We gon’ light it up like it’s dynamite

In which the Ever-Suffering Mother listens to pop music.

Some months ago a friend posted on Facebook that some days, country music is a necessity. I know I will offend more than a few people when I say that country music is only a necessity if your aim is to drive people away. And up until a month or two ago, I would probably have said the same thing about pop.

Let’s travel back in time to see Beth as an Enlightened College Student, rather than an Ever-Suffering Mother. She (ten or fifteen pounds lighter) walks around her flower-bedecked college campus with her diary book, some pens, and a well-read copy of T. S. Eliot’s collected poems. American Beauty, although dead depressing, is the most meaningful movie she’s ever seen. The Enlightened College Student has just discovered Pink Floyd. She never heard such beautiful caterwauling. Such dips and valleys of emotion in a single Shine-on-you-crazy-diamond kind of song.

Pop music blares from the open window of a shiny white Jetta blazing down the street. She wrinkles her nose, distracted from translating her own dreamy/angsty poetry into French, naturellement. Pop music? Quelle horreur. It’s such a cliché. Please. That Jetta-driver is killing brain cells with every beat of the synthetic bass drum.

[Fast-forward sound effects, please.]

The Ever-Suffering Mother needs some pep. She’s sleepy. Unhappy in the mornings. Grouchy. She filled a prescription for antidepressants but was too afraid to take them. She’s tried re-reading all her favorite books, and they are great escapes. But she cannot read them while she’s driving. The Spanish radio stations are fun in their way, but she keeps searching, searching…there. Rihanna’s rich voice sounds from the speaker. The Ever-Suffering Mother turns up the volume. What is this? This is…shallow. Light. Easy to digest.

She is transported into another world. What are these sounds? This is nothing like the alternative rock she listened to as a teenager. Where is the anger, the creepy “give it up to me” the Toadies intoned over and over? It is not here! This is one-second teenage-dream infatuation! Pop stars slinging out slang she will never ever understand: like a G-six? What? The announcer comes on, name-dropping faster than a stuffy literature professor. The Ever-Suffering Mother cannot even interpret where the names end and the song titles begin.

What a great escape! For a few minutes, she pretends she’s in a club, where they go hardcore and there’s glitter on the floor and she’s just dancing dancing dancing (and not looking like an idiot because after all this is a fantasy).

Then a voice sounds from the back seat of her sport-utility Mom-Mobile: “Snack please?”