Tuesday, July 07, 2009

My Michael Jackson memory.

Like most 11 year old girls, I was crazy about Michael. Innocent and young enough that it wasn’t a lust thing (unlike my ongoing issues with Mike Ness) but rather an obsession that made me smile, dance and yearn to hear his music all the time.

These were the days of Samantha Taylor on Video Hits. I would rush to get my homework done so I could sit thisclose to the T.V. and she teased us with what videos should would be playing that day. Can you imagine in the days before MuchMusic that we were allocated only ½ an hour of music videos a day? At any rate, during the Thriller album days, chances are Sam would play a couple of his videos a week. Sometimes I would get my tape recorder and tape the song off the t.v. (seriously - you can imagine the sound quality of this with the sounds of my Mom making dinner in the background).

I also had Thriller on vinyl, and would play it over and over and over again, skipping past certain songs (Human Nature, The Lady in My Life) and warping the tracks of others (I just loved The Girl is Mine). I don’t remember anyone in the house complaining either about playing these songs so often – maybe I’m romanticizing here, but it seems like everyone liked Michael Jackson.

So, back to my memory. My folks would pack me up every second summer for a road trip to go camping in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Because of our age differences, my brother and sister stopped joining us on these trips and it was just me, my mom, my dad, and the CBC (or the equivalent torture of whatever state/city we happened to be crossing). My folks favour opera and classical music. Like finger nails down a chalk board for an 11 year old (and sometimes for a 36 year old).

Part of this trip included a trip to downtown Boston. This would be an awesome trip because I would see soooo many walks life (Black people! Punk rockers! Hare Krishnas, oh my!) It would also be a fairly stressful trip because my dad behind the wheel of a big ass, two toned green van in a very busy downtown core which he was grossly unfamiliar set his anxiety levels at an all time high. I’m sure the steering wheel (also green) had his finger nail marks on it.

Anyhoooo, I had been whining and complaining on my sticky green vinyl seat about the radio station they had on. To shut me up, my mom found a pop station, and lo and behold, Billie Jean came on the radio.

I screamed. I screamed as if Michael walked right up to the two toned van (with matching curtains I might add) and asked for directions. I screamed like an 11 year old who had not heard her mostfavouritesongintheworld for over a week and a half. I screamed like only an 11 year old girl can scream.

My dad slammed on the brakes in the middle of downtown Boston rush hour. Concerned that he had hit someone or I had seen someone murdered on the street, he asked what the bloody hell was wrong. D-uh! Michael Jackson’s on the radio Daaaad! *Crickets* You know that quiet angry that parents get? When they aren’t quite sure how to pick the words they want to say and it’s really scary? My dad didn’t do it often, but I’m sure the whole of Boston felt the chill that fell upon the big ass two toned green van with matching curtains and vinyl seats.

The radio dial was promptly turned to, and remained on a classical station for the duration of the trip, and I had a walkman for our next road trip.

Rest in peace, Michael, thanks for the memories.


alison said...

What a great story, Meanie! I could see it happening and feel the sticky heat in the van.

The girls and I sat in front of the computer the other night and I found videos on Youtube of Thriller, and Billie Jean, and I explained to them that while I wasn't a huge fan, it's the music that I grew up to, the soundtrack to my teen years. And we agreed that it was sad that he died.

Nat said...

I was a huge MJ fan back in the day. I just can't quite wrap my head around what he became...

In my mind, he died a long long time ago.

XUP said...

I agree with Nat. MJ was IT for a long time and then crumbled. The decline was sad. The death more of a relief, I think

Sasha said...

Meanie, this post made me howl with laughter. Your description of the "quiet angry" of your parents is too perfect! Thanks for sharing your story; I loved Michael's music, too -- he gave us a lot. Rest in peace, MJ.

Sasha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

XUP: A relief for who? You? What a terrible thing to say.

For most fans who stayed fans after 1993, there was no decline. But I'm sure you saw a decline you wanted to see.