My Heart Will Go On. Until You Unplug It.
During my doom scrolling tonight, I happened upon a video of a couple riding a camel who should probably never have been riding the same camel. In the background, Satan's instrument, the recorder, played "My Heart Will Go On" from the blockbuster hit of my childhood, Titanic, sung by the inimitable Celine Dion. (And yes, I said that with a French Canadian accent.)
That is not the point of this story. That is the intro to the intro to this story. Still with me? Of course you are. You don't have anywhere to be, Reader. (BTW - thanks for spending your social distancing with me, Lone Reader.)
Titanic came out as I was on the cusp on puberty. Actually, that's not specifically true. I was 10 when it came out, but my mom didn't let me watch it until I was almost 12. And, if we're honest, by "let me watch," I mean to say that I was almost 12 before I happened upon a babysitting gig where the stars aligned and A) the kids went to bed more than two hours before their parents were due to arrive home; B) they owned Titanic; and C) the VCR worked.
Yes, I did go home and proudly announce to my mother that I watched Titanic without her permission. Yes, I did feel incensed when she laughed. And, yes, I thought that old lady Rose was an idiot even then.
That's not the point of this story either.
Titanic came out I saw Titanic when I was on the cusp of puberty. I was becoming an angst. I wanted nothing more than for a boy to notice me for reasons other than my ability to complete group projects by myself. I wanted my parents to understand me. (UGH! JEEZ!)
As much as I wasn't obsessed with the movie Titanic, I was obsessed with the theme song.
And here's the story.
I used to listen to that shit on repeat. I owned the single and my boom box would loop and I would mope in my room as a preteen looking up at the glow in the dark stars on my ceiling and feel like the most miserable wretch of a child. (My favorite movie was Jane Eyre. These things are probably not unrelated.)
One night, my dad, still in his dress shirt from work, calmly walked into my room without a word and pulled my boom box's plug out of the outlet. "Enough," he said before leaving.
Being a fledgling angst, I plugged it back in and turned up the volume.
Reader, I don't know what I thought would happen after that act of rebellion. I don't know what I imagined he would do. That's not true. I did. I thought that he would feel properly chastised and maybe, JUST MAYBE, listen to the words of the most gahdamn beautiful song I'd ever heard in my life. Or, failing that, he would come in a yell about it and I would get to throw my Preteen Victim (TM) card in his face.
Instead, he came back, leaned into the door, and said, "Maybe you didn't understand me. I said 'enough,' as in, enough of that song."
And I screeched at him, "I'm still listening to it!"
To which he quietly replied, "No. WE have been listening to it for an hour and now WE are done listening to it. And if WE hear it again tonight, I will take it and break it in half."
I then turned my radio to the local hip-hop station and cranked the volume as high as it went.
"This is fine! Ja Rude is fine!" he shouted from the stairwell.
And there had never been a more put-upon, misunderstood preteen in the history of preteens.
Reader, at twelve, I though that my Dad was the most out-of-touch asshole. I thought my mom was an idiot.
Spoiler alert: Twelve-year-old me was an out-of-touch idiot asshole.
Though I did do a spectacular angst.
I know that my dad had come home from work, sat in his chair, and tried to watch the news while Celine Dion belted above his head for nigh unto an hour straight. I'm sure that he snapped his paper closed and stood, growling, "I can't take it anymore." My mother, ever the peacekeeper, would have said, "Be nice."
And then, the entire climb up the stairs and down the hall, I know he would have been repeating to himself, "Be nice. Be nice. Nice. You can be nice. Be nice."
And he was. Nice was unplugging my boom box instead of taking my cd and using it as a frisbee.
There is no lesson here. There is no deeper truth or meaning. The actual truth is that 12 years olds are angsty misanthropes who feel like nobody in their house understands them and are occasionally capable of intensely asshole-ish behavior.
Now that I type this, I realize that parents are also actually angsty misanthropes who feel like nobody in their house understands them and are occasionally capable of intensely asshole-ish behavior. And isn't that just a hell of a punchline to stumble upon while writing stream of consciousness.
I ruined my own denouement, Reader. Damnit.