Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happiness Is So Hard to Find

Here is a recycled photo of myself and one of my co-workers at Gussini Shoe store in Berkeley in 1986.

I'm sure you all know how weird I am about music. I'm not as likely to look at how it's played or what people are doing with their instruments. You could have all the best musicians in the world performing and playing really well, and if I'm bored with their song, I couldn't be bothered. For me, music has always been an emotional thing. I feel really strongly about songs one way or the other. They can be an awesome memory or the soundtrack to a really bad part of my life.

Some songs I know are cheese, but it doesn't matter, because they take me back to a time in my life that made me really happy. Of course the opposite is true. Whether a song is good or bad, hearing it can remind me of a particularly shitty stage in my life too.

Lately, my daughter has really been into this song called, "I Can't Wait" by a band called Nu Shooz. I think someone else might be sampling it, and that's where she heard it. You may or may not remember them, but trust me, they were really big in 1986. At that time I was working at my worst job ever. (and I've cleaned toilets for living) I had just moved to San Francisco and was living in my boyfriend's mom's house, my boyfriend wasn't sure if he still wanted to stay together, I had no money, nowhere else to go and my bosses totally sucked. For years, I couldn't hear that song without it bringing back all those horrible feelings.

The crazy thing about it, is that I'm totally okay with it now. It's actually turned into a more positive memory. I can laugh at how I had to cover all the high school girl's shifts on Friday nights so they could get home in time to watch Miami Vice, and how my two favorite high school guys used to wait for me to close up, so they could ride the BART with me through Oakland and protect me if need be. I can look back with some perspective and remember that it was one of the first times in my adult life that I actually took control of a situation.

With my orphan issues, I was always so terrified to actively change things in my life. In the past, change usually meant I was moving toward something worse. I wouldn't leave bad relationships or jobs no matter what, because they were an evil I knew, as opposed to an evil I didn't know but was sure to meet. I was one of those people who just let things happen to them. I finally left that situation. I quit my job, got a new one and found roomates to live with, instead of my fickle boyfriend and his crazy mom.

So, I guess my daughter can bring it. I'm ready to take on all the music from that time. "Manic Monday"? Who Cares. "West End Girls"? I'll kick all the Pet Shop Boys' asses. "Rock Me Amadeus"? No, let me rock you. "That's What Friends Are For"?...Uh, no. I still can't listen to that one. Sorry.


Johnny Yen said...

Nu Shooz' "I Can't Wait" is one of my guilty pleasures and on my Itunes.

It's funny how my kids love songs that I do. My son loves a bunch of sixties and seventies music, including the Stones and the Beatles and then little oddities like the Edgar Winter Group's "Frankenstein" and Iron Butterfly's "Inna Gadda Da Vida" (the full version, mind you). My stepdaughter loves the Kinks' "Well Respected Man", the Replacements' "Alex Chilton" and a bunch of Beatles.

My version of those bad but now good memories are the songs that were on the soundtrack of a Bennigan's in downtown Chicago that I worked at when I got out of college in 1985. Songs that I didn't even pay much attention to because they were just background music to me at work as I struggled to start from scratch, because despite having suddenly acquired two college degrees, including a graduate degree, I had no idea where I was going and had to simply eke out a living, eventually became songs that grabbed me in my heart. Book Of Love's "You Make Me Feel So Good," Simply Red's "Holding Back The Years" and Double's "Captain of Her Heart" fall in this category.

And hey-- "West End Girls?" I love that song. Another complicated memory, I guess.

Ananda girl said...

The Boys of Summer by Don Henley haunts me. Sometimes is makes me cry and other times it lifts me up. I wasn't even a big fan of his. It takes me to the best time of my life and the worst time as well... neither of which happened at the time that song was popular. How's that for weird? I guess it's all in the power of lyrics.

Remiman said...

Music is one of my top three favorite things.

DJSassafrass said...

Oh my golly-can't believe Falco got a mention in this post. Wtf is up with that song anyway?
Oh and you know I'll be right beside you loving the cheesy music (preferably 70s "lite rock")

NoRegrets said...

YOu know, you write so beautifully.

Music has always been special to me. It's how I speak to myself mostly. Out of the blue, tunes will come into my head and if I listen to the words, I'm speaking to myself about what I"m feeling, or trying to make myself feel better. I really love that.

Susan said...

There are a couple of songs I cannot listen to anymore. If they come on XM at work I just go outside. Some songs still hit too deep in the memory my heart holds.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't listen to "That's What Friends Are For" for" at all.

There are some songs that bring back memories for me, but nothing painful enough to prevent me from listening. I have recently dropped my "No Country Music" requirement since finding some country that I actually like.

Mnmom said...

Remember "Don't Worry, Be Happy"? I was clinically depressed when that song came out and ironically it made me feel so much worse.
Paula Abduhl's stupid "Straight Up" reminds of a bad relationship I wasted two good years on - should have seen the signs after the first date.

laura b. said...

I am just the same with music...your mad skills are wasted on me for the most you make me FEEL it? Then I'm in.

Nu Shooz! B-b-baby, I can't wait...

Poptart said...

B-B-baby, I can't wait! Churl, you've given me a nasty earworm. OK, from past posts, congrats on the cleaning (some of us don't have the driving 2 kids excuse and still fail to get stuff done...) and love the daisies and even though it's rough to think about your past jobs and life choices it's so nice to read how you are processing them. And the pictures are awesome.

Ananda girl said...

Churlita, I hope you do not mind that I tell you that your posts have a powerful affect on my life. I feel understood and accepted... a true gift my good woman. It is nice to have a kindred spirit to share these things with... so thanks! It sure isn't easy to be single mom, but you brave it so well, it gives me hope and your music is mine as well. This is one place that I hope to never lose.

booda baby said...

What's up with all these amAZing posts? Oh, I don't care what's up. They're great.

A version of this I say to musicians allll the time, especially the guitarists who DO so love to show you how rapidly their fingers can do whatever they do over strings. Yah, yah and another yah.

I'm going to print this out, stick a bunch of copies in A's tube amp repair shop/studio and INSIST they all read it. I hope they make you their Big Ass Muse.

Churlita said...

My girls are like that too. What is it with teens and "Inna Gadda Da Vida"?

That's funny. In 1985 I lived in the REdwoods and hardly heard any new songs. Someone bought the Brother's in Arms album, but I missed most of the popular music of that year.


It's kind of a haunting song. I definitely understand why it's like that for you.


Hey, mine too.


I'll just tell you that it isn't the first time, now will it be the last time that FAlco gets a mention on my blog. Sorry. I suck.


Thanks so much. That is definitely the beauty of music. It lets us indulge more than we normally would and it speaks that language very well.


Which songs are those? I wonder if they're the same ones for me?


Now I'm curious to know what country songs you like. I love the old-timey country music.

Mn Mom,

That song was so overplayed. It made me crazy. No wonder it made you feel worse.


Exactly. I also get annoyed when musician are basically masturbating on stage. Get over yourself, pallee. I know we are.


Thank you. Apparently, it takes me years to process things though. Ugh.


Thank you so much. That's really nice to hear. It's nice that we can commiserate and celebrate together even though we don't REALLY know each other.

Booda Baby,

I do have a big ass, but I don't think I've ever been anyone's muse before. It could be fun.