Don’t Change

 

Mikki - Blurred

 

In 1983 or ’84 – I don’t remember which – I was in an elevator, riding to the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago. How I wound up there is basic: family vacation. I was a teenager in high school and family vay-cays were part of the drill. (I may or may not have been wasted. I honestly don’t remember.)

 

But I digress… Those elevators were freaking fast, even then. But I still had time to read the back of the t-shirt of one of my fellow Sears Tower elevator riders. It was from a concert tour: INXS. And there were the full lyrics (or so I assumed), to “Don’t Change.” Despite the lift’s speed, I was able to read all the text on that t-shirt’s back, the complete lyrics to a song I’d never heard by a band I didn’t know.

 

Cut to last night. I was watching “120 Minutes” on the MTV and the video for “Don’t Change” came on. (I may or may have been wasted. I honestly don’t care to tell you.) In the video, those baby-faced INXS mates looked as young as I probably did when I stood in that elevator reading the back of that stranger’s shirt, all those years ago. And the lyrics were as fabulous last night as they were then .

 

I think I’m molting, friends. At least that’s the pleasant way I’m choosing to see it. And shedding one’s skin to make way for growth is absolutely wonderful. But don’t kid yourself. There will always be parts of you that remain. And those parts are a gift from all the gods. Maybe it’s watching the end of “Romper Room” and waiting in vain to hear your name called as the sweet lady host looks in her mirror and announces the names of all she can see. Maybe it’s running to secure a seat during your very first concert at a general admission venue (Blondie, by the way), and your best friend losing one of her shoes and you yelling, “Leave it!” while tugging at her hand. Or maybe it’s an elevator ride, and liquid poetry that stays with you for all time, since before you heard its tune. There are parts of us that endure, no matter what.

 

And honestly, would you really want to change those parts of yourself?

 

Me, neither.

 

Mikki in Party Mode

Prince

 

 

In the early 1980s, I remember my friend Chris singing “Little Red Corvette” in the Pike County High School cafeteria. Chris had no idea what the song’s lyrics implied. I know this because he was a hardcore Christian and would never have approved of such explicit meaning. His naivete was funny then, and it’s funny now.

 

In 1984, I remember another friend named Chris and I went to see “Purple Rain” in St. Louis. The movie was brand-spanking-new, and had yet to expand to major (read “white”) theaters. So Chris and I headed to a different part of town to check out the film. We were the only white kids there. It wasn’t a big deal for us, nor for the other theater-goers. We were all there for the same reason: to see a cool flick. And we did. When we left the theater, Chris and I were laughing and gushing about how awesome the movie was. She was the only friend I had who had been willing to drive out to see it. And I loved her for that.

 

By the time it was announced that the Purple Rain Tour would be coming to St. Louis in December of 1984, all my friends were excited. And we knew it would be a hot ticket. So a couple of us made plans to camp overnight outside the arena’s box office. (My parents were not happy about this, but I was allowed to go.) It was such an awesome night. Hundreds of us queued up, were given wristbands and got comfortable. Here and there people were playing “Purple Rain” cassettes on boom boxes and we were about the happiest crowd on non-sleepers you could ever hope to see. And the joy didn’t subside. It lasted all night. It lasted straight through to the appointed opening time of the box office. It lasted as the line slowly moved forward. It very nearly peaked and caused our heads to explode when we reached the point of being next in line. And then we reached the window and were told there were only a few seats left and they were all for the very top row of the highest nose-bleed section known to man. And we said yes, please, and purchased our tickets. The joy levels had definitely dipped, but only a little.

 

And then the concert happened. I was a kid. And Mister was there, too. (He was also a kid.) And we were on that top row of the highest nose-bleed section known to man and we were so happy to be there! When the lights dimmed and Sheila E. came out to open the show, we all started dancing and screaming and having the best time imaginable. Or so we thought. Because when The Man himself took the stage, all emotions crossed the line and maxed out. It was an astounding show and I’ve never forgotten it. I’ve never forgotten being there with Mister. Just 2 kids in love, hanging at a concert. Forever memories.

 

Godspeed Prince.

Thursday Memories

 

 

Me in the ’80s. I do believe this was the humble beginning of my flipping off cameras. Go figure.

 

Someone I know in L.A. once saw this photo and said, “Oh! You were cool!”

 

Friends – to this day I have no idea what led him to say that, as I see nothing in this pic that yells cool. And how can a person tell if someone’s cool from looking at a picture anyway? What about personality? What about soul?

 

For the record, I was just a regular girl. A bit of a dork, to be sure. I had my good days and my bad. And while I recall a heavy use of hairspray, for the life of me, I do not recall feeling cool. Not at all.