A long time ago I observed that people who did not go to college had a tendency to drag out the styles of their high school years a little too long. In the late nineties, I saw it in the form of bangs teased six inches above the head and jeans that were pegged tight enough at the ankles to cut off circulation. Yes, I am willing to admit that I once did the same thing, but I also had enough sense to quit. (Though some part of me still wishes for big hair to come back in vogue - it looked good on me. I don't miss the amount of time it took to accomplish the look, though.)
I will also admit that I don't have much of a sense of style today, either. I mostly wear solid-colored short-sleeve shirts and jeans or capris. Boring, I know - but I digress. I'm not sure why college seemed to be the defining factor, but it seems that inevitably those who are holding on to long-buried fashion trends didn't make the journey into the hallowed halls of higher education.
Why do we tend to live in the past? It seems that lately I've been stuck in the nineties; reminiscing about high school and college days, thinking of old friends, big mistakes, and fun times. I've spent a few hours lately updating my playlist with songs that flood my head with random memories, and I'm not ashamed to admit I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
It seems that every song has its own memory attached; One Headlight reminds me of a particularly bad date during my college years. Shine brings back Friday and Saturday nights cruising the strip with the radio cranked up as loud as it would go. When I hear Whomp, There It Is, I inevitably remember a rainy day riding back from a band trip to Indianapolis (was it the state football championships?) with the entire band hollering along. Informer takes me back to the physics class spent outside shooting off model rockets; the teacher used mine for a demo, shot it straight into a power line, and I wound up losing points because it didn't go far enough. Some kid in a blue Iroc-Z drove by about that time, thumping out Informer from speakers that he obviously felt the need to show off.
I loved Color Me Badd, but didn't dare buy a CD because I knew my parents would throw it out since every other song title had the word "sex" in it. My college roommie and I would clean our dorm to Alanis Morisette's Jagged Little Pill, cranked up loud enough to motivate us to actually do the work. I used to laugh hysterically to the line "pissing the night away" in Tubthumping, because at first I didn't know that "pissing" could mean also mean drinking. More Than Words was the anthem of my first summer at Bible camp. I think they must have played Brown-Eyed Girl at least a dozen times at our senior banquet.
Funny how music can take you back. Over the last few years, I've quit listening to the new stuff. It doesn't hold the same appeal that it used to. I'm just not a fan of the hip-hop, synthesized, unoriginal stuff. Granted, not all of my nineties stuff was much better, but today's music just doesn't do it for me anymore. I am much more likely to listen to talk radio, or the nineties station that I can only pick up for about ten minutes when I cross the Georgia state line on I-24.
Maybe it's because life was simpler then... or was it? I suppose I've really just traded one set of complications for another, and even though retrospect tells me that the problems of yesterday are far less serious than the ones I have today, it never seemed so at the time, not in my limited experience. Even so, when I find myself buried in bills and work and death and sorrow, I wish, just for a moment, I could backtrack to the days when homework and boyfriends were the biggest concern, and Def Leppard and Sheryl Crow strained from the radio.