I Regulated Warren G
I used to be stupid at music. I mean STUPID. Seriously, I discovered the Beatles during my senior-year bonfire when I urged my friend that he wasn’t fat as he recited “I Am The Walrus.” It’s not that I didn’t enjoy music; I just had zero capacity for putting name to song. When asked about my musical taste, I would sputter off something like, “Music, hmm. I enjoy listening to it. And sandwiches.” It was that bad.
I mainly blamed my deficiency on growing up with a family-limited playlist of Pavarotti, Shania Twain, and Brazilian tribal drums. To give you an idea of the person I was before I became aware of my lacking in the music department, imagine hair feathers, face paint, and a wide-eyed girl running through her kitchen in an Amazonian skirt, thinking everything was totally normal.
Was I made fun of? Absolutely. Was I embarrassed? Well, let’s just say it was like a color-blind person slowly coming to the realization of their delusion. It’s a slow progression. You make mistakes that people snicker at, but aren’t big enough to point out, until one day, you dye your hair nuclear red, when in reality it’s booger green. It’s a horrific awakening.
It was a curious play by destiny that I emerged from teenhood dating an engineer-turned producer whose experience included the likes of Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly, Gucci Mane, and others that I Wikapedia-ed at the time and don’t remember now. Looking back, I have come to accept that my music-ignorant subconscious was the one who picked this boyfriend in an attempt to assuage my deep insecurity.
After dating for a year, he was hired on as a producer for an independent record label. This was followed up by him proposing we move in together. I said yes. He said that we’d have to move to the suburbs. Umm, sure. And we’d be sharing the basement of a mansion with a recording studio… not sure what that means.
For those of you who desire to work in the music industry, or even for those who like music, this situation might seem ideal. We lived in the basement of a HUGE house fit with marble countertops, mahogany flooring, a fireplace, and acres of backyard woods; the works, basically. This would have been awesome. Except it was not awesome.
A few days after our move, after all my things were where I like my things to be, the house was about to spawn a devil child in the black hole of its womb. The child was called Studio.
Time does not exist around Studio. There are things like Pringles, couches, Evian, and fat grape blunts. But there is no time. Consequently, a recording session can last for hours within hours, full days passing before someone notices that their mind is a wasteland of sleep deprivation and loop jizz. When this happens, some will succumb to plushy couch slumber while glassy-eyed others will soar well into their 7th tier of mania, anticipating the moment when BIG SHIT happens.
Living with Studio, however, and not giving a shit about it is like being perma-sober and sleeping in the mind of Rick James. Forever.
Once Studio was born, the basement kitchen became the neglected big brother of the house. There was a constant flow of artists, engineers, radio DJs, and other music industry gurus who loved Studio and consistently neglected the kitchen. I don’t blame it entirely on them, however, because it was my boyfriend’s job at the time to delegate treatment of the house. He did not do this and I was not about to run around my house being the super commando-bitch everyone rolled their eyes at. So while my boyfriend remained the cute producer guy who took care of Studio, I slowly disintegrated into my own personal shell of loathing and discontent. The kitchen became my place of solace, and I often succumbed to cleansing purges whenever the smells of hot microwave spluge and gelatinous chicken grease began to emit toxins.
The kitchen and I developed a strong bond through our shared neglect. The time came, however, when maintenance seemed futile and I submitted myself to dwell within the belly walls of Studio’s abyss. I convinced myself that the crusty yellows of condiment spills and McDonalds fries were at least tolerable hidden within the dark. I was compelled at this point to sit at an inconvenient and little used counter of the kitchen to do my school work. It was an odd comfort, but kitchen was there for me when I needed companionship and a small dark space to fuel my curmudgeonly state, dirty hair, and newfound addiction to LOST.
Then Warren G happened.
When Warren G came on board, everyone was convinced that it would take the label off the ground, thereby affording me and my boyfriend a separate house to live in, sans Studio. Warren G hadn’t created a new album since 2005 and everyone was anticipating a groundbreaking comeback. I was very well aware that this could be my ticket out. (You should know, however, that he has yet to create a new album and visiting Studio happened just a year before his male enhancement promotion with Chris Kanik. But that’s not what this story is about.)
Before Warren G and his posse arrived, I was told that the basement, including my sacred kitchen, should be more or less off limits while they were in town. I was more than perturbed about this, but willing to make the sacrifice if it meant escaping Studio.
The night of their arrival, I secluded myself in the bedroom where the only thing separating me from the rest of the basement was a pair of glass doors draped in curtains. I heard a rumbling from the stairs. It sounded like a lot more than Warren G. Oftentimes when we had new company, I resorted to turning off the lights and lying on the bedroom floor while peeping out from underneath the curtain. It’s a creepy thing to admit, but it was what I succumbed to at that point in my life.
When I peered out from the bottom of the door, I saw four large ambling men precede a rather thin fellow. They were all carrying large grocery bags filled with chips, dips, beef jerky and beer. I figured the thin guy was Warren G because he wasn’t carrying anything and he wore a chain. The lips on the other four men also looked too large to rap properly. The four men were obviously not hesitant to make themselves at home as they plopped themselves down on my couch and took to perusing their phones. It was L-shaped and could easily fit seven normal sized people, but the four of them barely fit.
Warren G followed my boyfriend to see Studio while the pack remained planted on the couch, probing each other for the number of someone named Cube.
The night dragged on, as nights tend to do when Studio is awake. I crawled away from my peephole at the base of the curtain and took to personal activities while I listened to the guys on my couch mumble parts of songs, and occasionally interject that Cube was on the way. They were in the process of writing Warren G-type lyrics to the B.o.B. and Bruno Mars hit, “Nothing On You.” The lyrics they came up with, however, were hardly agreeable. I had assumed they just needed a little help from Molly, but I wasn’t trying to back it up like that.
It came time for me to venture out of the bedroom for bladder relief and food. I walked out, said a casual, “What’s up?” and almost caved into myself when I saw the mountainous spills of chips and Solo cups on my counter top. And I’m not just talking about the range of junk sprawled across parts of the kitchen. I mean MY personal kitchen-corner counter of debauchery was littered with onion dip, Doritos, and other cheese powdery flakes of flat, fried potatoes. I never even knew that chips could smell that bad. I was so revolted that I didn’t bother to use the bathroom, but went back to the bedroom and stood in the middle with my arms crossed to think about my life.
What had I become? Was I so lodged in the bowels of Studio that I had lost my personal identity? I ran my fingers through my hair. I needed a bath. I fell into deep contemplation of how Studio, which can be life affirming for some, was so toxic to my system. I thought about running out of the house and living in the woods for the rest of my days. I could make friends with deer and eat berries. I could cross the Bering Strait on my way to India, learn to catch a fly with two fingers, and live in a meditative state at the base of the Himalayas.
As these thoughts swept through my mind, I thought of the time a week before when my boyfriend convinced me to smoke Salvia. I ended up on the shore of the Island with Jack, Sawyer and Kate. I was holding onto the floor because of the spinning, or what I prefer to remember as the time travel quakes. I was on the shore of the beach, though, and my fingers dug into the sand, trying to hold on to something grainy and intangible.
“We have to get back to the Island,” I shouted to my boyfriend. But he wasn’t there. I got my footing and ran towards the forest to find him. I realized where he was when I turned toward around and saw a gaping black hole covering half the sky. It was Studio. My eyes narrowed to mean slits as I shot up two middle fingers, and yelled, “FUCK YOU!” Then I took off into the forest.
I came to around the time the Studio-hole receded and the sky began to glow once again with brilliant sunlight. But with my sobriety came the reality that Studio still existed, and my boyfriend was still deeply lodged within. Somehow, I couldn’t discern the difference between the Salvia trip the week before and my HeluvaGood® French onion meltdown. It all blended together in a fractured space in my mind.
I walked to the double glass doors and pulled back the curtain. One of the guys on the couch threw Skittles up in the air and tried catching them in his mouth. I couldn’t understand how he missed, but he did, and the innocent rainbow pearls found themselves lost within the folds of his butt.
I looked over to the kitchen and saw Warren G. He somehow managed to pull a chicken out of the pile of snacks littering the table. I studied him as he swept a ribbon of greasy meat through some mustard on the plate my grandfather made me for my birthday. He languidly chewed the chicken, rubbing the tender strips across the ornate, hand-crafted design.
I opened my door and walked toward the kitchen. I must have had some crazed look in my eye because Warren G stopped mid-chew and put the plate down on the counter as if he were caught holding something a robber threw in his hands. I stood in front of him as he cleared his throat, rubbing his palms together.
We both stood still for a moment before I said, “Are you Warren G?”
“Yes, I am.”
The staring continued.
He cleared his throat again and said, “Thank you for letting us use your house this week.”
I tried to smile, but managed a twisted grimace through my psychosis.
“How is the chicken?” I asked.
“That’s a nice plate that you have.” A squeak was barely hidden in my voice.
“Oh, yes. It’s a really nice plate. It’s got this tight pattern on it.”
“My grandfather painted that for me.” I stared at the yellow sludge and blue porcelain galaxy bearing a bone and peels of fat. I continued, “I’ve actually never used that plate because I wasn’t sure if it could be washed.”
Warren G pursed his lips and it looked like his balls receded. He stuttered, “I’m sorry, I didn’t--”
“I’d appreciate it if you and your boys cleaned up after yourselves when using my kitchen. Just something to think about.”
Warren G didn’t say anything, but stood there while I walked past him to the bathroom.
I closed the door behind me and sat on the side of the tub. I looked over at the shelf of fizz balls and bath melts that I’d neglected over the past few months. Reaching to turn on the faucet, I watched as the water poured out in icy splashes, billowing to a steamy waterfall.
I grabbed a purplish-blue bath melt and crumbled it into the water. The surface turned to a milky froth and I took my clothes off to get inside. I sunk into the frothy tub as the water lapped along the line where my skin turned from caramel cream to a fervid pink.
The heat made me tense with goose bumps and I breathed in a vaporous mixture of bergamot, lavender and musky flesh. The scent was carnal and intensely revitalizing. My senses came back to me like the first taste of nourishment after drought and starvation. It was then that I realized that it was time for Studio to get the fuck out of my life.
When my bath was done, I wrapped myself in a towel and walked back through the kitchen, steam trailing from my skin. It was my home, dammit. I shouldn’t have to dress after a bath to walk to my own bedroom.
As I passed my old corner counter top, I saw Warren G at the kitchen sink washing dishes. The plate my grandfather made me, sans mustard swirls, was sitting out to dry on a dish rack. I noticed that the chip bags were stacked neatly together, and there were no more dip spills on the counter. My boyfriend came into the kitchen and halted when he saw me in my towel and Warren G washing dishes. He gestured an alarmed arm-raising question of what-the-hell-was-going-on.
I looked back at Warren G, and then back at my boyfriend.
“Shit’s gotta be regulated sometimes,” I said. And then I sauntered off to my bedroom, relaxed, composed, and feeling substantially human once again.
By the way, Cube never came.