Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sock (W)Rapping

We are on our way down to Ashland this weekend to catch OSF's As You Like It, enjoy the chilly sunshine, and poke around in the little boutiques. This week has been spent cleaning the house, caring for kitties (Pretty Boy has been on medication), and doing laundry. Mountains of laundry. Spring is a tough time in Oregon—we’ve got summer weather wear which we are dying to put on but we still have to drag on sweatshirts due to the chill. Two seasons at once means lots of laundry.

Critter has been a good sport about it and has been adding clothes to the dirty piles downstairs. Putting the clean clothes away, though, is another story. She was down to two baskets last night when I entered her bedroom. Her floor is strewn with kitty toys and new millennium rap music poured from her stereo speakers. She found a spare slipper and chucked it into the closet. “Do you want to do socks?”

This is no small feat (feet?).

At one point last week, Critter suggested that she just might throw out all her little anklet socks and buy a whole new set of identical socks. Everything would be the same and matching them up afterwards would be easier. But she is also drawn to whimsical footwear—bells on the back, prancing monkeys, rainbow-toe socks… And CrafterKat and I like finding new ones to add to her collection. Does she wear them? You bet. To the ground. Until they can stand up on their own.

Matching up socks is my downfall when it comes to laundry. I have always disliked sorting through the piles to find that one missing mate. Inevitably the second sock is in a different pile of laundry and doesn’t get cleaned until a day or two later. Or it’s still hidden under the bed, behind the dresser, on the floor of the closet… I’m sure my Mom can tell stories…

Perhaps I’m a Sock Snob. I know what pairs I own and can find them pretty quickly in the sock heap. There’s only one pair of blue-striped socks like this and only one pair of green knit socks like that. But we tend to buy multiples now, and they all wear a bit differently. Or we go back and buy a second set a few months later and the manufacturer has altered the weave or dye ever so slightly. I have a hard time with some of CrafterKat’s trouser socks—they are three different shades of brown that I can’t quite match up. On some sock sorting nights I want to adopt Steven Wright’s Sock Philosophy: I don’t wear socks by color. I go by thickness.

Critter, bopping to her radio tunes, brought a brimming sock basket to the bed where I sat. I sighed at the large pile. “I’ll help but you have to do this with me.”

She nodded, relieved to have some assistance. The DJ began another rap beat. “Oh, I like this song!”

I listened to the drum machine track. “What do you like? The beat? The lyrics?”

She shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. I just do. Why do you ask?”

Why did I ask..? I’ve been swimming in music for the last few weeks as the Evil PXE and I have been loading up our Zunes (he even purchased a second one for his wife so they’d both have one for their cars). The link to music and memories is quite profound, I think, for many people. I remember liking certain bands only because the singer was good looking; and steadfastly refusing to listen to some groups because the front man had a mullet, wore awful clothes, or sweated in the music videos. Some songs were fun to sing because of the rhymes; others because your parents hated the words. Some songs had profound lyrics which spoke volumes to my teenage soul.

I remember…

My 6th grade music teacher not letting us play Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust before class because it might make us commit suicide.

Begging my Mom to take me to see Grease because all the girls knew the lyrics and I didn’t. (She finally relented when she realized that the John Travolta film wasn’t Saturday Night Fever, an R-rated movie).

Telling my grandparents that I really wanted a Billy Joel album for Christmas (they didn’t have a record store in their small town so this was asking a lot!).

For Christmas, getting the 45 of Duran Duran’s Wild Boys with John Taylor on the cover (they had made one with each band member).

Singing Do They Know It’s Christmas on the last day of school before Winter Break.

Getting a copy of Baltimora's Tarzan Boy on cassette from the boy who took me to prom.

Playing Side One of Air Supply’s The One That You Love over and over and over again. It was the first “decent” album my parents ever bought that wasn’t Julie Andrews or Harry Belafonte.

Listening (and singing!) to The Sound of Music at every dinner party with family friends (the father is German and he loved this film). Three girls under the age of ten singing with gusto every other Saturday gave our family the phrase “Don’t sing at the table!”

Discovering that my parents did, in fact, own one Beatles album: The White Album. When asked later why they had it (I had been creeped out by the haunting sounds of Revolution 9 and couldn’t understand why this piece of vinyl would be in their collection), my mother admitted that she bought it at a garage sale but hadn’t listened to it more than once.

In college, listening to the Steve Miller Band as I fell asleep. My roommate, who had purchased a brand new $900 stereo CD system with her financial aid money, only had three CDs in her collection.

Buying tickets for my college roommates to see a Chicago concert at the Tacoma Dome. One by one, they ended up giving their tickets to friends. I attended the abysmal concert with people I didn’t know, listening to music I only partially recognized (see note above concerning mullets and sweating).

The rap lyrics began and I floated back to the moment. I shrugged back at her. “I just wondered if the song was important to you…?” And then I heard the lyrics and did everything I could not to laugh.

This is why I'm hot, This is why I'm Hot
This is why, this is why, this is why I'm Hot
I'm Hot cause I'm fly, you ain't cause you not
This is why, this is why, this is why I'm Hot
I'm Hot cause I'm fly, you ain't cause you not
This is why, this is why, this is why I'm Hot

“No, I just like it,” she concluded and I added another song to my musical memory catalog.


Scrap Maven said...

On the 45rpm of Another One Bites the Dust, the second side was "Don't Try Suicide".

Jewel Geek said...

I know! But the music teacher, Ms. Woodruff, didn't know the difference... If that record made it into her classroom she was furious. Didn't matter which side we'd try to play. Sigh... That left a limited few songs from Xanadu and an occasional Kiss song that got snuck in...