Last night, I did not sleep well at all. I got up around 3:30, and I just could not fall back to sleep. I tossed, I turned....I thought about obscure things. For some reason, I did a mental inventory of all the songs I played on my out going answering machine message while I was single. Yes, I'm dating myself here, since this was pre "voice mail" days. I actually had an answering machine. One with an actual cassette. I was very selective of my musical choices - they all had specific meaning - and timing was everything. It was practically an art form. I had to have the songs come in on just the right moment so they could end at the right lyrical display. If you knew me well, you knew everything about my state of mind - and whether I liked someone I was dating - just by my outbound message.
I'd always say: "Hi, Sorry I can't come to the phone right now but leave me a message - and I'll get right back to you....Thanks!" And in the background was the song du jour - which of course, after I said "thanks" would be aligned just perfectly with the lyrics I wanted everyone to hear.
When my ex boyfriend and I broke up after a 6.5 year long relationship, once I got settled into my own apartment - my song choice was "I'm Just a Girl": " 'Cause I'm just a girl, little 'ol me don't let me out of your sight I'm just a girl, all pretty and petite... So don't let me have any rights" .
When we thought maybe we'd consider dating again, but there would have to be rules - he didn't like that. Tracy Chapman was the artist of choice for that period: "Give me one reason to stay here, and I'll turn right back around....I told you that I loved you, and there ain't no more to say..."
I started dating people, and ended up spending time with someone I really liked - and knew from high school. Sweet kid, but had a lot of problems with his ex girlfriend. It seemed he was constantly going back and forth between the two of us. Clearly, that wasn't going to work. Again, my girl Gwen expressed my feelings: "Communication, a telephonic invasion...I'm planning my escape. Sorry I'm not home right now, I'm walking into spider webs - leave a message and I'll call you back...A likely story - leave a message and I'll call you back....". That one, did not need the introduction of my voice. It clearly spoke for itself.
Eventually, I felt really comfortable being single. I loved dating - there was no intimacy involved, I didn't have to answer to anyone - I could see and do whatever I wanted. It was liberating. I wasn't defined by being single - I embraced being single. And truly, I never at so well! Lunch dates, dinner dates...... coffee dates! Who had to food shop when there were dates to go on???
So, my answering message reflected that as well. I felt good about life, was having a great time just being a girl - and so this was the message sent to the world: "Some boys take a beautiful girl, And hide her away from the rest of the world. I wanna be the one to walk in the sun. Oh,girls,They wanna have fu-un.Oh,girls,Just wanna have fun..."
And then - I met my husband.
And that was the end of my answering machine. Well, not really.
But it didn't take long for callers to hear: "Hi, you've reached G & Rebecca, leave us a message after the beep!".
Funny the things you think of when you can't sleep at night.