"Up on the Roof"

Tonight on American Idol (yes, I’m one of the girls who’s secretly in love with Scotty McCreery) they sang songs written by Carol King (who is a freakin’ legend, what a woman)! And Scotty and Lauren sang her song “Up on the Roof” that The Drifters actually made a hit.  But, the whole plot of the song is that the people in the song, get away by going up to the roof of their homes.  In my imagination, I’m seeing a tenant building with flower pots and clotheslines hanging from pins on the small beams of their back porch.  A heating and cooling unit is sitting in the window while it’s open because it’s summer and a woman who’s been working all day, on her heeled feet, has just came home – thrown her purse on the floor next to her kicked-off shoes and is pouring herself a glass of milk from the refrigerator.  And all this woman can imagine is going up the fire stairwell and climbing that last, flat ladder up to the square hole of the roof where she can sit on her one lawn chair and look at the tops of buildings around her.  She can see birds on the wire, the bits of receipt paper in the streets when she looks over the edge.  But, she’s someplace where she feels peaceful.

And I’ve always thought (since my first apartment actually) that everyone needs a place where they can go and escape from their daily routines, or their to-do list, or that creeping voice inside their head that says you have all of these things to do and you’re sneaking up a metal ladder to a closed-off-from-the-public roof.  Who do you think you are?

We’ll I think you’re (ab)normal, you’re stressed, you deserve a whole view of the city, bare feet and a glass of your favorite cool-down drink.  You deserve a chunk of ice on your neck, your hair a mess.  To finally unbutton those too-tight pants and spread your legs (ignoring everything your mother said about being lady-like), flaunting those polka-dotted underwear to the sky. Everyone needs that get-away time, some more than others (I’m pointing to myself as I type this one-handed).

Personally, I like my car with the windows down (even in Winter, it’s like I’m asking for a cold) as my go-to escape place.  I like to blast some Taylor Swift, or Janice Joplin, or “I want to dance with somebody” sung only by Whitney and sing along and let my hands make ocean waves in the air passing over the car.  I love the feeling of my hair flying around in the wind (except when I’m wearing lip gloss…for obvious reasons).  I love to dance and flip my hair like I’m the only girl in the club and all the men are slobbering while they shine shot glasses at the bar (probably the least feminist thing I’ve said all day).

I just love my car, it’s my own space.   My mom always tells me to clean it and I keep a plastic bag for trash (mostly food remnants; napkins, used forks, plastic trays).  There are a lot of hairs stuck to the floor matts and I’ve had the same pink dice since I got my first car at sixteen.  And that makes everything, very much my own.  So what if I can’t fit a cup in my cup holder because it has an Australian voo-doo doll keychain, a gold bracelet from Puerto Rico and a few hair clips?  So what if half my closet is in my backseat?  This is my own space.  And I think everyone deserves their own rooftop, or their own back seat, their own little nook of comfort where they can cry, or cheer, or paint the walls with side walk chalk.

To sum everything up, go out and discover yourself, in the small spaces of your own creating.

8 thoughts on “"Up on the Roof"

    • cassiemannes says:

      I’d love to live in a fort, or a treehouse, or just have a gigantic porch with rocking chairs and hammocks to share when I grow up. Perfect thing to do without a bed. I love your style. : )

  1. bea mannes says:

    I enjoyed this blog! There is another song…one of my personal favorites…from the Cinderella play. I believe the title is “In my own little Corner”, and I think you know the song. To this day, that song can take me away to a place where I can’t be bothered, worried, or stressed. “Just as long as I stay in my own little corner, all alone, in my own, little chair”

  2. Brenda says:

    Like Virgina Wolf said, we need a room of our own ( or secret place). Mine is and always been atop my bed. It’s were I write, where I read, where I sit to listen to music, to just be. Lovely post!


  3. wosushi says:

    When I was a teenager, there was a tree on the edge of the lake down the street from our house. I would climb it with a book, or a notebook and pen in hand, and escape for hours.

    It’s been a while since I have had a spot to myself (having a baby does that apparently) but I completely agree with driving, windows rolled down regardless of temperature, and some tunes. :)

    • cassiemannes says:

      I love imagining someone’s “me” spot in a tree. That’s amazing. Yesterday when I went for a walk, two girls yelled down hello to me from a tree. That’s what it reminds me of, I guess. Glad you still have a special place to relax and sigh, and fantasize and anything these places do for us!

  4. Jean Kelchner says:

    Good thoughts here. In my novel, Backstage at the White House, the First Lady would go home to Mississippi where she had a Pondrin Tree. “She would close those mossy curtains, climb up high off the earth and shut out the world ’til she could deal with it. I raised my 3 children in a large English Tudor that had lots of nooks and crannies for those times when one of us needed space, but, I agree, my car is that special space for me. I love to get in it and just go, just me. I once read that the only thing that truly belongs to a woman is her car, the one thing that she can truly call her own.


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