had started working together.  Once Footstone finished in the studio with Ray, and the results were strong, that seemed to open the floodgates.  Before long, Foostone and cuppa joe had played a few shows together, and the bands were all going to see one another play.


Oral Groove released a CD on their own label; Ditch Croaker played their release party with them.  Footstone had a party at their rehearsal studio and Melting Hopefuls came to hang out.  Rich’s band played a gig at Paul’s Bar, and some members of the various Dromedary bands came to see them.  

It seemed like every weekend there were a handful of people, going out to see a band somewhere, or hanging out together at Maxwell’s or Mario’s or ACME, or even just at our apartment.

It was a small community of friends that were starting to hang out together, which is a big part of what we had been hoping to achieve when we started the company.  Whenever a small group of us got together to go somewhere, we would invariably run into another small group.  Before long, there was a small crew of people, frequenting the same clubs in Hoboken or the Village.

I almost didn’t notice that Frank or Kenny (another mutual friend) had sort of moved on; after our visit to Frank’s beach house and a similar debacle that happened at Sandy’s family cottage on Cape Cod, we had drifted apart from Frank a bit, as our interests were beginning to diverge.  Our closest-knit group included Rich, Sandy and me, and at various times we’d hang out with Rich’s friends Dave and Matt, or with Ralph and Mark, and sometimes Steve.

It was against this backdrop that Rich, who aside from briefly being infatuated with the lesbian singer in one of his musical projects never had a girlfriend for as long as I knew him, called me one Sunday morning.

“So, umm, I met someone,” he said.

“Yeah?” I asked, confused.  “Who?”

“A girl,” he explained.

It took a few seconds for this to sink in.  “A girl?” I asked, incredulously.

“Fuck you, yeah, a girl,” he said. 

“Where did you meet her?” I asked.

“At the mall.  She was selling balloons.”

Rich, super-cool hipster guy and zine publisher, most intelligent person I’d ever met, coiner of the phrase “indier than thou” and competitive snob, met a girl at a New Jersey shopping mall, where she was selling balloons.  I always thought of Rich as the kind of guy who was way too cool to bother with romance, way too busy to bother with dating, and way too hip to expose himself to the trappings of a relationship; that he met someone at the mall – the ultimate badge of consumerism and overhyped, overblown pandering to the masses, was the most ironic thing ever.

“You’re going to marry her,” I stated.  There was no doubt in my mind.

“Fuck you, let me talk to Sandy,” he said.

I laughed my ass off.  I brought the phone to Sandy.  “It’s Rich,” I said.  “He wants to talk to you.  He met a girl at the mall.”

She looked up at me.  “He’s getting married,” she said.

I laughed even harder.  She took the phone and listened to Rich tell her all about his new girlfriend, Lissette.

“He’s not ready for us to meet her,” Sandy said, after hanging up.  Sandy was Rich’s female perspective – Rich’s mom had died very young, in her thirties.  He moved out on his own at an early age, and never really had that female perspective.  In a way, Sandy was a mom to Rich, despite being the same age.

“He’s not ready?!” I asked.

“Nope.  He wants to let the relationship grow a little,” she said, “And then he’ll let us meet her.”

~ by Al on March 10, 2009.

2 Responses to “balloons.”

  1. Yay! Another Rich story!

  2. […] time for us to meet Lissette.  Lissette was Rich’s girlfriend, the one he met while she was selling balloons in a shopping mall.  We had never met anyone Rich had dated; in fact, as long as I’d known […]

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