Day 7: a song that reminds you of a certain event
Muffy was the first friend I made in college in 1999, and she stuck, surprisingly. She was cool. She listened to Alkaline Trio and the Pixies and other bands I don't remember or give a shit about, but music was her thing. She introduced me to Modest Mouse and Promise Ring (of course, this was before everyone became a fucking sell out. Muffy was very anti-selling out. I think I learned to care about that from her as well, although I had a similar mindset towards certain filmmakers). I forced her into a more in-depth understanding of Stevie Wonder, Led Zeppelin, and the Kinks (at 18, I was a musical traditionalist). She smoked a shitload of weed, dyed her hair weekly and housed everyone at Goldeneye. I think. She could have been horrible, but she was the only one with an N64. I grew up playing Sega.
So one day, some time into freshman year, we're stuffing towels under the door of her dorm room so no smoke gets in the hallway. There's about six of us in there, including some extremely cute boys that I had never met that terrified me down to my girl parts, but Muffy was friends with like, every cute boy ever so I wasn't surprised. I didn't smoke weed at all, I was just there to play Goldeneye.
"Music, Rass," Muffy yells while she packs the bowl. Dudes are talking and doing that dude laugh. I am very nervous. Everyone in the room is so cool and attractive, and they aren't freaking out about getting caught and sweating uncontrollably - we need to open a window - no, nevermind, they're open - this is like being in a movie, and I'm hanging out with the cool people, and these guys would have definitely have ignored me in high school.
My hands shake as I pop in People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm and skip to track 8, because hip hop is a genre Muffy and I have yet to cover, and she snaps to attention, because what white girls from the suburbs listen to Tribe Called Quest?
"YES." Muffy exhales. "This is the shit." She passes the bowl to a dark-haired young man with insane eyelashes and white teeth. I decide that I love him.
"What, what is this?" The skinniest boy asks.
"Old school, dude," Muffy laughs. "This shit is old school."
"Tribe Called Quest," I venture and then stop talking.
I stretch out my legs and glance around, trying to look nonchalant. What would make me look nonchalant? Shit. I start singing along. "If you feel the urge to freak, do the jitterbug."
Muffy laughs and joins me, but she only knows the last few words of every line. The guys are watching us, amused. I start to get into it. Muffy gets into it. This is the first song we played, in our one-month friendship, that we both knew and loved. We jump up and bounce around, doing the best damn Q-Tip imitation we can pull together, and we're so fucking into it, we got call and response, we got synchronized moves we so didn't plan in advance, and we're awesome.
Skinny guy speaks up again during the musical break. "Yeah, but what's the like, background? I know this."
I scoff at him. "Lou Reed. 'Walk on the Wild Side.' Duh." This is the only reason I know about Tribe: because I know about Lou Reed. I don't tell them that, though. I want them to believe I am worldly and multicultural.
"Ohhhhhhh." I hear the dark-haired guy say, "I'm so glad when people know music."
"Can I kick it? YES YOU CAN!"
"I think my older brother listens to this."
"Mine too! That has to be it. I can't believe I never realized how good this band was. Now I wanna hear that other song. The background song."
"That is a dope idea."
"What was it again?"
"That 'Wild Side' song."
"Mr. Dinkins, would you please be my mayor?" me and Muffy shout, and giggle. I turn to the skinny guy and sing, "And all the colored girls say, 'doo doodoo. doodoo doodoodoo..."
"Oh, THAT song!" They are all really excited that I know what I'm talking about. This, by the way, was before we all officially discovered the internet and all its marvels. This was back when I just knew shit and solved people's trivia debates. I loved knowing shit and being celebrated for it.
I flop down onto Muffy's bed after the song and breathe, smiling to myself. The dark-haired boy (Matt. His name is Matt) leans over to me, and gives me the first of rare compliments I've received on my appearance. "Dude," he says, staring at my face. "You have awesome eyes." I hold my breath and just return the stare, because I'm afraid if I don't he'll forget he was talking to me and everything will fade away. "Adam!" he says, still staring. "Come check out this chick's eyes."
The skinny guy crawls over. "Whoa."
Muffy comes over and stares at me, and the other two guys who'd been interjecting randomly lean over and look. They're all squinty and high-looking. I start to laugh. I feel like an exhibit. And I know that this is my first time existing so blatantly around any drug use, because in high school I was a severe buzzkill. And I promise you, I promise that no one else in the room is nearly as effected by the events as I am.
"Dude," Muffy guffaws, "your eyes are like a fucking storm right now."
"This is awesome. Muffy, I'm so glad you invited this chick over."