This morning I was driving across the bridge when a familiar voice/sound came over the speakers. I was listening to one of several lousy easy listening/80s soft rock radio stations, so it could be anything.
It’s roboty, kind of. And the music behind it sounds like it could launch into several different New Wave songs.
But it didn’t.
It launched into the megaballad “Love Bites” by Def Leppard.*
Suddenly, I was flooded with the memory of listening to this song over and over and over again on my taped together Walkman (which wasn’t really a “Walkman” – did any of you actually own a SONY WALKMAN? I always had drugstore versions). We were returning from a field trip to Tucson and I was devastated because a boy I liked did something terrible like talked to someone else or rolled his eyes at me. Whatever it was, it broke my little 7th grade heart. I had a crush on a rotating cast of 3 boys that year, so I can’t remember who it was. It was probably Phillip Hess, because what girl at my middle school WASN’T in love with Phillip Hess? He was our Zack Morris and had the tightest jeans.
I love when memories just flood you like that — I absolutely remember the way the lights of other cars flooded the bus every few minutes, and the feel of those weirdly rectangular bus seats.
Listening to the words I actually laughed out loud in the car. Every other verse is about “making love” and I think when I was in 7th grade I imagined that to be hugging really tight and maybe some tongue. I knew was sex was, but “making love” was a much more amorphous thing and I distinctly remember first hearing it in a Victorian setting, where it meant wooing and talking sweet. So imagining my 13 year old brain trying to visualize the lyrics in a DEEP and MEANINGFUL way was too much and I laughed like a crazy lady in my car during the entire song.
As soon as that song faded, INXS’s “Need You Tonight” came one. I remember watching that with my babysitter, who was like, 2 years older than me. We both craned our necks the entire video long trying to read Michael Hutchin’s lapel pin. It totally said SEX, but neither of us quite believed it because that was so scandalous.
*I’m afraid that I’m starting to repeat myself on this blog, but here goes. In 7th grade a friend of mine, who was super into Def Leppard, was defending them against her dad, who (to be honest) I thought was kind of cooler than she was to begin with. The whole thing ended with him saying “Fine you can keep your crummy old band. What’s a Deaf Leopard anyway? Why not listen to a Blind Lion?” I still think that’s very funny.