February 15, 2011

college roommates may cause side effects

yes, this post is long enough to warrant a prologue...
as a result, i have changed the title of this post, mid-writing, to the following:

- growin' up country
- little man of no means
- king of the booster
- tiny dancer, and
- the long and winding post

i felt it necessary to warn you.
...end of prologue.

i have a (rather uninteresting) secret. 
i like to listen to country music while making dinner. 

now, really, this  isn't the most earth-shattering revelation. 
but, it was a journey for me. 

i grew up in a house where the musical repertoire included classic musicals, Elvis, the Rat Pack, John Denver, The Carpenters, Marine Corps anthems, and yes, a little bit of classic country. 
in jr. high, my musical taste was dominated by long haired men, some in makeup... Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Poison, etc....
in high school, my tastes ranged from The Smiths to The Sisters of Mercy to Suicidal Tendencies. 
in college, i would have claimed The Counting Crows, Sarah McLachlan and Tracy Chapman in my collection as well. 
all of this was, of course, underscored with the music from my early years. 
except for country. 

this weekend, bernie and i had a discussion about the fact that our ability to connect with new people over music has sadly vanished since iPod conquered the world. 
he was talking about a faculty member who still loves owning physical copies of his music.
he states that this was driven by being a member of the "vinyl generation." 
as a member of what i suppose would be the CD generation, i recall judging people in college based on their CD and book collections. 
these collections were usually prominently displayed in our rooms.
and, by "judge," i mean that if you had a combination of Salinger/Rand/Tom Robbins/The Cure in your room, i was probably much more interested in chatting it up with you than if you had a Britney poster complimented by a People magazine.  
now that the folks i interact with are more often in an office than a residence hall room, i miss the ability to get this data.
i have no idea what the people around me listen to at night or in the car.
which leaves me to judge you on other, less fun, measures...;)

so, i happily made it through most of college with a music collection i was proud to claim. 
and then Kari happened. 
Kari and i grew up a few houses down the street from one another and were close friends in elementary school. 
in high school, she went on to be a cheerleader and i wore a lot of black clothes and white face makeup. 
but, Kari transferred to UC Irvine for what would be my senior year of college. 
i had worked in Residence Life and lived on campus before then, and had decided to move off campus for my last year. 
i don't remember how, but we figured all of this out and we decided, after not really hanging out for almost a decade, to live together that year. 
...with two random roommates we found on an online roommate placement service.
let's just say that these online services were not as well developed in the 90's.  
the stories and antics from this year could fill a blog on their own. 
let's suffice it to say that Kari has a young and playful spirit and we may have reverted back to 5th grade on multiple occasions.
and that we had a lot of fun that did NOT include alcohol but DID include things like:
- spying on the cute neighbors with children's science equipment
- wearing go go boots and sweatshirts with the drawstrings pulled tightly around our faces to the local ice cream shop
- watching the TV on mute and providing our own voice-overs, and
- blowing bubbles on our roommates while they were making out with their boyfriends on the couch.  
looking back, i'm sure our roommates were concerned. 
sorry, Uzma and Sheerin. 

it was a good year. 
but with all of Kari's fun, she also brought something else with her. 
she harbored a deep love for Brooks and Dunn and all things country music. 
i could handle her extremely flowery bedspread, pristine wardrobe, and flowered wreath above the wall....a stark contrast to my messy pile of books and a wardrobe that included Doc Martens and overalls in a variety of fabrics. 
(they were cool at the time. i swear. at least my friend Joy also wore them.) 
but, country was where i drew the line. 

and then the worst possible thing happened. 
i realized i not only liked, but kind of LOVED country music. 
this dawned on me one morning as Kari was belting something along the lines of wanting "a shot of that redhead yonder lookin' at me," from the shower....and i found myself singing along from the other room. 
it took a while for the old "goth girl" to own this music. 
but in time i embraced it. 
and now i have a soft spot for the country music of the 90s. 
because, somewhere during grad school, i lost track of country and went back to my old ways. 

...until i moved into our current house about 5 years ago. 
the kitchen is in the far corner of the house. 
this means that when i'm baking or cooking, i am basically left to my own devices. 
while i would like to resolve this kitchen/family room disconnect in our next house, the introvert in me enjoys the occasional downtime.
it allows me to flip on the radio to the local station that plays my not-so-current-but-much-appreciated country. 

...i may or may not dance around the kitchen like a shamelss goof while cooking. 
but, where's the fun in stirring whatever's on the stove with your feet firmly planted?  

so, this weekend, i was making the "easy mexican casserole" from www.singforyoursupperblog.com
(thanks for the recommendation, cheryl! delicious!)
bern was sitting at the kitchen table with benny, overseeing the process of ben eating the  Fun-Dip (aka, straight sugar on a stick of sugar) that a student teacher sent home with him for Valentine's Day. 
i was listening to the radio on low volume. 
Roger Miller's classic, King of the Road, came on. 
without thinking, i turned up the radio. 
instantly started shaking his tush in his little booster seat. 
bless his sweet heart, he totally felt the music.
two songs later he proceeded to demand, "get me out, i need to dance!!!!" 

these days, i am camped out in the midwest and kari still lives in southern california.
we have not done a good job of staying in touch.
but, for the fact that she has inadvertently turned my little dinnertime solos into partner dances, i am grateful. 


  1. I also owned some overalls, in quite a few materials, if I remember correctly. Not gonna like - they were quite comfortable!

  2. Seriously you were a goth? I need you to post photos. I will bottle up Irvine air for you and mail it over.