There is this moment in your youth when something you have only read about in history books, like war or assassination or revolution or riots, happens and it TOTALLY FREAKS YOU OUT. Because you assume that you live in some kind of post-modern era where those kinds of things are OVER. For me it was the Gulf War and then it wasn’t. Oh my God, we’re at war! Just like Vietnam! This woman I worked with at Sam Goody’s, Monique, met and married some guy while I was away for intersession. That’s about five weeks. When I got back I thought she was kidding. But no, they had to get married – he was going away to war! I watched the images on TV, agog. Wow, war! Then, it was over in like a week. Monique’s husband came back and in a span of time about equivalent to the length of the war, they separated. Some Vietnam.
When the LA riots happened. I was working at the Gallery Mall in downtown Baltimore. They closed the thing early because it was all glass. People were scared. By people, I mean the insurance people. I went home, grumbling about lost wages. But College Boyfriend, having graduated, was back in LA and when I got home and called him, all the circuits to LA were busy! It was weird, wild stuff. He couldn’t reach me either but more because he was out patrolling his neighborhood in the Valley in a pick-up truck. I believe guns were involved. If you knew College Boyfriend, who was from Alabama originally, you will realize this was the most exciting thing that could ever happen to a person. I was flabbergasted. And worried. And FREAKED OUT.
When I hear this song, which I do now and then when it pops up on shuffle, I remember all this. It was a freaky time. I think it was the true moment when I realized that history is an ongoing process and not just something that’s written about in books or shown in black and white documentaries. And that we don’t live in a post-modern society at all.
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