As I did my suburban mom Target run last night in search for a Thermos container for Maura’s lunch of choice, organic mac and cheese (a sentence solidifying my suburban mom status) – this song came on the radio.
So yes, I sat in my car to sing along with Erasure.
And posted this fact on Facebook.
And had three Jennifers reply in similar tones of excitement.
Erasure takes me back to the early years of college, being at Friday night dances in the student union, whipping my hair around. Which probably explains my need for a chiropractor now. But I was young, and out in the world for the first time, and had managed to find a great group of friends, most named Jennifer, all equally quirky and fun, and we laughed too loud and danced too well for the more conservative people on campus.
We use to talk about the weather, making plans together, days would last forever…
I left for college at 17, young and worldly, being a girl from Chicago (well, practically Chicago). I was all shades of young and optimistic and safety conscious. I had a strange wardrobe that included a bit of retro throwback dresses, flannel shirts, and one kick-ask little denim mini skirt. I did not have cool purple velvet shoes like my roommate. I still envy those purple velvet shoes. I did end up with a pair of fake Doc Martens that I got for five dollars at Gabe’s. Ah Gabe’s – where everything was name brand, cast off seconds, or had a hole in it. Seriously, I had a shirt with the word “seconds” stamped inside of it. Didn’t matter – it was awesome, name brand, and under $5.
I can see that girl I was so clearly, all the insecurity, the tiny waistline, the red lipstick, working custodial to earn cash, carrying her shampoo and soap to the bathroom in a McDonald’s happy meal bucket she swiped off little siblings. And I can still see her in me, especially when I look at my collection of red lipstick that I don’t wear enough of. I miss the tiny waistline. But that girl I was, with all her big dreams, had no clue what was in store for her. Even with my imagination, I couldn’t have imagined life would take me in so many directions. The summer I was 20, I had given up on men and decided I’d live in a loft in Chicago with a cat and work for a publishing company as I wrote my first novel.
Six months later I was engaged.
Twenty years later, and here I am, singing along to Erasure, still wearing Doc Martens (only I can afford a real pair now) and red lipstick, and still have a ton of friends named Jennifer. Because I met them all in college, and we danced along to Erasure on Friday nights in the student center. Sure, maybe it was just our little group dancing, but we danced, and were carefree for a little bit. I may have danced on one of the coffee tables in the student union, and may have gotten chastised by the night manager for dancing on said table, and may have said in reply “Hey, I clean these tables, I can dance on them!”
Such a rebel I was!
So today, I shall listen to some Erasure and salute that little college gal that I was, who doesn’t always seem that far away when the music starts playing…