This morning I waited for the bus downtown. I was on my way to meet Alejna for cafe au laits on Court Street. (Yes, She of the Amazing Pants was in town and yes, I got to see her for a minute. I love that that can just randomly happen.) As I stood at the bus stop, this caught my eye:
… and I was immediately humming that song. What, do you really not know what song I’m talking about? Happily, YouTube can help us out¹:
I remember loving this song when I was a kid. It was cute and fun and included the wonderful notion of solo world travel for girls. I remember all of my friends telling me that Melanie was not singing about roller skates and keys. I had no idea what they were talking about. What were they talking about? And how did they know this song was about something other than skates and keys? They were 3rd graders just as I was. Humming the song this morning, I acknowledged that yes, my friends were probably right and Melanie’s words could have been heard differently … but I still like the face-value meaning, still like that — just as Melanie sang — I roller skated and biked and didn’t drive and managed to do a fair amount of traveling. (And I suppose I could mean that in other ways, too, but right now I don’t.)
I also remember my mother having little patience for Melanie as a singer. She said Melanie’s fame was based on the fact that she couldn’t sing, that she was some kind of novelty because her voice was so bad. And I have always thought of Melanie as a bad singer … and then I listened to her this afternoon and had to do a kind of audio double take. I like her voice. Should she have been auditioning for the opera? No, but I love the way she sings.
I can’t remember what I thought of her singing before I was told that she couldn’t sing. I probably didn’t think about it at all, just liked the song. How easily my perception of her voice could be skewed. One stamp of disapproval and my whole perspective shifted.
Huh. Not sure where I’m headed with this. Randomly-snapped photo, memory of song, discovery that I actually don’t think Melanie was a bad singer … Maybe the point will catch up with me later. For tonight, I think I’m just looking to share … and still humming that song … ²
¹ In fact, YouTube even offers up this completely, fabulous and bizarre home made music video of same!
² And liking that photo more every time I look at it. My sidewalk? Yes, it’s dirty. Whatever. It’s also really beautiful!