Suffering With a Nice Soundtrack
Eleanor here introducing you to a designer who never ceases to inspire. She requests to be referred to as Chelly Rivers and she sizzles with imperfectionless élan. Not an ounce of her presence feels contrived. No airs about her. She’s truly one of the only people whom I would describe as effortlessly chic. I’ve watched her make a bikini out of seashells, a halter neck out of nautical rope, and a skirt out of a few strips of pastel fabric. She possesses an originality that Instagram influencers, cool guys, and scene kids alike wish they had, only to emulate instead. Her artistry, as with many of The Gifted, partially derives from a heavy dose of internal suffering — but you would never infer this from the unabashedly feminine silhouettes she sews with jewels and glitter. She’s emo Lizzie McGuire, down to the iconic crimped bangs, accentuated by a metallic scrunchy. Although I’m loathe to inflame her suffering, I can’t help but appreciate its resplendent fruitions. Especially when her turmoil produces a treatise like the one below: Suffering with a Nice Soundtrack. Read on and empathize.—Eleanor
All the earth-toned linen ensembles paired with those ugly dad-on-vacation leather sandals in this neighborhood exasperate my aura. Me? I wanted to keep it subtle today so I wore my neon orange iridescent pants whose material would best suit a gymnast at the olympics, but whatever. My sloppy cartwheels suffice. Like every sleep-deprived, anxious millennial, this morning I need coffee. I make my way to this San Francisco neighborhood’s super-cool-super-punk-super-loud spot. Aside from the overpowering metal music, it’s great. I love the angsty barista who is also displeased with its patrons. A large crowd of people always stands by the door, making it unbearable to get coffee — and the people in line love to brag about who they know in this neighborhood. It’s the key to coolness. Grabbing coffee becomes a gossip gathering event because this coffee spot is mecca for trading information: so and so knows this woodworker, so and so slept with this surfer. I unwillingly overhear, I don’t participate. Today, I make my way past a group of skaters whose energies scream commitment issues and an Instagram influencer who is taking photos of herself drinking a latte (she could do without that big hat of hers, to be honest). I order from the angsty barista as he bangs his head to the metal blasting in the background.
“Uh, room for cream?” says the barista.
“Uhhhh, okay cool,” responds the barista.
I collect my black coffee and bounce the fuck on out of there. I read somewhere that people who drink their coffee black have psychopathic tendencies. If you ever go on a coffee date you should casually bring that up. Sip your black coffee and stare right into their eyes. I tried it once, I think I scared him off. He stopped replying to my texts immediately after. Or maybe it was because I said I wanted a Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake themed wedding. Anyways, back to my suffering: I live in a what you would call a “curated” neighborhood. We have a co-op that sells the smallest avocados for 2.99, each. [Insert “Can You Believe” meme here.] The co-op also sells cleansing sage kits to get rid of the negative energy in your home and don’t forget to pick up a tarot deck to go along with your organic carefully selected kumquats! Its only redeeming quality might be the hot dads that shop there, otherwise it’s terrible. There is one hipster-esque guy that works there who is such a dick to me for no reason. I hope he reads this. Sorry if my dayglo orange pants offended you.
How does one cope with all this neighborhood’s curated pretentiousness? Kari Faux’s “No Small Talk.” I love suffering to a nice soundtrack — and I don’t have AirPods. I’m a fashion designer. It’s hard finding a job in a city dominated by tech. I settled for anything that would cover my living expenses. So I work at an overly curated vintage/new modern concept store, in, you guessed it, the same hyper-curated neighborhood. Perhaps I deserve this, my penchant for neons and all.
As a designer, I can’t resist criticizing every single item in this store: it carries ceramics that all look identical but are somehow made by different people. Either the ceramists are afraid of creating something genuine or they are playing is safe by following profit. I really can’t tell. It seems like every three or four days, I hear a complaint about the overpriced vintage. Let’s just say that you could find those same shirts and jeans on eBay for less than half the price of this store’s tag. I’m able to read at work, which is nice. Today I brought, “The Portable Nietzsche.” I suspect that Nietzsche, the most famous depressed person, also drank his coffee black. I thank my fellow Libra for helping me to disconnect from my surroundings.
On days I forget a book I sincerely attempt to listen to conversations without judgement, but it’s so damn difficult with our clientele. Moms converse with each other about what kind of vegan cheese they’ll give their unborn children. Influencers take photos of the store’s famous greenhouse and use purchased VSCO filters for their succulent photo postings. A lot of women talk in that super annoying dialect which resembles a Kardashian, and they think they’re above you because they can afford $400 clogs (distasteful clogs, I should add). The other day someone got mad at me for not being talkative enough.
I have experimented with many a coping mechanism. Microdosing and Princess Nokia — I said it, I tried it for a week. Princess Nokia says “Don’t you fuck with my energy,” and I took that solemnly. Microdosing sort of worked, until the sheen wore off: for a about a week, I was able to converse and overhear unbearably awful conversations without breaking a pencil. Only a macrodose could relieve the rage I feel when I’m in this store. So, like Neitszche, I’m still suffering: in this store, in this neighborhood, in this world. I’m trapped in a soil-colored, oversized hat wearing, latte sipping bubble. I’m leaving soon, but I fear that I might lose my mind in my last few months here. When I finally depart, you’ll see me burning sage on the corner of 47th and Judah St. clearing the neighborhood from it’s evil. Wearing headphones. Disconnected, suffering to a melodic, almost redemptive soundtrack. If you, too, take solace in a suffering soundtrack, I made a playlist. Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t, but may you never encounter expensive avocados and may I not get fired from writing this. —Chelly Rivers