I'm Dating my i-Pod

I am deeply in love with my i-Pod. You know how the ad campaign shows people dancing around while listening to their little silver music contraptions? That's accurate. That does happen. I just did a little dance for Ernesto because Liz Phair's "Why Can't I" came on during my shuffle selection. Ernesto was not impressed. Really, though, it's crazy that you can have every single song you love all in one place. I didn't realize that I knew so many songs that make me want to stand up and shake my money maker. Still, I tend to listen to the same artists over and over again--Liz Phair is one and also Aimee Manna and my worst, worst guilty pleasure is Kelly Clarkson's Since U Been Gone. I like a song that uses bad grammar. (Now playing: Scandal's "Goodbye to You.") I should write an essay about how certain songs remind me every time of one person or another. And so for just that song, I'm thinking about whoever the "he" is (almost always a "he"). Lots of guys in my life who either have good taste in music or who happened to be around when a particular song was popular. Just a few off the top of my head:

R.E.M.'s "Strange Currencies" reminds me of Chicago and dating M.D. , a bartender/writer ten years my senior who also had a serious drinking problem (Absolut vodka on the rocks). He was a tough Italian guy with a deep romantic streak. I think he bought Monster for me when we were in the midst of breaking up. Here are a few lines from that song that sum up our relationship succinctly: "And I don't know what you mean to me/I want turn you on, turn you up, figure out, I want to take you on...These words, you will be mine." (I might be getting some of that wrong. Michael Stipe is a bit of a jumbled singer). He couldn't get it together; he tried, but by the time he wanted to get me back, I was done.

Liz Phair's "Why Can't I" reminds me of M--I was listening to that song a lot when he was around. "Got a girlfriend you say it isn't right...What it is is just the beginning (note: more bad grammar). We're already wet and we're going to go swimming...It's inevitable, it's a fact that we're going to get down to it." He did have a girlfriend in fact when we met and for the remainder of our knowing each other, but we had this instant attraction that seemed impossible to resist. "Why can't I breath whenever think about you/When I can't I speak whenever I talk about you..." etc. Coincidentally, when he left, the song that applied most aptly to our relationship was Liz Phair's "Fuck and Run." (Sorry, mom).

And then there are all those songs from the 80s when I had horrible crushes on high school boys. "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" reminds me of the blue Converse sneaker wearing RD who played keyboard in a Christian rock band and was the only reason I was (fakely) saved twice. We had this low level flirtation for about four years and finally, finally kissed. I wrote him about a mini story about it later--using a game of tennis as a euphemism for our making out entitled "Will You Still Lob Me Tomorrow?" He didn't find me amusing. He once told a mutual friend that he couldn't date me because my chest was too big. I guess God doesn't approve of buxom girls. He married a demure girl who wore Laura Ashley dresses and really did want to be saved from Jesus.

The Outfield's "Use Your Love" (or whatever it's called) brings back Jimmy Deputy--he was a senior who went to a different high school and was always the star of the plays and musicals. I'd see him a couple of time a year at the high school Thespian competitions. I tricked him into going out with me--it's sort of a long, convoluted story. I used to work at a beach tourist shop and had this really silly friend, Shannon (I have her memorialized on my iPod with the song "What Have You Done for Me Lately..." She owned an old Dodge Dart that didn't have a stereo so we would drive around listening to Janet Jackson's Control on a portable tape recorder. She always changed the lyrics and would sing things like "What Have You Done for me, Stanley?" We knew a Stanley. I thought she was the funniest person in the world and she could also do hair really well because her mom was a hair dresser). Anyway, Shannon and I worked together and one night, we prank called Jimmy Deputy, using a British accent and pretending to be a girl he'd met at a Christmas party. "I am staying on the beach if you want to meet me at the Shirt Cellar." He fell for it and showed up. I pretended to be surprised to see him, asked him what he was doing there. He made up an excuse and then took me to buy a yogurt. If he ever figured it out, he never said. He drove me home and jokingly dipped me at the front door and kissed me in a sort of pretend romantic comedy way. It was the best.

Oh, and Basia's "Time and Tide" is TB--another person who was older than me. I was 18 and he was 26 when we met. I thought he was so grown up because he listened to Basia and Sade instead of like Twisted Sister. "We've got time/Oh baby there's no rush/Gonna be a better day for us. Hang on and I will wait for you" Yes, he was involved with someone else too. "Don't want to hurt anybody, but can't help loving you." I truly believed that. Oh, also "Tom's Diner" I guess because it's a sad song about someone waiting for her lover to show up and there's a line at the end "...I am thinking of your voice." I waited for him for a long time but once again, by the time he was ready, I had moved away, to another state in fact.

Probably my biggest obsession in college was another drama major, MC. So handsome--curly hair, bright blue eyes, and always a flush of blond stubble on his square jaw. We once made out on the darkened theatre stage where they were putting on a production of some Russian drama; he was, of course, the leading man. He once said to me, "You're a puzzle." I had no idea what he meant--I thought I was as transparent as a ghost to him. He would go away and come back and sometimes, he would seem not to know who I was, but other times, he would look at me like there was no one else in the entire world but he and I. The funny thing is that I can't at the moment remember what songs belong to him. Oh, okay, yes, more R.E.M. songs "Losing My Religion" because there's a line in it like "That's me in the corner...That's me in the spotlight..." Maybe that's just because he looked a little bit like Michael Stipe, although not as gay. Also, "It's the End of the World as We Know It." Impossible to listen to that song without dancing around like Armageddon is around the corner. Seriously, I challenge you to listen to that song without moving to the beat.

Comments

Liz said…
I got my first kiss when I was 12 to the song "Heaven" by Bryan Adams. He kissed me with tongue - which I thought was slightly gross to begin with AND he had bad breath, which made it worse. I didn't kiss another boy until I was a junior in high school. But I still think of Ryan every time I hear it.

And I think of the last Boy I Loved everytime I hear Tracy Chapman's "The Promise" ["If you wait for me / Then I'll come for you / Although I've traveled far / I always hold a place for you in my heart".

I just never know which of us travled far and which of us is waiting...
Aimee said…
I dated a guy in high school who had the worst breath ever---I think he had some issues with post nasal drip. And of course, he wanted to kiss all the time. I learned how to hold my breath which only made him think I liked him more than I did, because when we finished kissing, I'd be like gasping for air.

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