I was 8 years old. I was in the third grade, and on the rise of becoming cool. I peaked in the 5th grade. Main hobbies included calling cute boys on their house phone while all my friends leaned over my shoulders coaching me along and giggling, watching nick@nite past 9 pm, and listening to pop sensations via Disney channel with their sexual lyrics and moves that I would understand years later. Where was my mother? Now, Disney’s changed a lot, and in the worst possible way. They’ve waved good-bye to Tucker from “Flash Forward” and ushered in Demi Lovato-esque tweens who all get clothing lines in Sears and Wal-Mart. But back in ’99, the music videos they showed were all too awesome and all too inappropriate for their target audience. I specifically remember “Genie in a Bottle.” The way Christina’s neon orange cargo pants shone in the moonlight, the repetition of “baby” and “oooohhhh ohhohoh”, and the way she rolled around in dirty sand the way we all do when we’re frustrated with love. I was a fan.
Fast forward just a bit. Super Skate: the hotspot for birthday parties years 1999-2001. The same creepy DJ is still inserting c.d.’s at the ghetto rink and probably sneaking many a beer back behind his booth. These parties were the best because I could eat some ice cream, blush my way through couple skate, interlocking my sweaty fingers with a crush, and challenge on all the boys and their big-talk with a race around the rink. I may or may not have been undefeated. The worst part, however, was the Backwards Skate. I couldn’t skate backwards, and had to sit outside around the half wall and watch like a loser. At one particular party, I heard DJ-man announce the Backwards Skate, and I ashamedly made my way to the outside. Then it happened. “Genie in a Bottle” came on like a slap in the face. A kick while I was down. A little brat reminding me I was on the outside of the rink. I vividly remember watching a woman make her way into the rink and just go to TOWN on that backward skate. She was probably 35. I imagined she tanned a lot, smoked even more, had like 6 big dogs at home, where she lived with her boyfriend. She hates Bill O’Reilly and owns velvet scrunchies. Her name was most likely Dana or Denise. I don’t know what else it could be. She flew past me like she had eyes in the back of her head, slightly bobbing her ponytail to the beat, and ruining this song for me. Jealousy at its best really.
Fast forward once again to…this afternoon. I was sitting on a towel in central campus with Tiffany listening to 90’s music and people watching. (Men climbing trees, frat bro’s using a football to get chicks who felt 75 degrees is way too hot to wear any clothes, and a gay couple eating Panda Express and doing leg lifts together after.) “Genie in a Bottle” came on, and my mind instantly fled to Dana/Denise. I wonder where she is. I wonder if her dogs are still alive, if the scrunchies are still in her dresser drawer, and if she still skates backwards past little kids, giving them a taste of bitterness they’ll remember when they sit out on their college campuses. Because I can’t be the only one………right?
sidenote: Nicaragua update coming soon.