June 18, 2017 – My phone had a meltdown this week. I don’t have a particularly good phone. I’m not one of those people who waits in line for the latest and greatest, and frankly, I don’t want to spend $700 on a phone. I can think of so many other things to do with $700. So I have the same, quite basic Samsung I bought with monthly payments in 2014 for about $200. It does alright, generally, but my phone got an update this week, an update that the phone warned might take out the phone. And that it did. Mind you, the rep at the phone store got the phone to work again by doing a factory reset, but that factory reset wiped out my contacts. So, I’m getting texts now, guessing as to the identity of the sender. Mind you, as to most people, I know some part of their number, and some their entire number because I’m old school like that. But a lot of these texts I’m replying to with a name and a question mark, or a statement “is this such and such” and a question mark before putting the person’s contact into the newly updated-factory reset system.
Do you Like Katy Perry? That was my message yesterday morning. It was preceded by “hey”, one exclamation mark, and “hope you are well”, and another exclamation mark. The area code was a Texas area code, Austin to be exact, and because my Texas-resident half-brother was in Dallas visiting my dad, I thought it was him. So my question was to ask if it was him. Seriously though, I couldn’t imagine him asking about Katy Perry. And, really, I should have known with just the word “hey” who it was because he’s not an original Texan, he doesn’t even say “y’all” (we all do, like we ALL do); we use “hey” to mean “hi.” It could only be one person, my college, twenty-something bestie, a girl (she’s still a girl in my mind) who has been absent for our middle age, absent due to her great job (partner at whatever) and a long-term relationship. I
I heard from her briefly around Christmas time, her wanting someone to talk because her relationship was gone, me telling her how fabulous she is, and us promising to stay in touch. But honestly, I’m so unbelievably immature, who would stay in touch with me?
Yesterday I put her into my contacts, and we texted back and forth until she said she had to leave to drive to Houston for Father’s Day. The actual conversation started with her asking if I would be interested in seeing Katy Perry at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in November, detouring to talk about our parents, and then back again, to Katy Perry. I said, of course I would go. Mind you, I’ve only heard one song off Katy’s newest record, the song allegedly calling out Taylor Swift (Taylor and Katy are having a song feud), but my life long bestie swears the record is great. I told my friend, with all sincerity that I loved Katy’s Superbowl show from a couple of years ago. I did. I told her of the females I like, Lana del Rey, Ellie Goulding and this rock band called The Pretty Reckless with its female lead singer, Taylor Momsen. My friend agreed all of those are great. They even merited another exclamation mark. But I wondered, why? Why L.A? I haven’t seen her at all in so long. Still there are people who no matter how long it has been or how far one has gone who conjure thoughts of a by-gone time.
We started together as young women; we grew up together, and along the way, music was ridiculously important. We played together, always the tug and pull of our different tastes present. Katy Perry, y’all, that’s pretty much says it all. Visualizing all that once was, I went out on a limb, expecting a cold reply, but I still said it; I told her we could get together and play some Katy Perry songs. She said “yes”, another exclamation mark, a surprising one since the one time I’ve seen her in the past 15 or so years that she was in that relationship, she told me to hush when I mentioned the very thought of playing music. Nobody knew, not in her life. Sure, I shushed back then, but I wondered… .where was my friend in this life she had then?
Her next texts mentioned Van Halen (itself a one word reference to so very much), and a reference to “things like this” with a pic attached to the text of herself … in a band, not much on for clothes — a t shirt as a dress (something I always wore, friends copy each other), and a captain’s hat. That text ended with the word “yikes”. I told her “no, not yikes”; I said she was beautiful. She said she isn’t so much now, but that she didn’t’ care; she wanted to live like she’s in her 20s even though she’s in her 50s.
Midlife crisis, some would say, a bad reaction to the second long-term relationship to end, but I disagree. I think we have a core, and there are some of us, even if we aren’t as talented as others, who still have something that the mainstream doesn’t have, something that draws us back to it, even if we leave it for 15 years. I told her it’s the thing that will make her young. Music. What we loved. I hope my friend does go to Katy Perry. And I thank Katy Perry for this glimpse of a person who was my friend who set the standard by which all my besties would be judged, a friend I had lost to relationships and partnerships in whatever enterprise makes us conform.
And honestly, I thought of you all too. I thought of how you must seriously question some of these musical things I come up with as influences, Katy Perry to you, that’s what they must be, even if I think they are so fabulous. So I must say thanks to each and every one of you. You make me search, always, for things that move me. I sometimes feel like I get these crazy “huh” responses to some of the things I put up, but I am ever grateful for your participation. And I hope my participation in my young adulthood bestie’s reaction to Katy Perry, a reaction that might just return her to her real self, was at least half as good as your reactions are to my influences. So thanks .. for putting up with my versions of Katy Perry.
And now… until I can get good enough to be in a female rock tribute band,
I must learn some Katy Perry. For my friend.