Thursday, June 02, 2005

I Tunes

I hate four-day weeks. Whatever benefit I get from a day off is negated by my confusion for the rest of the week. For the last three days, I’ve been acting like someone with an undiagnosed concussion, plaintively and worriedly asking everyone “What day is it again?” and “Is it street-cleaning day?” and “Are those trash trucks I hear? Is it Trash Day? Did they change Trash Day…!” I get very fragile during four-day weeks. Sometimes I cry.

My brain’s ability to create an ongoing soundtrack, however, remains unaffected.

Maybe it has something to do with always being about the same age as the characters in a John Hughes movie (only I was never as neatly categorized into Snotty Popular Girl or Cool Outsider With Great Fashion Sense), but there is no event in my life so small that I don’t have some mildly relevant song chorus going through my head. You will note I didn’t say “Appealing song” or “Enjoyable song”. My brain offers up, at most, four lines of some song I never knew that I knew, and plays it until it sees something else it can set to music.

Let’s follow an average day.

In the morning, I flew into Daughter’s room, switched on the light and told her “You need to wake up so we can get going”. My ever-vigilant brain leapt into action and repeated “Wake me up/Before you go-go/Don’t leave me/Hangin’ on like a yo-yo” for the next hour.
I got Daughter to school and headed to the grocery store. Listening to the news on the radio, I heard the report there might be a link between Viagra and vision loss. My brain, never lazy, offered me “She Blinded Me with Science” (“Good Heavens, Miss Sakamoto, you’re beautiful!”). After a half-hour, my brain sensed I was ignoring it, and switched to “I Enjoy Being a Girl”, which might have had something to do with being relieved that I am not the Viagra target audience. Unfortunately for me, the only lines of the song I remembered were “When I have a brand-new hairdo / something something curls / something something rhymes with hairdo / I enjoy being a girl”. My brain, confident that I was incapable of thinking of anything else, played that quatrain for an hour.
I parked at the Y and went inside to work out. A gym acquaintance asked me if was still cloudy. I answered “No, the sun is shining” and like some horrible musical only I could hear, my orchestra in my brain started the song “Mr. Blue Sky” by ELO (“Sun is shining in the sky, There ain't a cloud in sight/It's stopped rainin' Everybody's in a play/And don't you know, It's a beautiful new day.”). I was actually impressed by the inner musical director: I would have thought it would have been “Stormy Weather”. But I know all the words to “Stormy Weather”, and what fun would that be? With “Mr. Blue Sky” I was left power-walking on the treadmill while trying to do its mildly operatic chorus. Luckily, I was walking next to the guy who seems to have Tourette’s syndrome, so I didn’t stand out too much.
During bicep curls, my brain needed me to appreciate that it knew four lines to the song “Physical” so it was prepared to repeat them until I lay down and wept (In case your life is meaningless without this information, the lines I know are “Let’s get physical, physical/I wanna get physical/Let’s get into physical/Let me hear your body talk.” I believe the writer of this song is the Poet Laureate of the Outback).

A trip to Rite-Aid was accompanied by “I want a new drug / One that won’t make me sick.” Considering I was buying Metamucil, I was just grateful the reflex wasn’t “When I’m Sixty-four”.

Dry-cleaning? “You don’t have to take your clothes off/To have a good time, oh no” (Please let me be the last person who actually knows any words to this song)

Picking up Daughter from school, I noticed one of the second-graders has been allowed to get highlights in her hair. “Girl, you’ll be a woman soon/Soon, you’ll need a man”. Some combination of horror over its implications for a seven year-old and the driving need to scrub any and all Neil Diamond lyrics from my head forced me to panic-hum the dumbest, catchiest song of the year;
“A few times I've been around that track/So it's not just gonna happen like that/’cause I ain't no hollaback girl”

“Hollaback Girl” is powerful medicine. It actually kills brain cells. But it does clear out anything else you might be humming.

I Hollaback-ed until dinnertime, when it was replaced by “Food, Glorious Food” (“Rich gentlemen have it, boys -- In-di-gestion!” which says something about my culinary skills).

Getting Daughter into bed apparently needed “You’ve got to fight for your right. To party.”
Since that’s the only line I remembered, it got old really quickly.

After Daughter entered a dormant state, I went in to watch TV with Consort. Shockingly, he had found an episode of “Law and Order” on cable which had just started. This meant I hummed the theme, complete with the “Chung-CHUNG”, until eleven o’clock.
Lying bed, sliding into sleep, my brain preparing long lists of musical selections for the next day, I hear someone on the street yell to a friend inside a house:
Oh, no.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, I do exactly the same thing! My husband can never understand from what deep, dark place I pull the lines from. Those eighties songs are so mercilessly easy to remember and somehow they just keep floating to the surface.

But just think about the possibilities. Consort or Daughter could chime in with "stop me, oh oh oh, stop me, stop me if you think that you've heard this one before....."

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only one who sang the "Food" song from Oliver! Of course, I only know the line "Food, glorious food."
Actually, what I do more frequently is SAY lines from obscure movies or tv shows. Maybe it's a 30-something thing...

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a few short years, Quinn, you may actually appreciate this inner DJ, because singing a few lines out loud is a great way to counter-annoy a teenager.

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can dance and PARrty all night and drink some cherry wihinnnnne ...


12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear, we need a support group. I honestly didn't know many others had the same soundtrack affliction. Anyone seen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? DON'T think about the "Willie Wonka" song if you want to maintain thoughts about anything else. And I hate to admit it, but I knew that awful "take our clothes off" song too. So I guess there are at least three of us. Quinn I think it is actually "we" don't have to take "our" clothes off. My husband and sister often call me when trying to think of an annoying lyric or artist or title. My husband says it's quicker than Google. I am deeply ashamed of the portion of my brain which harbors such useless trivia. Here's a song which nearly drove me over the edge: "All Star" When that song was in it's heyday I finally refused to go anywhere in a vehicle with my young nephews, who knew every single word and wanted to listen to it OVER and OVER and OVER again..........maybe there's a new drug for this problem, ooops!
"I want a new drug"............AAAAAIIIIIEEEE!!!

9:02 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yes, but has anyone ever denied knowing a certain lyric? I have, on occasion, pretended to forget the lyrics to something, just to keep some dignity.

Her name was Lola,
She was a showgirl.
With yellow feathers in her hair
and a dress cut down to there...

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well music and passion was always in fashion, at the Copa.........yes, (head held down low) I have denied embarassing knowledge. Last week when my husband called from from the gym because his personal trainer (the term makes me nauseous too) was going crazy trying to think of the title of the unfortunate one hit wonder by the Georgia Satellites. All he could think of were vague refrains of the melody, which was driving him nuts. I pretended to act like I would think about it and called him back and told him KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF. The more I think about it I'm actually quite proud of this ability! Thank you for making me aware of the precious gift of useless trivia we share.

12:00 AM  

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