Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Lyrics in This Post Do Not Reflect the Beliefs of the Poster

One of my more endearing characteristics (and by endearing, I mean entertaining to people in close proximity to me) is the fact that I sing along with songs oblivious to the lyrics and surroundings.

I don't know how I manage to sing along with songs for years and not actually pay attention to the lyrics, but I do this often--and they are usually songs that I should really pay attention to. When I was in college, I used to go jogging around the mall every night. I always listened to the same tape on my Walkman--Best of Police--and would try to sing along to Message in a Bottle, Every Breath You Take...One night, about three months into my running ritual, I was listening/singing to Don't Stand So Close to Me (which I loved), when I stopped dead in my tracks, started laughing uncontrollably and turned to run back towards my dorm. I ran into the building, up the stairs, burst into my room, where my roommate was curled on the bed reading, and announced, "You know that Police song? They're referencing Lolita! He's singing about a teacher who has a crush on his student!!"

My roommate barely looked up from her book to give me a deadpan look and asked, "How long have you been listening to that song?"

"Three or four months. Why?"

"You should pay attention to songs you sing along to. It's very entertaining, but you'll get yourself in trouble one day."

Of course, I still haven't lived down this incident. When we visit, she asks if I have discovered any hidden messages in old songs...

She was right. Years later, I was working at an Italian deli/market where I usually did everything that wasn't directly in contact with customers. I was helping with the bookkeeping, marketing, inventory, web design and menu designs. I shared the tiny office with the owner and was watched carefully by the almost all male staff who couldn't make heads or tails of what I was doing. They were all nice to me, but generally kept their distance. I mean, what would you think of a spiky haired young woman who works in the back room of a restaurant, wearing 'fancy pants'; one who eats her pizza with a fork and knife and who doesn't talk about her personal life?

All of this changed one day when I was doing inventory. I had my headphones on and was listening to the local Alternative Rock station. At the time there were two songs in heavy rotation, Limp Bizkit's Nookie and Korn's A.D.I.D.A.S. On this particular afternoon, they had played the two songs back to back--and I was singing along, pretty close to the top of my lungs, blissfully oblivious of the audience that was gathering at the doorway to listen. I have no idea how long they were there (ALL of them), but I'm assuming they got an earful--why else would they start applauding and whistling at the end of the song? I would like to say I handled the situation as gracefully as could be expected. I jumped out of my skin when I saw there was a crowd at the door (more applause and laughs), looked at them with a little confusion and asked if they needed to get anything from the storage room. To their credit, they just laughed and walked away, with one of them saying I should sing more often (of course I was flattered). It took me about a month of being asked questions about what I like to do after work by the guy behind the deli for me to figure out something had changed that afternoon. I finally asked the only other woman at the store what was going on and why the guys were always looking at me funny.

"Oh, they all think you're a nympho."

"What?!? Why?! Me?!? What??!?!"

She looked at me like I was mentally challenged. "I think it is because you were screaming, 'All day I dream about sex.' in the storage room last month."

"What? I did not!" Pause. Think. Panic!! When I realized for the FIRST TIME what I had been singing.

It is so sad that my school schedule no longer allowed me to work regular hours soon after that.


Lilly said...

I totally do the same thing- realize 15 years later what I've been singing, word for word, in a particular song. Another fun "oh my gosh, I didn't know *that* was what it's about" song is More Than Words by Extreme. Which I sang (with all of my heart) at a Star Studio at Six Flags many moons ago.

"saying I love you/ is not the words I want to hear from you...more than words/is all you have to do to make it real/then you wouldn't have to say/that you love me/ 'cause i'd already know"

he's guilting her into sleeping with him!!!!

girl with curious hair said...

Brilliant! I'm glad I'm not alone--really I am. Maybe I should make a website with a warning about the lyrics of songs people sing along to...