Have you ever heard a song on the radio that you hadn't heard in a long time, and it triggered a long-forgotten (or rather, repressed) memory? That happened to me tonight on my drive home from a business meeting. It happened twice in ten minutes, in fact.
I switched to a radio station I don't usually listen to so I could skip over an annoying commercial. That radio station was doing a music respective of seldom-heard hits from the late 80s. I was a teenager during that period, and very into pop music. The first song the DJ played was Guns-n-Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine," which I actually hear a lot on the radio these days, but for some reason hearing it tonight triggered a memory of a particular pair of acid-washed jeans I liked to wear in 1989, ones I had decorated with pseudo-anarchy symbols, peace signs, and other goofy teenage angst crap with ballpoint pens and Sharpie markers. That was the closest I got to rebellion as a 14-year-old, wearing graffiti-covered clothes. That, and hanging out with older kids who would pile 13 people into their crummy, beat-up Chevettes and go joyriding that way on the winding country roads surrounding the small Ohio town where I grew up. And for some other crazy reason I pictured the exact look, feel, and design of the cheap denim purse I carried around at the time, too. (also decorated with Magic Marker teenage grafitti).
Here's the other weird memory trigger. The techopop song "Rock Me Amadeus" (with the original German lyrics, not the later English version that became popular in the US in '85). Hearing this song momentarily made me think of the nights I spent in my bedroom listening for that song on the nightly Top 10 list on Cincinnati's Q102 FM station, but then my mind switched to another time and place entirely. I was reminded of the time in the late 90s that I spent in a dingy, smelly basement death-metal bar in Vienna, getting dumped by my Austrian boyfriend (who flew me all the way to Vienna for the sole purpose of dumping me in an Austrian death-metal bar). Austrian death-metal is a helluva long way from Falco (and 1999 is a long way from 1985), but for whatever reason, that was the memory the song triggered.
My debacle with the Austrian boyfriend was one for the record books, a textbook example of a stupid romantic relationship with the absolute worst possible person at the worst possible time, and a memory I don't usually care to revisit. But tonight, driving in the car, listening to Falco and remembering every detail of that smelly, filthy death-metal bar buried in an 18th-century Austrian cheese cellar, I finally realized one thing:
Vienna is a pretty damn nice place to get dumped.