My History with Music & Trouble

I’d normally begin this history with a longer summary of my youth… something about arguing with my mom in the car about her Adult Contemporary radio selection. (Though, there’s really something about Phil Collins and Don Henley that really does it for me these days. HA!)  Or, taking it way back, let’s talk about how I accidentally taped over my cassettes, one Disney soundtrack at a time, with this kiddie recorder I had. In the middle of “Hakuna Matata,” there were, at least eleven, abrupt intermissions in the music, followed by a giggle or a squeal or a less original, “HELLLOOOOOO. 1 2 3.” Apparently that’s all the higher I could count at 5.

Proof of the wee chicken with her first exposure to stardom.

Anyhow, let’s bring it up to speed a bit. I have to admit this weekend seemed a little goofy from the beginning. I had no “legit” plans for Friday night. See, this is already trouble. There is something about ending the work-week with a bang. No matter how sleepy or lazy I feel by Friday at 5 PM, I’m ready for action. (Usually making time to nap first.)

After a feast of Southern-Style BBQ with friends (which fiasco I’m purposefully omitting from this tale because of my seemingly unhealthy obsession with food and over-eating), we gathered at my house to decide the next course of action. We had no ideas other than “not drinking,” which already makes me sound lame, I know.

Three guy friends and I stood on the front porch in a nerd-like panic. OMG?! IT’S FRIDAY NIGHT! DO WE HAAAVE TO GO OUT? DO YOU WANNA GO OUT? I MEAN, WHERE WOULD WE GO?… I GUESS I COULD. DO YOU WANT TO, THOUGH? After a long series of go-no-where questioning, spotted with vacant moments of expressive stares, and can-you-just-read-my-mind eyes, we finally caved. Coffee? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

There is nothing wrong with coffee: nothing wrong with the morning cup at work, the “Hey, let’s go get a cup of coffee” between old friends, and of course, the occasional caffeine mania when most every other young adult in this city is already, at the very least, tipsy and eyeing up some unhot bartender. It was 10 PM, and though, the tall/small/tiny/littlest was an option, I opted for the largest. We all did. “Go big or go home,” they say. I’m pretty sure that phrase had nothing to do with coffee, and more likely something a bit harder like Miller Lite.

For the record, I’m a huge fan of iced coffee. Especially since the weather has been giving us a little more sun and a little less snow. [Us Pennsylvanians are all feeling eager to smack ourselves into the next season (today, in fact!), SPRING.]

Yep. Like I said before, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a good ol’ caffeine rush among friends on your porch, on a Friday night. Until someone gets the bright idea to sing, that is. And still…

Now this is where I’m going to reverse for a moment and remind everyone (and myself) of my first high-school-aged offense. I had gotten into the routine of flailing down the hall in a silly way—specifically, doing my best opera-style “Hallelujah.” It was fun, loud, and best of all… obnoxious as all get out. What else is a freshman to do but live up to the stereotype? I obviously had no choice. My operatics had skidded their way under the radar over and over. In fact, when teachers did start catching on to my screechy proclamations, they laughed. I won.

Until one day, a certain math teacher decided to call me out on my inane (and honestly, awful) singing, when I barged into his classroom, the trail-end of my melody snailing with me. I was told to stop, mostly in a polite way. Still, I didn’t enjoy being told this in front of my peers, nor the made-up rule at all. And like most ridiculous crap teenagers had to endure, I protested. “Why? But I’m just singing? Is it really against the rules to sing in between classes? Do you not want us to be happy, Mr. So&So?” He ignored me. Of course. I was hitting too close to the truth, I thought, and decided I would do it over again the next day and see just exactly what this fool was after.  I hallelujah-ed the following day, ripping through the busy halls in song. And, boy, did I think I was brilliant with this one; I would silence myself at the exact moment I crossed the threshold into his classroom, a blatant sass-ass. Technically, I wasn’t singing in his classroom, so I wasn’t under his jurisdiction, right? I was immediately sent to the principal’s office, where after a good ten minutes of amazement at my “crime,” the principal sent me off with an obligatory detention slip. My second detention EVER was for writing: “My mom is drunk and naked on the street corner,” in Spanish. I was definitely the queen of getting absurd-sounding detentions.

Anyway, back to the much older, modern day criminals: we giggled and gabbed on my front porch on Friday night, until it was someone’s bright idea to sing. I don’t recall how it began. Perhaps someone just started and we all pitched in. Either way, our harmonies moaned and chirped over the dead-nothingness of my suburban neighborhood. The rows of houses were our acoustics, the feral rabbits our audience. We were quite pleased with ourselves, too: inserting the right “boo-ba-boos,” just the right tone or key, even the way we could mimic the sounds and backdrop beats of the original jams. And once we cleared the “Star-Spangled Banner,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Mr. Sandman,” we realized we had no other song knowledge in common. So…

Bearded One and I started with “O’ Holy Night,” and, as a group, we ran the gamut up until “White Christmas,” boosted by the bass of Hat Boy’s low vocals. We were out there for about an hour, I’m sure,  laughing at ourselves, singing, trying to remember the words to obscure second verses. Until the cops came.

Apparently, someone ratted on us. I felt an immediate sense of disbelief. REALLY? Really? really? Just as ridiculous as my 9th-grade offense, only Mr. Cop Man was nicer. He told us someone called to say we were having a “really big party” and he could see this wasn’t true. I felt like a loser. A 25-year-old chick, surrounded by her guy friends, with nothing better to do on a Friday night than overdose on iced coffee in her pajamas and sing Christmas carols, mid-March, on her porch. It’s fine. It is really fine.

Life Lesson #1875: Next time the cops get called on you, actually be engaged in something worthwhile: like intravenous drug usage, or the selling of Black-Market handbags. <3