Two Elon alumni (2002) have pooled their talents to bring excitement and joy to your day. One is a classy woman who combines her Italian and feminine powers to influence men of all shapes and sizes. The other is a tall blond man who relies on wit and boyish good looks to impress women, especially when they're drunk. Join them in their epic pursuit of the phenomenon known as adulthood. NoSalesTax side effects may include addiction and abrupt laughter as colleagues look on in confused jealousy.

Monday, March 28, 2005

A few memories

I find it eerie and comforting, but also bittersweet and yet still, lovely- that so many memories are made out of, founded in, cause by, or accompanied by music. All the proms and breakups, holiday parties and summer days we would forget, or at least not know how to hold onto, if some particular song didn’t lock that moment into our heads every time we heard it.
Here are just a few songs and they moments I relive every time I hear them:

“So Happy Together”, the Turtles- I can smell chlorine and feel the anxiety of going to swim team practice. The song makes me feel nervous and excited all at once, like I did when I was 8 and unpopular, yet so in love with water and the backstroke. My ears stuck so far out of my swim cap, and I just knew that if I ever grew into them, I’d get made fun of just a little less- making life more bearable while knocking .3 seconds off my best time. Swim team was the first thing I think I ever loved and hated at the very same time.

“North Carolina”, Petey Pablo- This ridiculous song reminds me of my senior year at Elon. The roomie came down to visit me and I brought her to this horrible frat party. All the boys in the hair gel, tight shirts and freshly bought tans danced to trendy techno music and hit on girls that were nothing like me and the roomie. But we went and we smiled and we even had fun. When the song came on (North Carolina! C’mon and raise up! Take your shirt off! Twist it round your head, spin it like a helicopter!) the roomie did just that. As if taking a cue from the drunken messy frat boys, she too, whipped off her sweater and swung that thing round her head, just like a damned helicopter. It made me fall in love with her all over again- this lovely girl who could make me feel at home in a place I had no business being. A girl who could make fun of herself and a song and everyone around her, including me, at the same time, and make it feel so fabulous to laugh. It made me feel like we were in high schools again, in our band uniforms, stomping around to some dumb song…realizing how silly we were, that it was ok to be silly, and that no one around us was nearly as cool as they thought.

“Taking you Home”, Don Henley- The summer after senior year in college I returned home to Delaware and did what most successful, bright eyed, optimistic college grads did- started waiting tables. After a few months I picked up a day job at a department store- I worked in visual display, so most of my job entailed putting up signs, dressing mannequins, setting up displays and playing in store windows. It wasn’t a bad job- I was moving around for 8 hours a day (and usually another 7 or 8 at night at the restaurant), I got to satisfy my crafty urges and gave my input on designs. When I started the job, I was ending a relationship. Said “relationship” had been on and off and this time, finally was off for good. And while my love for the person had been pulverized by ill will, cheating, lying and general shitiness, a part of me felt empty. A part of me felt like 3 years of giving my all had been flushed down the toilet. A part of me wanted my ex to show up at my door a new and improved man, sad about what he had lost and ready to give me the kind of love I deserved. It never happened.
I got to work each morning around 7 am, and the first and worst part of my job each day was changing signs that hung around the store, from the cathedral ceilings. I learned to carry around a 12 foot tall ladder by myself. Seriously, sometimes when people ask what the most difficult thing I have ever had to do was, I think of those moments.
So I’d carry this ladder all around the store, carefully as not to break china or perfume bottles, and I’d maneuver it up into the air. I’d climb up the 12 feet of rungs to the very top of the ladder- the place you were not supposed to stand- the place my boss told me to stand, as I surely did not want to have to carry around a 15 foot ladder by myself.
I’d climb to the top, balance on my tip-toes and change signs. And I’d start to sweat.
And it was at these highest elevations that “Taking you Home”, this horrible, cheesy, middle-aged song would blare from the department store speakers, conveniently located on the ceilings, usually right next to the signs. I’d stand up there, tired because it was early, nervous because I could fall, exhausted because I’d spent most of the night before cleaning up salad dressing off of the restaurant floor, and I’d listen to the sad, sappy lyrics of this song. Every day, it seemed, the song would play at my weakest moments high atop the ladder. Sometimes I would tear up. Sometimes I would curse out loud. Other times I would just close my eyes for a second and wish I was anywhere except there, in that store, praying someone would come rescue me. A few times I wondered what life would be like had I fallen. Maybe I even wondered if I should make myself fall.
When I look back now, when I hear that song, I laugh at the desperation of a 21 year old, who felt like her life may have ended, when really it was just beginning.


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