Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Walking into Spiderwebs....

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.


Big Ben said...

I actually still have an answering machine. But none of my friends call my land line anyway.

I think the last song I actually had on an aswering machine was "doing it well" by LL Cool J.

At that point I wasn't doing much of anything (or anyone)

bigwhitehat said...

I wanted to date my self before. I stood myself up.

Did you get that gravatar yet?

clew said...

Rebecca, you are so much like me sometimes it's scary.

Isn't it? LOL

BWH cracked me up there ...

Okay, I really came by to tell you I need to put Ace, Chris, and Taylor in my pocket and take them home with me. (I know you watch American Idol) :D Knowwhamsayin?

Bougie Black Boy said...

the tracy chapman song is great. I love her. Her lyrics are all powerful.

Kristi said...

I love the people who have songs playing in the background while they're talking. It's so funny to hear the diverse choice in music. If given the opportunity, I would do that again.

naive-no-more said...

That sounds like so much fun.

When I was single after my divorce and working particularly long tedius hours with no help taking care of the little kids, my friends would call and leave messages asking me to do stuff. I got so tired of being reminded that everyone else had a life, I changed my answering maching message to a simple, "you know what to do and when to do it". This, of course, was spoken rather gruffly.

chesneygirl said...

I never had an answering machine until I was married.

"Funny the things you think of when you can't sleep at night" exactly what I was thinking when I got to your last line!

bigwhitehat said...

Your pretty face shows up on my comments.

Rebecca said...

BWH: Awesome! I'm cool in Haloscan world... ;) Thanks! I was wondering where you got those little icons.

Stephen: LOVE Tracey Chapman. And - she's a Boston girl! The Promise is by far one of my favorite songs...ever.

Clew - we totally would've hung out in high school. Fric and Frac I think! ;)

Mr. Fabulous said...

Back in the day I used to leave looooong outgoing messages. They would last 5, 6, 7 minutes...and they would be about nothing: "Boy, I bet you are getting pretty upset right now...noope, the message isn't over yet...okay, here comes the beep....oops, not yet...."

People calling from payphones would be especially pissed.

Rebecca said...

Mr Fabulous: Are you my Dad?!?!??!
Kidding....;) He's so like that! :)

Laura said...

I used to do the same thing. I'm straining to try to think of some of the songs. I used to rerecord my outgoing message dozens of times to get it just right. I do remember my boyfriend Kenny and his roommates doing an "OMG- you killed Kenny! You b*astards!!" message when South Park first came out. All our parents were totally confused. Ooh- I just remembered, I did have Meredith Brooks "B*tch" on there for a while. Wow that was a long time ago. I still think that's my all time theme song.

Lori said...

This was cute! And it IS weird the things that go through your mind when you're lying awake at night.

When the kids were little and I was a single mom, we recorded this to the tune of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas":

We wish you a Merry Christmas
We're sorry we are not home
We're busy so leave a message
Right after the tone.

I can still hear their little voices singing with me. I hadn't thought of that in awhile. Sigh.

Mellissa said...

This cracks me up. I was singing the lyrics along.....and Spiderwebs was one of my FAVORITE songs ;-)

I really loved the last one though. The G & R - what a nice ending to the machine saga of your life ;-) Wish I had that (((sigh)))

GlitterGlamGirl05 said...

I used to do that too!!! OMG. I'm in the single dating phase too...Hee, hee. Will I meet my husband next?

VJ said...

No one gets my music on my answering machine, (and yes it's still on tape)! It's still on tape since they won't burn out at every damn power surge. But for years, I've had 'Panama' on mine. NOt any modern version either, Louis Armstrong's version. It's pretty faint by now, and yes the machine is getting old, but the best guess I had was someone thinking it was from some Mack Sennett piece. Good guess, about the same era, but not the player. I was thinking of updating it to 'The Powerhouse' from Ray Scott, but there's no need just yet. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'