Sunday, July 10, 2005

That's Entertainment!

Well Azrael and the Teen Peeps (Sounds like a '60s band) are off down at the lake this afternoon, so I thought it was prime blogging opportunity time - even though it's SUPPOSED to be prime working working working and finishing stupid transcriptions time.

Hopefully they don't all come back with pneumonia. I mean it's not exactly 90 degrees outside. And it is Washington. And they're just wearing SWIMSUITS ferchrissakes! And you can take the kids out of my sight but I'll still worry about them because that's something mothers do. I have this sneaking suspicion that fetuses excrete a parasitic worm which burrows into the host mother's BRAIN and makes her forever fret and pace floors and worry about all the minutiae of the child's life until the day she dies.

So I'm here, suppposedly with stupid insurance claims running through my headphones, while I type, type, type my fingers into nubs. And instead my earbuds are feeding me The Jam in great big creamy earfuls. That's Entertainment all right. OH YEAH!! The Jam hit at the right time in my life. Late '70s, early '80s. The years when I was young, free and single and wanted carpets and not kids. That really did use to be my catchphrase at that time. Of course, by the time the Jam broke up, I was married with a year old daughter, but that's quite beside the point!

I have a good musical sense memory. You know what I'm talking about? When you hear a song from ten or twenty or even - god...it pains me to admit it....THIRTY years ago, and are instantly transported to a point in time when these songs were new and being played over whatever kind of crappy wireless or stereo you had at the time? Not just - oh yeah that was 1980, so let's see, what was I doing then? More along the lines of closing your eyes and knowing that you were listening to this song while you were crouched in front of that tiny mirror on the front of your mother's china cabinet - the only mirror in the whole downstairs - and getting your face on to go to work in the morning.

I bought an old Carpenters CD last year, and made the mistake of listening to it for the first time when I was in the van and ferrying one of the Teen Peeps to one of their school activities, when a song came on that had such a powerful sense memory attached to it that I had to pull over until it was done. The song was "Maybe it's You" - 'Maybe it's you...maybe it's me...maybe it's just the constant rhythm of the sea...maybe it's just that I've never been the kind who could pass a lucky penny by....' All of a sudden I was 5 or 6 years old and sitting on my older sister's bed in our shared bedroom. She was in there with her friend, and I was feeling so privileged to be allowed in the same room, since they were a lofty 13 or 14 at the time. My sister was a HUGE Carpenters fan, and they'd purchased this Carpenter's LP which they were playing on the old and decrepit Decca she had. This was like a big box with a speaker that's not much bigger than most modern radios in ther front grille of the box. But it was portable - if you call something that weighed 40lbs 'portable' - and even had a carrying handle in the front grille. It was white with a red base, and at the time was the only 'stereo' we had in the house! It was summer, and our bedroom floor was linoleum and loved to catch the dust. So as I sat there quietly on the bed, basking in the joy of admittance to the inner sanctum of teenage girls, I watched the dust motes dancing in the air like the fairies our mother always conned us into thinking they were. I could smell that hot and dusty room as I sat in my brand new van which should have smelled of leather seats and brand new van-ness. And not until the CD had moved on to the next track could I bring myself to get back out into traffic again.

This doesn't happen with every song I hear. Which is probably a good thing, or else I'd be stuck in a room with bouncy walls and eating meals with a spoon. But when it does it feels like a gift. Like now...back to the Jam...."Going Underground". Sitting watching them on Top of the Pops with the smell of the bacon and eggs we just had for dinner still lingering in the air. Loving the politicism and activism of the lyrics and making plans to go down and chain myself to the fence of some US military base in southern England in protest over the nuclear warheads they had stored there. Back when I wanted carpets and not kids.

Back before the parasitic worm entered my brain and I abandoned politics for Playschool and activism for ABCs. Back before I realized that you don't need to chain yourself to fences to make a point about nuclear arms. Instead you can educate the generation that follows you to have a global conscience and care about their fellow planet-sharers.

All in all, it's a decent compromise. I have Teen Peeps who can't wait till they're old enough to vote and make a difference. Who know about politics and activism and the lessons of Live Aid and Roe v. Wade. Teen Peeps who can sing the words to more Jam songs than I can.

And That's Entertainment!

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