Y’ever have one of those days/weeks/months (hopefully not years) where it seems there’s an avalanche of life issues that crumble, initiating a landslide of mountainous debris that plows you down and buries you? Great! (Well, not really, of course), but it means you understand, or can at least empathize with how I’ve been feeling in the last two weeks of my life.
We’re moving; it’s an experiment. We’re moving to a beautifully wooded area, into a 24-foot camper and building my husband’s dream house. Only it’s been torrential downpours reminiscent of the Seattle I have yet to see. I’ve been “off my meds” for two weeks; the side effects of that were far worse than any way I’ve ever felt in my entire life. And, lastly, ladies, you will understand: I’m hormonal. The kind where you feel like all those repressed Victorian women who wanted to—or did–put stones in their pockets and take a slow walk out into a deep river.
And I’m cleaning and I have back pain issues and I feel like someone blew up one of those giant, bouncy balls that kids can sit on a festivals…and put it in my stomach. I cry at random. I yell at my husband. Being a woman is fun.
But, I have this awesome ghetto set up in my 2002 Toyota Camry: it’s SiriusXM, and it has my most beloved station, Lithium. My car isn’t advanced enough for auxiliary connection, so I situate an iPod docking station (that resets itself each time I turn the car off/on). I use a remote to change the setting because the top buttons of the docking station no longer work. But it’s glorious.
I don’t need anti-depressants, thank you. I am taking CBD oil and it has changed my life. But more importantly than that, I can escape to my 90s safe house. “Mornings with Madison” on Lithium changes the whole scope of the day. I love her. #radiomadison I imagine she is what I would have been if I had pursued radio after my college radio days; funny, snarky, and sending out my favorite salvation songs to a campus where no one was listening, except my friends.
I don’t feel so isolated, though sometimes I feel there isn’t an overwhelming population for which 90s Alternative and Grunge is their salvation–there is more than one would suspect, as I have learned in my Seattle Grunge private Facebook group (thank you, Jodi Ross), where I can go without negative haters making stupid comments. The world needs less negativity. But in my car, half awake and raging with emotion and stress and fatigue and discontent and delirious laughter and, sometimes, unexpected tears, I know that I am not alone. It’s like The Church of Madison, and there are plenty like me, doing the same thing, going through similar things, hanging onto our very salvation, and Madison is a conduit for that, the clergywoman, if you will.
(Breath, and a…oh, reach the door…)
This was a super-long introduction to the highlight of my day, but thanks for reading. Writers, right? We just want to be heard. Okay, let’s get to it:
Madison read a mini-letter of gratitude (read: tweet) from a listener who hates her job but expressed that hearing her show was the best part of her morning on the way to said hated job. And then, she played Spacehog’s “In the Meantime.” Something about this moment, this choice of song woke me out of my depressive coma and launched me into fumbling for the remote blindly (because of course, I’m driving safely), and cranking the iPod docking station louder than love. The anticipation of the loud “ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooh ooooooh” intro created a child-like excitement within me. (Yes, I timed out the ooo part so it matches the song, go ahead, you know you want to sing it, or else you already tested me for correctness.)
In my allergy-rasped voice, I belted them out. Oh, that bass. That sweet, driving, jumping bass! That authentic 90s movement. Delicious to my ears. And then…after stop-light head nodding and steering-wheel drumming, I turn into the rural high school where I’ve been subbing for bread crumbs whilst I weep over my three degrees at night–I park the car, notice a dude next to me, getting out of his car and looking at me as though my radio is too loud, and he’s either intrigued or annoyed, and I don’t care–I continue, leaving the volume where it is, probably blowing the speakers of a pre-owned iPod docking station…and then, the most beautiful thing happens: the very Ben Folds-ish piano outro. That does NOT get interrupted at all, not even one nanosecond, by the DJ. And life is okay again, and I am okay again, and tears of relief and exhaustion spill down my cheeks as I cut the engine, straighten my explosion of humidity-treated hair, and turn to face the strange, but I am reassured now that I am not alone in this.
In the meantime, turn it up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDkhl-CgETg
Thank you, music.
Thank you, Madison (#radiomadison)
Thank you, life.
Be well, and rock on,
P.S. Aside from the actual song, there are 10 musical references in this blog. None of them were intentional; okay, maybe one or two. But the others? Just the nature of how music-infused my DNA is. See if you can find them. Send me some comments as you do.