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Friday night happy hour

  • April 18, 2009


Amy, Cindy, and I went out for happy hour Friday night. Kristi was supposed to go but she blew us off to go to a jewelry party (dude, seriously?)

At one point during the evening Amy said, “I’m going to send you a text.” That was odd since I was sitting right next to her. She’s known me since we were five so she probably figured my head would spin like Linda Blair’s if she said, “don’t look now but…..” She’s all covert like that.

The text said, “Is that Bobby from the class of ’83 sitting at the table next to us”? I turned my head slightly under the guise of reaching for my purse hanging over the back of my chair. It was him. It took a minute for me to reconcile the face of forty-four year old Bobby with the one I remember when he was an eighteen year old senior in high school. He still looked a lot like he did in high school although his goatee had more than a hint of gray.

Our high school in the suburbs of Des Moines was small enough that we pretty much knew not only those in our own class, but everyone in the other classes as well. We weren’t a particularly clique-y school, at least not in my recollection. We had the stoners, who sat out by the bleachers on their lunch hour smoking and drinking Mountain Dew from long neck bottles and then there were the rest of us. Though it wouldn’t be long after graduation before my Honda Prelude and dorm room at college would carry a hint of eu de Cheech and Chong, the thought of getting high on schoold grounds, during the school day, was as foreign to me as not taken college prep classes.

Amy said, “should we say hi”? and my three Miller Lites said, “Sure!”

I turned to his table and said, “Are you Bobby?” And he said, “Hi Tracey. Hi Amy.”

Yay! I must look just like I did in high school too.

Wait a minute. Do I want to look like I did in high school?

I’d gotten my eyebrow situation under control and my hair was much better than it was circa 1983 but still, wouldn’t it have been preferable if Bobby had been unable to place me? Then again, since I tenned my face into boot leather in my twenties I’m lucky my face hadn’t aged so dramatically as to render me unrecognizable.

Sometimes I miss the mix tape

  • March 10, 2009

Trish and I shared a bedroom until we were fourteen years old. We had bunk beds and a clock radio that we left on constantly, even when we were asleep.

If we wanted to record a song off the radio, Trish and I would hold a tape recorder, the kind with an attached microphone, up to the clock radio and hope the DJ stopped talking when the singing began.

One night, when I was seven years old, I was the tenth caller on KMGK. I won the Bay City Rollers 1974 album, Rollin’ (which contained the hit single “Saturday Night“). My mom picked it up at the radio station the next day and I played the album repeatedly on the stereo in our basement. It was one of my favorites, although I liked Shaun Cassidy’s Born Late a little bit better.

When we were fourteen, we moved into a new house and Trish and I got our own bedrooms and eventually, our own stereos. We primarily still bought albums although we slowly started switching over to cassettes.

When we turned sixteen, we inherited my Grandma’s 1972 Buick Skylark, complete with AM radio, because her driving had gotten really scary and my dad had to take her keys away. We longed for FM and a cassette player so we bought a ghetto blaster and it sat between us on the front seat as we played Def Leppard’s Pyromania cassette over and over (ghetto blaster was a perfectly acceptable term in the eighties). Some jackass stole it when we left the Buick unlocked and Trish and I were devastated because we had just put eight new D batteries in it. Our stupidity and carelessness was punished by a return to the hell of AM radio. I don’t think either of us ever forgot to lock a car again.

When I got my 1981 Honda Prelude, I spent every dime I had upgrading the sound system. I swapped out the factory stereo for a Pioneer, replaced the speakers, and added an equalizer that had a bunch of cool red lights on it. I had an impressive collection of cassette tapes, in a special case, that I kept in the car at all times.

When I was twenty-one, Stacy came to spend the night with me at my college apartment. We were road tripping to Illinois the next day so we prepared by making a mix tape to play in the car.

I remember we included Elton John’s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” and “One of These Nights” by the Eagles. My favorite song on the mix tape was Grand Master Flash’s “The Message.“ You cannot fully appreciate this song until you’ve seen two white suburban girls (who know EVERY WORD) sing it like it’s their job. If there was anything more gangsta’ than us I’d like to see it.

Somehow, our conversation was also recorded along with all the songs. Since we were completely stoned when we made the mix tape we had our favorite songs to listen to AND our idiotic commentary recorded as a “voice over” to amuse us. You could also hear a bunch of Bic lighter flicking, inhaling and coughing. It was the best mix tape ever and I am so bummed because I lost track of it a few years ago. I’m still hoping it turns up.

The offspring have never had to sit beside a tiny clock radio, waiting to hear their favorite song so they can push “record” on a crappy little tape recorder and hope the DJ stops talking in time.

They have their own boom boxes, stereos, and ipods. They can burn a CD from itunes anytime they want. If they don’t know the words to their favorite song, they can go to Thanks to XM and Sirius, they don’t have to listen to commercials, or a DJ. They can watch their favorite band on You Tube or hook up Rock Band to the Wii and jam out in their own basement.

But where’s the fun in that?

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