At work we have about a dozen music channels to choose from and 70s music is the only stuff that doesn’t make me want to ram ice picks in my ears. Certainly there are songs that make me laugh and wonder when we stopped being such sentimental pansies (Seasons in the Sun, Billy Don’t be a Hero, One Tin Soldier) and there are songs that make me stop working and shake my bootie (Boogie Man, Dancing Queen, That’s The Way). I remember some of the songs from when I was a kid living in southern California (Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree, Brandy, Crocodile Rock) and some from when I was a teenager living in Wyoming (Smoke on the Water, Smokin’ in the Boy’s Room, Smoke from a Distant Fire), but most of all, I remember listening to an all 70s radio station out of Denver the year I divorced.
While attending college part time, I also worked for Pepsi and had the University route. I drove from building to building in a white panel van filling the machines, as well as supplying three small out of town accounts. This gave me ample time to listen to the radio. I remember sitting in traffic one day and Nine Inch Nails rasped, “I want to f*&k you like an animal…I want to feel you from the inside.” At 10 o’clock in the morning. The very absurdity of it made me start giggling. Then they said it again and I howled with laughter. I know the people around me thought I was insane. I decided there had to be something better on the radio.
I can’t remember the call letters of the station, but I never changed it after that day. This guy was the early morning host and a woman named Jill took over at around 10. Later they teamed up for the early morning show and they were hilarious without being vulgar. For some reason people think they have to be shocking to be funny, but vulgar is vulgar and it gets old really fast.
One morning while getting ready for work, I heard a cat meow. Animals in student housing were a big no-no, as in immediate eviction. I looked around for the cat, wondering if it somehow snuck in. I decided it was in someone else’s apartment and wasn’t my problem. I heard it again on the way to work. I looked in the back seat and when I got to work I checked my clothes to see if I had a cat in my pants leg the way some people get a dryer sheet stuck there. No cat. I filled the van and started for the school.
There it was again. Meow. WTF?!
Then the morning hosts started playing phone conversations of people calling in detailing their desperate measures at finding the kitty. Oh, good one.
These were the kinds of tricks they played and the type of humour they had. They played happy music, made me laugh and in some respects became my friends. It was a scary time for me; newly divorced, single mom of two, trying to work and go to school and be a good mom. It was also a time of triumph because I didn’t cave in and go back to my ex-husband, I finished school, and I was a good mom. I had to give up the job at Pepsi because, well, shit happens. That’s another story for another time. I struggled and I survived, and if I had to pick a time that I regard as The Best Time of My Life, this three year period would be it.
So every time I tune in to the 70s station at work, I’m actually taking myself back to some of the best days of my life and it just doesn’t get any better than that.