How Country Music Snuck Up on Me

17 Jan

Ever wake up wretched…thinking I need a damn miracle today? That’s how I used to feel every day while working as a substitute middle school teacher years ago. I know what you’re thinking…why didn’t you just slit your wrists? Yeah I know. But bills were bills and there were no writing gigs. So there I was classroom after classroom of pimples and raging hormones.

Feeling like jumping off a cliff everyday at three o’clock. Then while I was driving home, I turned the radio dial and found Allan Jackson with Jimmy Buffett  and thought damn…it is five o’clock somewhere. Giddy up!

 I don’t know how it happened but after that I’d become a country music fan. Growing up in the inner city you don’t really hear Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Allan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Reba, Blake Shelton, Garth Brooks or Alabama…it’s more Sonora Dynamita, Fito Olivares, El Buki, Bronco, and songs like “I’m Your Puppet,” “Supersonic,” or “Rapper’s Delight” that blasted the boombox. I wasn’t aware of something called country music until college, but I thought that belonged to the Texas Longhorns, hillbillies, or people living in Nashville. I didn’t want hear songs about dogs or tractors by someone with a twang…and now I wish I had a deep twang. Ohh Josh Turner. Ohh.

I probably could have used country music all my life, including, relationships. These chicks are badass and the guys aren’t bad to look at either. They got lungs and the twang. But what drew me in were the stories. They had their happy songs but the ones with guts hit the spot…talking about failure and surviving it. I thought damn! These are my people, even if they do drink whiskey. They might not use a lot humor in their songs, but they got a little sass and adventure, and that always makes me laugh.

I knew I was a fan when I started raising the volume and little by little the dial went up from a seven to a twenty. And there I was singing away at stop light, but I was still undercover as the windows were rolled up. Couldn’t be singing away by King Taco…that’s Banda Macho territory. I needed to be blasting “El Gato y el Raton,” or Enrique Iglesias.

But after a couple of years I heard the one…the one that made me roll down the windows. She was fairly new on the country scene but this song…made every chick carry a bat in the back of her car. They felt her pain. They knew what she was talking about because they thought if that ever happened to me I would do that too. Carrie Underwood…“Before He Cheats.” I rolled down that window, pumped up the volume, and turned up my best karaoke voice. The guy with the shades in the spruced up, cherry Impala just slightly lowered his glasses, snuck a peek and shook his head in laughter.

We’re chicks…we’re crazy like that.


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