Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Boom Box on the Shelf is Always Repeating Itself

Baby Bear has a boom box, and he likes to play CD’s by ABBA while he sits on his bed and rocks back and forth. His favorite song—at least for this week—is “Waterloo.”

How do I know this? Recently he’s taken to playing that particular song over and over and over. But oddly enough, not the whole song. He plays it only as far as the part about the history book on the shelf. Then he stops and goes back and starts the song again.

Over . . . and over . . . and over. I have no idea why. If I weren’t already familiar with this song that dates back to when I was almost his age (and there’s a scary thought), I might drive myself insane wondering what that history book is always doing that he keeps censoring. Ironically, it’s exactly what Baby Bear is doing with the song.

But why he’s repeating it, only he knows.

Yet it reminds me of an incident early in my Air Force career. I was stationed at Keesler AFB near Biloxi, Mississippi to receive training in my particular career field of administration. I had to live in the barracks where the dorm chief had one of them newfangled boom boxes (yes, it was that many years ago). So powerful were its speakers that it could be heard all over the barracks of World War II vintage.

One morning, at around 3:30 am, she woke up me and probably a lot of other people by repeatedly playing the opening notes of “When You’re in Love With a Beautiful Woman” by Doctor Hook. She’d play it all the way up until the good Doctor started singing, then she’d rewind it back to the beginning and play those opening notes again.

Over . . . and over . . . and over. I don’t think she was doing it because she was autistic like my son. She certainly wasn’t doing it because she’d been put in charge of sounding Reveille with the song of her choice. No, she was doing it because she was the Dorm Chief, ergo she could.

I longed to break down her door, seize her blasting boom box, then raise it over my head and smash it like Moses with the Ten Commandments over hers. Or at the very least, scream at her to turn that expletive thing off. But she was the Dorm Chief, so all I could do was suffer. No one dared complain, or maybe all the other women liked it and I was the one with the problem.

Either way, I’ve loathed that song ever since. Anytime I hear those first few notes coming out of the oldies station, I switch stations in disgust. It’s a good thing I’m not a sleeper agent, or it might “activate” me to go out and blow something up.

Yet I’m not tired of “Waterloo” yet. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t play it full blast at 3:30 in the morning, but that’s because I remove it from his room at night.

It’s good to be the Dorm Chief—or just a mom.

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