The other night, I escaped my crazy toy-strewn home and drove to a friend's place across town. It was raining so hard that I had to drive with the windscreen-wipers set on 'frantic'. The few other cars that were game enough to be out driving were trailing each other like caterpillars. I swung in at the end of the column.
Happy as a clam in my car, I had the radio cranked up, and was half-bouncing in my seat as I drove. There was an eighties song playing, an the radio announcer remarked cheerily, "And we're up to our elbows in eighties tonight!". Fantastic! thought I. Up to our elbows in eighties! Now that sounds perfect for a trip to see my old high school friend, KP.
As I bopped to 'Walking on Sunshine', I wondered why I so adore 80's music. It's certainly not the awful electronic keyboard tunes, or the woeful lyrics. It's definitely not about the music itself (although there are some songs I swear are sheer genius...just can't think of an example right now... hang on....maybe later in the post....). I realised I love the way 80's music makes me feel... I recreate the time in my life when I was young, fresh, vital and almost obligation-free. The world held limitless possibilities. When I hear these familiar songs, I am awash with the emotions I felt 20 years ago... trepidation, excitement, the first tastes of freedom, yearning, a slow-building belief in myself, the beginnings of faith that one day someone would love me. Whew! It's a heady brew!
There is one REALLY trashy 80's song that just about makes me cry every time I hear it - Lionel Ritchie's 'Hello' (yes, embarrassing but true!). This was a song that my high school band rehearsed over & over at a music camp (This one time? At band camp?---ignore if you've never seen 'American Pie'). As the band rehearsed, the object of my unrequited love..whom we shall call Lincoln (because that was his name) sat watching the band over the other side of the room. I also watched the band, in between looking over at Lincoln. To my deep pleasure, I frequently caught Lincoln glancing at me, too. I was thrilled! Maybe this meant he had a crush on me, too! After 2 years of silently adoring him, perhaps Lincoln was finally noticing me!
Well, no. I now realise the poor boy was only looking over because a freckly, blushing girl in a lurid pink sweater kept staring at him. Nothing ever eventuated with Lincoln. (I met him again at Uni once, looking scruffy with a beard. I had blossomed in confidence, and our mutual friends were teasing me about how many different boys I had been dating. I was secretly glad Lincoln was witness to this conversation) But for those few moments, all those years ago, I had a hope of romance with this fascinating, reserved, handsome boy.
Now whenever I hear 'Hello' playing, I am swept by feelings of longing, elation, and just a tinge of sadness (because boo hoo, it didn't end in love!). How odd that a full-grown woman can be reduced to such silly emotions by a mere combination of musical notes.
I don't mind though, being silly and nostalgic. Because I love to feel. To me, life is all about experiencing emotions, of every kind. I know one day I will look back on this time of my life, and remember chubby arms around my neck, sticky faces and crayon drawings on the fridge. I'll probably smile with teary eyes. I fully expect this.
For now, I'll enjoy my eighties nostalgia to the full. Especially when cruising, with the music blaring, in my large sky-blue family sedan.